Forbes Center for the Performing Arts

Though the top three performances this semester will feature theatre majors, other performances will be directed by students.

JMU offers students, faculty and Harrisonburg residents cultural opportunities and events for different interests, including concerts and live theater experiences at the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. Every year, the JMU School of Theatre and Dance produces and performs new shows. The Forbes Center is also celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. While there’ll be a number of events featured, here are the three most anticipated plays to catch this semester.


Written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, “Everybody” is based on the 15th-century production “Everyman.” It discusses the morals and important rules a proper Christian must follow to reach heaven in the afterlife. The plot focuses on each character’s life and the unknown experiences they encounter. Since the show started as a mid-1400s Dutch production, Jacob-Jenkins’ rendition gives the play a modern twist. The Forbes Center will perform “Everybody” from Sept. 24-28.  

“Twelfth Night”

“Twelfth Night” originates from the works of William Shakespeare. It follows the story of a woman who gets separated from her twin after a shipwreck and disguises herself as a man to get a job. During her time at work, the woman falls in love with her boss but can’t say anything since he thinks she’s a male. It’s filled with comedic moments, romance and interesting themes such as finding out who one really is. This play was written to be performed around the holiday season because it revolves around the Epiphany, but one can see it this semester from Oct. 9-13. 

“Vinegar Tom”

In the 1700s, a mother and daughter living in a small town are accused of witchcraft by their neighbors. Soon after, they have to stand trial for witchcraft in front of the entire town. It’s written by Caryl Churchill, who writes plays dealing with feminist themes as a way to represent the women’s revolution and talk about gender equality. It discusses how women were treated unfairly and how men acted more dominant. This play will be shown from Oct. 28-Nov. 2.

“Everybody,” “Twelfth Night” and “Vinegar Tom” are the three productions that’ll feature JMU theatre majors, but there are also many other shows that’ll be at the Forbes Center. There’ll be several plays directed by students, such as “Forever You & Guy,” which is about a couple who’s trying to accept the fact that their son is straight (Sept. 19-22), “The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other,” which is mostly silent, except for one character who questions the silence (Oct. 24-28), and JMU’s annual opera will be “Faust,” celebrating the classic piece “Soldiers’ Chorus” (Nov. 8-11).

For people who enjoy live music, some of the university orchestras and vocal groups will be performing as well. JMU has a variety of ensembles, choirs and orchestras that students can join whether they’re majoring in music or are just passionate about a certain vocal style or instrument. Some of these events include concerts by the JMU Brass band (Sept. 25), JMU Symphony Orchestra (Oct. 1), JMU Choir Chamber and University Choruses (Oct. 18) and other various ensemble performances throughout the semester.

Contact Gracie Brogowski at For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.