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B.A. in Theatre

A Liberal Arts Degree
In Theory and Practice

The B.A. in Theatre asks students to consider the theatrical past; to reflect on their own reasons for doing theatre now; and to imagine what theatre can be in the future.

Students take a broad range of courses in theatre theory and practice, beginning with Theatre History, Performance Theory, and Play Analysis. Students gain experience in the Penn State Centre Stage and OffStage seasons as assistant directors, as dramaturgs, and on production crews. Many direct, design, and perform through Penn State’s numerous student theatre groups. Some of our program’s most exciting work results from residencies with internationally renowned guest artists.

The BA offers breadth of experience and depth of inquiry:

The Theatre Studies BA is a small, competitive program for students focused in the creation of new works: playwrights, directors, dramaturgs, and devisers. We prepare students to write, devise, direct, and produce their own performance works. Our recent graduates have gone on to graduate programs in theatre history, producing, or acting. Others work in casting, marketing, arts administration, dramaturgy, teaching, and applied theatre.

The School of Theatre offers a BA in Theatre Studies and a BFA in Theatre. The BA in theatre studies is a liberal arts program, pairing well with a double major and/or a variety of minors. Students interested in a pre-professional training program in acting, or musical theatre, or design & technology should apply for the appropriate program within the Penn State BFA degree.

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Is the B.A. in Theatre right for you?

The Theatre BA introduces students to a range of theatre and performance practices, making some ready to apply for MFA programs in acting, directing, dramaturgy, and design. Other students develop artistic and administrative careers in theatre over their four years at Penn State. Our degree is a strong choice for students interested in arts administration, casting, producing, teaching theatre, and other paths that combine business, humanities, and social sciences skills with the skills acquired in the theatre major.

Our students are interested in making theatre—being on stage and behind the scenes—but they’re also interested in theatre itself: what it can accomplish, how it builds community, how theatre can effect change in the world. The power and future of theatre excites us here at Penn State. If it excites you, too, then the Theatre BA might be right for you.

Student performance outside of the Palmer Museum of Art.

Considering the B.A. in Theatre? Consider this.

You’ll get a broad liberal education that prepares you for a range of careers in theatre and beyond.

  • Opportunities for study abroad.

  • This is an ideal theatre degree if you want a double major.

  • Small class sizes mean individualized attention.

Alumni Spotlight

You’ve gotta work hard to play hard. Sure, some people can skirt by without working as hard as others, but that will only take them so far.
Penn State Musical Theatre alumna Brinie Wallace

Alumni Spotlight

Brinie Wallace

B.F.A. in Musical Theatre 2016

Brinie Wallace is currently an ensemble member in the North American tour of The Book of Mormon after premiering the musical in Australia. She says her Penn State education reinforced in her the need to be “present and persistent” in the musical theatre profession, so you are ready to take on whatever challenges come your way.

Brinie Wallace, second from the right, performs as a member of the ensemble in the nationally touring Broadway production of “The Book of Mormon.” Wallace is a 2016 Penn State School of Theatre graduate. IMAGE: The Book of Mormon (c) Julieta Cervantes 2019

News from A&A

Ponce de León receives URTA scenic design and technology award

Founded in 1969, the URTA works to ensure the continued renewal of the American theatre by supporting excellence in the professional training of new artists.

Milagros Ponce de León, associate professor of scenic design and head of the B.F.A. in Theatre Design and Technology Program, was recognized by the University Resident Theatre Association (URTA) with

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“They cared more about me as a person”: Musical Theatre student grateful for connections made at Penn State

Musical Theatre senior, Alex Wind, has been a leader on and off the stage.
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Ann Talman reflects on her relationship with Elizabeth Taylor and time at Penn State

Actress Ann Talman discusses her friendship with Elizabeth Taylor and her time at Penn State in an entertaining Q&A.
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