E-Newsletter | Gem of the Ocean | Guest Artist  | Faculty Spotlight  | Cast | Alumni Spotlight
Dear patrons, friends, and colleagues,
The final Diamond Theater production this season is August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean, the first play in his epic Pittsburgh Cycle. Guest director Akin Babatunde, Theodore U. Horger '61 Artist-in-Residence for the Performing Arts, is an internationally recognized, award-winning director, actor, writer, and teacher whose artistic career spans well over forty years. Akin has been in residence at Lehigh since January, teaching and directing Gem of the Ocean.

Theodore Horger, an engineering major, spent his professional career with AT&T and was devoted to the arts in all forms. Despite living in New Jersey, Ted regularly attended arts events at Zoellner Arts Center. Ted’s vision for the arts at Lehigh motivated him to establish two endowments for arts scholarships and residencies.

Join us as we celebrate the generosity of Theodore Horger, ‘61 with a transformative production of Gem of the Ocean
-Erica Hoelscher, chair, Department of Theatre
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Theodore U. Horger '61 Artist-in-Residence for the Performing Arts, Director, Gem of the Ocean
Theatre is the science of emotions. Theatre artists connect to an essential energy and manifest that energy on stage. The theatre transforms lives by making us aware of human behavior. It teaches us to deal with and celebrate all kinds of situations. Even if a student is not going into the theatre as a profession, the ability to communicate and to be present in any situation is what the theatre teaches. This is the vision that Theodore Horger had when he created the artist-in-residence fund.
Kashi Johnson
Aunt Ester
Ovie Ojeni
Ryan Higgins
Rutherford Selig
Jamir Connelly
Ensemble of Bones
Darius Williams
Solly Two Kings
Kelly Petty Jr.
Katie Pettis
Black Mary
Jamal Connelly
Ensemble of Bones
Karen Sims
Ensemble of Bones
Donavon Harris
Josiah Murrell
Ensemble of Bones

"Gem of the Ocean is a magical play about identity, truth, and redemption. Akin’s vision and passion as a director has been inspiring."

I designed the scenery for The Shape of a Bird, a new play presented at the Singapore International Fringe Festival. Playwright Jean Tay lead the collaborative team of artists who devised the play, which depicts a woman in solitary confinement writing letters to her little girl. The letters lead to a revolution. The play incorporates storytelling and puppetry to demonstrate the power of the imagination. 

A devised play is created when collaborative theatre artists experiment with stories, movement, and objects. This process can also be used in the classroom to empower students to take risks and exercise their imaginations. Laura Pressler ’16 accompanied me to Singapore through the Strohl Undergraduate Research Grant. I have plans to go to Shanghai next summer accompanied by a student.

Influences on my design aesthetic include large-scale sculpture and installation art. Scenery for theatre is a contrived environment designed to transport viewers into the world of the play.
I wanted to study theatre in college and have the freedom to take courses outside my major. Initially I did not want to go to Lehigh because my dad is an alumnus - I wanted to carve my own independent path. A tour of Lehigh’s campus and the Zoellner Arts Center changed my mind. I graduated in 2010 with BA degrees in Theatre and Psychology. 

I am a teaching artist for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other special needs in several Philadelphia theatre companies, including serving as the Director of Education for White Pines Productions of Elkins Park. I have a solo show, and am developing a collaborative piece uniting the worlds of gaming and theatre with social issues. 

As technology is integrated into more aspects of our day-to-day lives, direct human contact becomes less personal. I believe that creativity and teamwork, like that which is taught in Lehigh’s Department of Theatre, is eagerly sought after in today's workforce.

Follow Lehigh University Department of Theatre alumna Katherine Perry at

Department of Theatre | Zoellner Arts Center, Room 301 | 420 East Packer Avenue
Bethlehem, PA 18015 | Phone: 610-758-3640 | Fax: 610-758-6543

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