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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

photo of emily akers

Alumni Spotlight

Emily Akers

B.A. in Theatre 2019

My training at Penn State has helped me get to where I am today. I am back in my hometown of Brooklyn, NY working for a community Ed tech startup working as a community coordinator and digital content strategist. I would not have gotten here if it weren’t for the amazing mentors and faculty I had within the School of Theatre. Whether you plan on pursuing a career on stage or off, the professors you will work with are happy to help you find ways to flourish.

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News from A&A

Theatre alumni apply Penn State experience to the tech front

Theatre design alumni Tyler Hoffman and Mike Birardi founded in 2017 Illuminated Integration, an audio, video and lighting company based in Harrisburg.

College of Arts and Architecture alumni Tyler Hoffman and Mike Birardi are using the skills and experiences they gained as Theatre Design and Technology majors to bring all kinds of

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School of Theatre’s Student Diversity Committee gains University organization status

The School of Theatre’s Student Diversity Committee has become an official University organization.
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Animated film takes viewers behind the COVID-19 frontline

In his latest animated film, “Frontline Nurses: Dispatches from the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Penn State Theatre faculty member William Doan tells the stories of frontline nurses.
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