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Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
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Succeed around the globe

Award-winning faculty whose experience spans the world provide individualized instruction, giving students the extra edge they need to succeed. Preparation that extends beyond skills and experience – that’s what you’ll find in the School of Theatre.

The School of Theatre offers undergraduate and graduate degrees covering a range of areas, including Acting, Musical Theatre, Stage Management, Theatre Design and Technology, and Directing.

Learn more about our community commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

 

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Live theatre at Centre Stage

The School of Theatre houses Penn State Centre Stage (PSCS), the professional theatre training program in Central Pennsylvania. PSCS presents theatrical masterpieces and new gems – including a series of livestreamed virtual performances – by emerging masters.


Learn more about Penn State Centre Stage

Metamorphoses design images


Metamorphoses

October 4–15
Penn State Pavilion Theatre

Primal storytelling and modern sensibility collide in a sensual re-envisioning of Greek myths, as gods and mortals alike endure love, loss, and transformation – all while immersed in a pool of water on stage.

Swirling with passion, Tony Award-winner Mary Zimmerman creates this masterpiece that mesmerizes with tales of Midas, Orpheus, Aphrodite, and more in a whimsical and heartbreaking meditation on the joys and perils of being human.

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Degree
Offerings

Photo of a female presenting student on a dark background

B.A. in Theatre

The B.A. in Theatre develops the cross-trained artist/scholar, with a focus on playwriting, performance devising, directing, and preparation for graduate study.
Theatre students performing a scene from Argonautica.

B.F.A. in Acting

The B.F.A. in Acting degree program trains the next generation of stars using a holistic educational approach that prepares performers for success on every stage.
Musical Theatre students performing the halftime show at Beaver Stadium.

B.F.A. in Musical Theatre

The B.F.A. in Musical Theatre is a revered and intensive professional training program that prepares students to step into the spotlight on Broadway and beyond.
School of Theatre dress rehearsal of Argonautica.

B.F.A. in Theatre

With options in Stage Management and Theatre Design and Technology, the B.F.A. in Theatre trains the behind-the-scenes theatre professionals to produce a transformative theatrical experience by artistically engaging modern technology and skills.
Scenic design from the play Argonautica.

M.F.A. in Theatre

Program Application Deadline The deadline for applications for AY 2023–24 is January 15, 2023. To be assured full consideration, please apply by this deadline. Review individual program descriptions for details...
Stage crew students adjusting sound and lighting for the production rehearsal of Violet, located in the Playhouse Theatre at Penn State University Park campus.

Theatre Minor

The Theatre minor is designed for personal enrichment or to enhance study particularly for students in the humanities, communication, and the arts.

Alumni Spotlight

Penn State provided the specialized training required to succeed in my field in the “real world,” as well as a strong network of alumni to guide me once I got there.
Penn State alumna and events professional Carolyn Quinn wearing headset.

Alumni Spotlight

Carolyn Quinn

B.F.A. in Theatre 2016

Carolyn Quinn is an events professional based in New York City. She is currently a production coordinator at Sequence Events, a Global Top 50 Events Agency. Prior to Sequence, Carolyn spent time at Baseline Theatrical and in the general management office of Hamilton: An American Musical, as well as freelancing for high-profile corporate and non-profit events, new
theatrical works, and television and film, including working on the production team for the 71st Annual Tony Awards.

An overhead shot of the 2018 Global Forum hosted in the Oculus World Trade Center. Carolyn Quinn production managed the event with Sequence for the Wharton School of Business.

Studios, Labs and Venues

Production studio spaces, a design and lighting lab, and venues that support student, faculty, and professional performances.
See All Studios, Labs and Venues

Theatre Arts Production Studio (TAPS)

The Theatre Arts Production Studio (TAPS) features a large, state-of-the-art equipped scenic shop with adjacent properties shop and scenic paint studio. The costume shops,


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Pavilion Theatre

The Pavilion Theatre, built in 1915, is a key venue for the Penn State School of Theatre. Designed by architects Frank Miles Day and Charles


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Penn State Downtown Theatre

Finished in 2003, the Penn State Downtown Theatre Center is an intimate 152-seat theatre in the heart of downtown State College. The Penn State


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Playhouse Theatre

The Playhouse Theatre is a 383-seat proscenium-thrust theatre equipped with a dual level, moveable pit, full fly space, and advanced lighting and sound control


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Theatre Lighting Lab

The Penn State School of Theatre Lighting Lab is one of the most advanced and well-equipped labs of its kind in the country. Seating


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Faculty Spotlight

Students around a piano, working alongside Simpkins and playwright Joe Iconis.
Students around a piano, working alongside Simpkins and playwright Joe Iconis.

John Simpkins

Head of Musical Theatre

John Simpkins is head of Musical Theatre and the Nagle Family Endowed Chair at Penn State. He is also a professional director who recently directed the world premiere of Tony-nominated Joe Iconis’ Love in Hate Nation, which was commissioned by Penn State Musical Theatre as part of its New Musicals Initiative.

His recent new musical credits include the World Premiere of Legendale (music by Andrea Daly, words by Jeff Bienstock) at Fredericia Teater in Denmark and the subsequent American Premiere at Human Race Theatre Company. Recent new plays include the World Premieres of Raging Skillet (by Jacques Lamarre) at Theaterworks Hartford, The Bus (by Jim Lantz) at 59E59 Theaters and For Better, For Worse (by Reed Arnold). Regionally, he has directed at Sacramento Music Circus, Lyric Theatre Oklahoma, North Carolina Theatre, the Engeman Theatre, and Sharon Playhouse (where he also served as Artistic Director).

John Simpkins

News from A&A

Craig recognized for excellence in sound design at global exhibition

Curtis Craig was recognized at the 2022 World Stage Design Exhibition as a leader in sound design.

Curtis Craig, associate professor of sound design and head of the Theatre Design and Technology Program in the College of Arts and Architecture's School of Theatre, won first place in


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Arts and Architecture summer commencement student marshal announced

Jack Maloney is the College of Arts and Architecture’s student marshal for the summer 2022 commencement ceremony.
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Dumas receives ‘Living Legend Award’

Charles Dumas has been recognized by the North Carolina Black Repertory Company for his significant contributions to American theatre and to the entertainment industry.
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