About Theatre

Our Bachelor of Arts in Theatre combines a liberal arts education with professionally-focused training.  Students receive a foundation in performance studies, history, and literature as well as classes in acting, playwriting, directing, devising, and various forms of design.

We believe that theatre artists are makers, creators, devisers, designers, writers, leaders, activists, and entertainers.  So, at the heart of our program is the belief that every student should be given the training and resources they need to realize a unique vision for their life, education, and creative work.  Our major is the place to train intensively as an actor; join an entirely student produced, designed, and directed Studio Theatre; write, devise, and produce your own work, explore alternative forms of performance, and develop a scholarly understanding of culture and art.

Faculty are distinguished for their professional accomplishment and student-centered teaching; students are admitted to the major based on an audition or interview, or what we call our “gateway” process; and graduates enjoy an excellent record of placement in jobs at professional theatres on Broadway and off-Broadway, in film and television, and as teachers, theatre makers, and leaders in the arts.

Stained Glass
You can do it all here!
School for Scandal

Our theatre program is brimming with projects and opportunities. Each year we produce 3 plays on our mainstage; 5 – 8 student produced full-length plays or devised work in the Studio Theatre; and 3 – 8 staged readings of original student work in our Workshop season. And because we focus exclusively on undergraduate education, you won’t be competing with graduate students for resources. Our students are politically active, frequent participants in various study abroad programs and professional internships, and regular creators of independent projects, including films, performances, and events in and outside of the School of Theatre and Dance.


If you want to specialize further, our Theatre major offers four “concentrations”: Performance, Design and Technology, Theatre Studies, and Theatre Education.  Students audition or interview for concentrations in the spring of your sophomore year. You may be accepted into multiple concentrations. Concentrations are not required.


The Performance Concentration provides a course of study which includes acting, voice, movement, and specific styles such as comedy and Shakespeare.


The Design & Technology Concentration provides hands-on training and experience through classes and design opportunities in the Studio and Mainstage Season.


The Theatre Education Concentration focuses on drama and theatre for youth in schools and communities. Theatre education is a space where we build a community for learning, engage in purposeful play, ask critical questions, and use the tools of theatre to communicate and express complex ideas. JMU considers a theatre teacher as both an artist and an educator and the Theatre Education Concentration at JMU prepares individuals for K-12 licensure or teaching artistry.


The Theatre Studies Concentration provides a course of study which combines theatre history and textual analysis with hands-on performance and production experiences to prepare students for a wide-range of careers within the theatre. Theatre Studies includes: directing, playwriting, dramaturgy, arts management, and performance studies (such as theatre history, criticism, dramatic literature, critical theory, applied theatre, or theatre for social change). Students interested in focusing in one of these areas will develop an individualized course plan and be assigned a faculty mentor.

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