Rider inaugurated a formal program in educational theater in 1959. The theater became known as Theatre '59, based on the year that it was established under the direction of Lee R. Yopp. In 1963, Theatre '59 was chosen by the United States Department of Defense to make an eight-week overseas tour to perform for the armed forces personnel in Europe. In 1964, Theatre '59 was selected by the American National Theatre and Academy and the National Theatre Association to perform at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Since then, Rider University students have performed in hundreds of productions in the Yvonne Theater and The Spitz Studio Theater on the Lawrenceville campus. Recent seasons have included Medea, Bug, Anatomy of Gray and The Importance of Being Ernest. Auditions are open to all students on both campuses.