A native of southern Ohio, Jay Oney began his theatre career at Wade Hampton High School in Greenville, S.C. as an actor in Don Borders's production of Arsenic and Old Lace. After earning his bachelor's degree from Furman University in 1978 and his master of arts in theatre history from Penn State in 1980, Oney spent a year as an acting intern at the Virginia Stage Company in Norfolk, Va. He returned to Norfolk the following season as a staff carpenter and was later cast in his first Actors Equity union role in A Christmas Carol. Over the years, Oney has acted in St Augustine, Fla., Farmington, Pa., Williamsburg, Va., Milwaukee, Louisville, Ky., and Holland, Mich. 

In New York, Oney took classes from William Hickey. He appeared as an extra in One Life to Live, and had a role in The Doctor in Spite of Himself at the New York Renaissance Festival. He also performed in a children's theatre touring production of The Miser for Lincoln Center. He returned to graduate school at Ohio State and received his doctorate in 1996. His dissertation is titled, "Women Playwrights During the Struggle for Control of the London Theatre, 1695-1710." 

Before completing his doctorate, Oney and his wife, Carol, spent a year teaching English as a second language in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. A full-time member of the Furman theatre arts faculty since 1996, Oney has taught Introduction to Theatre, Ideas in the Arts, Acting I, Acting II, Directing, Theatre History I & II, Readings in Dramatic Literature, and Senior Synthesis. He directs at least one production each year and acted in The Imaginary Invalid, Fortinbras, Harvey, An Evening with Ives, and The Tempest.​​​

Name Title Description


One Playwright: in Depth

The works of a single playwright are read, discussed, viewed, and written about for an entire term. Writers who might be studied include Henrik Ibsen, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Anton Chekhov, Horton Foote, Sarah Ruhl, Neil LaBute, Annie Baker, Eugene O'Neill, and others. Students will be expected to understand the playwright's contribution to his or her own era and the ongoing traditions of theatre and conduct scholarly research into the stylistic contribution of the playwright.


Theatre Practicum

Significant participation in the department's theatre productions as determined by the faculty, including, but not limited to, serving as a cast member, in stage management, as a crew head or as an assistant to a designer. Required for declared majors every semester. Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory ONLY.


Introduction to Theatre

Script analysis, dramatic structure, production styles, introductory overview of acting, directing, design, and technical elements of production. Participation in some phase of play production (backstage or onstage) or a creative project is part of the course.


Theatre History I

A survey of classical Greek and Roman theatre, the beginnings of eastern theatre, the theatre of medieval Europe, Renaissance Italy, France and Japan, Golden Age Spain, Elizabethan and Restoration England, and Baroque France.


Theatre History II

A survey of theatre history from the end of neo-classicism through German romanticism and on through realism. Includes elements of twentieth-century eclecticism such as epic theatre, the theatre of the absurd, and the theatres of participation, confrontation, protest and ritual.


Rdngs in Dramatic Literature

Study of the dramatic literature of a particular historical period, genre or nation. The topic changes depending on the instructor teaching the course. Offerings might include readings in Irish Theatre; Restoration Theatre; Theatre of the Absurd; Nineteenth Century Realism; Late Twentieth and Early Twenty First Century American Theatre.


Senior Synthesis

A portfolio assembly/presentation completed by senior Theatre Arts majors. Student presentations will demonstrate levels of accomplishment in acting/directing, backstage, design, and written project work. Students will focus intensively on one particular project to demonstrate mastery in that area. Presentations will contain evidence of students' in-depth ability to understand and articulate the meaning of plays from a design, performance, technical or research perspective.

At Furman, Theatre Arts is a generalist major where undergraduates learn as much as they can about as many areas of working in the theatre as possible. We believe that actors will be better actors if they have knowledge of costume and stage craft, theatre history, dramatic literature, directing, and design. We believe that theatre technicians will be better at their work if they have acted and directed. Because we believe backstage work is as crucial as onstage work, the Theatre Arts faculty also casts our crew positions at the same time as we choose actors for our mainstage productions. We encourage our majors to pursue internships and summer theatre work. As our students become juniors and seniors, we urge them to specialize in one or more areas that interest them. Students direct their own 10-minute play festival, do independent research, engage in advanced acting projects, and design costumes, sets, sound, or lights for our mainstage productions. At Furman, we believe in developing well rounded theatre artists, who are ready to pursue graduate studies or careers in the theatre and entertainment industry.


  • Amadeus as Baron Van Swieten (The Warehouse Theatre)
  • Death of a Salesman as Charley (The Warehouse Theatre)

Directing *

  • The Children's Hour
  • Circle Mirror Transformation
  • Dead Man's Cell Phone
  • Copenhagen
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
  • Talking With...
  • Reckless
  • The Shape of Things
  • Moonchildren
  • The Miser
  • Lone Star & Laundry and Bourbon
  • Three Sisters
  • Marvin's Room
  • The Boys Next Door
  • Our Town
  • Crimes of the Heart
  • The Night of the Iguana
  • Tales of the Lost Formicans
  • Playhouse Creatures
  • The Real Inspector Hound
​* All productions were held at Furman unless otherwise noted.
Ohio State University
Pennsylvania State University
Furman University
Furman University Outstanding Teacher Award (2006)

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