Skip To Main Content
Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Select where to search:


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

 

Create on 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

Contact + Connect


  • Assoc. Director of Academics: Dan Robinson


  • URTA logoNAST logo

    Degree
    Offerings

    A discussion with students

    B.A. in Theatre

    The B.A. in Theatre inspires the next generation of theatre professionals to shape the future of the industry after experiencing an impactful education supported by endless artistic outlets.
    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

    The M.F.A in Theatre program is one of the most unique and well-respected theatre education programs in the country that consistently exists as a conduit to Broadway and beyond. Collaboration...
    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.

    Teaching and Learning during COVID

    Performance classes – on campus, on Zoom – always flexible, creative, and engaged!
    Design Technology and Management is dedicated to achieving even deeper learning and higher levels of productivity and technique during the pandemic.

    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,


    Learn More

    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


    Learn More

    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


    Learn More

    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


    Learn More

    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


    Learn More

    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
    graphic of spring season
    Apr 22 - 25

    "The Last Five Years" by Jason Robert Brown

    Virtual
    “The Last Five Years,” by Jason Robert Brown, directed by Jennifer Delac, and music directed by Jordon Cunningham, April 22–25, 7:30 p.m. EDT at www.showtix4u.com.

    Events

    Go. Explore.

    'Moving Forward' Spring Dance Concert

    Virtual
    graphic of spring season
    Apr 30 - May 31

    PSCS Virtual spring dance concert, Moving Forward, with choreography by Michele Dunleavy, A. Kikora Franklin, Tyler McKenzie, and Rebecca Maciejczyk, premiering Friday, April 30, 7:30


    See All Events

    News from A&A

    Penn State Centre Stage Virtual to present modern twist on marriage in “The Last Five Years”

    Penn State Centre Stage Virtual will present “The Last Five Years,” a musical sharing a modern twist on marriage, at 7:30 p.m. April 22-25, at showtix4you.

    The Penn State Centre Stage Virtual will present “The Last Five Years,” a musical sharing a modern twist on marriage, at 7:30 p.m. April 22-25, at showtix4you. The musical was


    Read More

    M.F.A. Director Alison Morooney connects with tragic tale in “Sea Wall”

    Before the curtain is drawn and the play begins, a lot goes into a performance. The costumes are made, the lines are rehearsed, and the stage is designed and set.
    Read More

    Theatre freshman named a winner of NPR's Student Podcast Challenge

    School of Theatre freshman Miriam Colvin is a winner of NPR's 2021 Student Podcast Challenge: College Edition.
    Read More