Alongside George Mason University’s famous and influential professors, the university is also home to an entire award-winning professional theater company, the Theater of the First Amendment.

Founded in 1990, TFA takes its residence at Mason within the university’s well-known theater department, giving students and the community an opportunity to work with local professional actors and jump-start their own careers.

TFA arose from “the need for a professional theater company on campus to do the theatrical equivalent of the “basic research” that goes on elsewhere in the university — creating new knowledge (artworks) and disseminating it (producing plays),” said co-Artistic Director Rick Davis in an e-mail. “[We have the] goal of contributing to local, regional and national theatrical culture while lifting up the university’s visibility in the arts arena.”

Recently, TFA produced the highly successful world premiere of the thought-provoking “24, 7, 365” by Jennifer L. Nelson. The production explores race, class and social activity and is a show with which the company is proud to associate its name.

The First Light Discovery Program is another way that TFA supports local talent in the community, hosting workshops to find, nurture and support new writing for the stage.

“It’s entering its 11th year and has an enviable track record of sending plays on to full production either at TFA or at other professional theaters across the country,” Davis said. First Light offers exciting opportunities for professionals, and college-aged and high school students alike to have their voices heard in the community.

Coming soon to the Center for the Arts is the TFA production “Live Wire,” a performance of classic radio shows from the 1930s. Featuring 10 students as well as a cast of professional actors, this is the second time TFA has produced this show. The first performance garnered rave reviews in The Washington Post and was even broadcast on NPR.

The show goes live April 15 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center and April 17 at the Center for the Arts.