Since 1930 the Department of Theatre Arts has provided an environment of academic exploration and production experiences in the innovative and collaborative tradition of theatre making throughout history. A broad knowledge of theater history and its literary heritage combines with the mastery of skills in performance and production leading to clear and nuanced expression from our stages.

  • Our close relationship with the Conservatory of Music benefits their opera offerings, as they support various aspects of our musical and play production.
  • Our faculty instills a professional standard in each mainstage production as we constantly encourage students to integrate their whole education at each stage of development as young artists and scholars. If students engage in our brand of serious and joyful theatre-making in close collaboration with their peers and faculty mentors, they will be ready to enter the profession or graduate training with the best our discipline offers.
  • Our decades-long tradition of Senior Projects provides a platform where students mark their development with research, performances, and production designs that rise to the level of enthusiastic young professionals.

We are equally pleased when our graduates bring the skills and methods they learn in our department to other professions. As lifelong learners, the passion for theatre they explored during their years with us will inspire them to contribute as audience members and supporters of the theatre community.

Because the study of dramatic art requires a grounding in the study of production methods, past and present, and must be intimately connected to and supported by the study of theatre history and dramatic literature of various periods, the department has developed a core curriculum in those areas.

Additionally, students are invited to further explore an area of concentration or to continue a generalist’s study of dramatic art. Areas of concentration include:

  • Performance
  • Design and technical theatre
  • Dramatic theory, history and literature 

We expect our majors to contribute to each area of the curriculum, to integrate their whole liberal arts exploration into their theatre studies and to consistently participate in production—on stage, backstage and in dramaturgical preparation.

Typically, majors complete most of their studies in the core curriculum early in their junior year. At that time, students begin to work toward a finalizing senior project in that area. The senior project is required of all majors and is designed to exhibit the student’s strengths in the area in which he or she hopes to continue studies or seek employment.

Students anticipating graduate study in an area of concentration should consult with their advisor to ensure that their auditions, résumés or portfolio presentations are appropriately prepared. In addition, students are strongly encouraged to participate in one or more off-campus programs, such as the Lawrence London Centre, the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin or the ACM Chicago Arts Program, to deepen their understanding of the various areas of concentration prior to designing their senior projects.

Students hoping to become certified as secondary-school teachers of theatre should consult with an advisor in the Department of Education to ensure that they have completed the necessary courses for that certification. Additional details about certification are contained on the education department’s website.

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