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Department of Theatre

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Theatre Major

Whether taking center stage as an actor, working on the lights, set, costumes, or sound, creating a design or stage managing the whole production, there's a real feeling of fulfillment when the curtain goes up and all the hard work of an entire cast and production team comes together for a successful show. We know what it takes to effectively and confidently produce a show, which is why we've purposefully designed a hands-on program that gets you involved in productions from your first semester. Our overall goal is to help you develop your theatre skills, craft and imagination within the liberal arts context.

Program strengths

  • Numerous opportunities to work onstage and backstage as early as your first semester
  • Ability to audition for any role, even as a freshman
  • Every play features student work in design and production
  • Studio theatre classes are limited to 12 students for more individualized attention
  • Large theatre community in Indianapolis allows you to start making connections in the industry and even land internships and jobs at local theatres. Additionally, UIndy hires theatre professionals from the community as adjuncts, giving you the chance to work with them directly. 
“Having the opportunity to be an assistant director of productions and direct two of my own productions were invaluable experiences. By seeing the craft approached with the sensibility of a true artist and the levelheadedness of an administrator, I gained priceless insight into being successful in this difficult field.”
Chelsea Anderson
University of Wisconsin-Madison grad student/TA

Theatre core curriculum

Every theatre major takes core courses in performance, design, directing, technical theatre, analysis, theatre history and dramatic literature. These courses provide you and your peers with a solid foundation for upper level work and a common process and language to draw upon both in the classroom and during productions. We believe you will be a better actor if you have stage managed and a better stage manager if you have learned the basics of the acting process. Knowing multiple skills will make you more marketable whether you're an actor, designer, technician or teacher. You may discover a talent in another area you didn't know you had. You'll also have the chance to fill many different roles in productions as applied learning experiences – student actors, designers, stage managers, assistant directors and technicians. All of these common experiences help create the tightly-knit group that makes us special.

Theatre core is 33 credit hours.

Theatre co-major, tracks & concentration

As a theatre major, you can choose to complete one track, take classes in both tracks, choose a co-major in social practice art in either track, or add a music/theatre concentration.

Performance/directing & design/production tracks

The performance/directing track allows you to focus on acting and directing, whereas the design and production track is concentrated on designing costumes, hair and makeup, lights, scenery and sound as well as behind-the-scenes work, building sets, hanging lights, sewing costumes and running productions. Each track is 16 credit hours. The theatre major requires a total of 49 credit hours.

Music/theatre concentration

If you want to combine your interests in theatre and music, we offer a music/theatre concentration in conjunction with the Department of Music. In addition to your theatre courses, you will be given a wide variety of music courses to choose from. This concentration requires a total of 55.5 credit hours.

Freshman courses & course sequence

You must take the following introductory theatre courses during your first year.

  • Stagecraft
  • Introduction to Theatre Design
  • Play Analysis
  • Acting I

Please note that since a number of upper level courses are offered every other year, you must adhere to a specific course sequence throughout your four years at UIndy to ensure you have all the required courses to graduate. As a theatre student, you will have access to a full projected course sequence on My UIndy so you can make sure you're staying on track. You will also have a faculty advisor and an academic advisor to help you navigate course registration each semester. 

Special Topics courses

In addition to courses in the regular curriculum, a number of Special Topics courses are offered on a rotating schedule and are based on student interest. Examples of Special Topics courses may include the following, or could be created from students' suggestions:

  • Playwriting
  • Acting for the Camera
  • Scene Painting
  • Millinery & Costume Crafts
  • Stage Combat
  • Stage Management
  • Auditioning

Departmental honors & awards

The Department of Theatre believes that hard work should be rewarded, so we hold an annual recognition banquet to acknowledge students who show high standards of excellence in and out of the classroom. Within our own chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, a national theatre honors fraternity, we also present the Rising Achiever Award to an exemplary freshman theatre major. 

Learn about departmental awards and theatre competitions ►

Potential careers in theatre

  • Act in productions all over the world
  • Work on productions as a director, designer, technician or stage manager
  • Move on to graduate school
  • Become a theatre teacher
  • Start your own theatre company

Not all of our graduates continue on in theatre. The communication, collaboration and self-presentation skills you develop in our program translate well in many diverse careers. Other potential career paths might include:

  • Law school
  • Medical school
  • Event planning/management
  • Non-profit management

See where UIndy grads have worked or gone to graduate school ►

Theatre minor

We also offer a minor in theatre that provides 21 hours of foundational theatre courses and allows you to major in another discipline. Theatre minors are required to actively participate in at least one production per semester. 

Curriculum Guides

These curriculum guides outline the different classes you will need to take as a theatre major. The general education guide provides a list of all the classes you need in order to fulfill UIndy’s general education requirements. The theatre guide lists all of the classes you will need to take in order to fulfill the major’s requirements. Be sure to take a look at both guides in order to get a complete picture of what your classes will be at UIndy.