The Southwick Tradition

Headshot of Henry Lawrence Southwick

With more than 100 seasons in its history, the Southwick Recital Series is an Emerson tradition and one of the oldest oratory recital series in the United States. The recitals always feature distinguished Emerson faculty, alumni, and honored guest artists performing oral interpretations of literary works (plays, poetry, and short stories), both classic and modern. Founded by Emerson College professor—later president—Henry Lawrence Southwick in the fall of 1900, this recital series quickly became a popular tradition at Emerson and a cherished cultural offering in Boston. 2020 marks the first year that Emerson students will be among the presenters at the Southwick Recital, bringing yet another dimension to an already grand institution.


Previous Performances

Take a dive into our archives and check out our Southwicks Past.

The Southwick Recital

Emerson College is proud to present the return of the Southwick Recital, an oratory event whose history spans 120 years and was considered the most popular of its kind when first introduced.

The fall of 2020 marked the first time in the program’s history where the majority of Southwick performers were students of the College.

View The Programme


More about the Southwick Recital Series

The Southwick Recital Series Documentary

Watch this trailer for the short documentary about one of Emerson's historical, cultural touchstones.

About Henry Lawrence Southwick

Headshot of Henry Lawrence Southwick

Henry Lawrence Southwick was a student of Emerson College founder Charles Wesley Emerson from 1895 to 1897, Southwick was a pioneer in educational dramatics. He introduced drama into the curriculum and created The Southwick Recital Series, which still continues more than a hundred years later.