Lady in costume
Degrees Offered: BA BFA MA MFA Minor PhD

The Department of Theatre and Dance creates an environment that fosters artistic discipline, exploration, creativity and interpersonal communication. The undergraduate programs provide a balance of theory and practice through which students gain knowledge, critical insights and performance skills. The department encourages production of student work and involvement in activities ranging from participation in productions to presentation of individual creative work.

In addition to enriching the cultural life of the university community, the creative activities of faculty and students in the department contribute substantially to the practice, appreciation and understanding of theatre and dance both within and beyond the boundaries of the state of Colorado.

Undergraduate Opportunities

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Theatre offers academic courses and training opportunities in all aspects of theatre. For students with a wide range of interests, and those who are considering double majoring, the theatre program is ideal. The department also offers a more specialized and rigorous theatre curriculum leading to the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree for highly talented students who aspire to professional careers in theatre. Students may choose among concentrations in performance, design and technology, stage management and musical theatre. The BA in Dance provides a general education by requiring a variety of practical and theoretical courses in dance. All students enterunder the BA plan. 

Graduates of theater and dance may elect to pursue careers as full­time actors, playwrights, designers, technicians, directors, choreographers, teachers and dancers. There are CU Boulder alumni working as theatre and dance professionals throughout the country and abroad. Theatre and dance graduates have a broad liberal arts background that is sound preparation for a variety of careers, both related to the arts and otherwise. Those interested in arts­related positions should consider employment opportunities with repertory theatre companies, arts councils, dance troupes, schools, studios, service agencies, local opera groups and community festivals. Other students may decide to go on to professional study in theatre or dance, or to work in areas such as business, law or medicine.

Graduate Studies

MA in Theatre

The theatre MA program has two tracks. One requires students to write a substantial research document demonstrating mature critical thought and based on independent study and investigation (graduate school plan I). This “thesis track” MA prepares students to pursue a PhD degree; students choose this track if they wish to be considered for the department’s doctoral program. Students who do not plan to pursue a PhD can elect the non­thesis track, which requires a written exam covering graduate course work (graduate school plan II). 

Theatre PHD

The PhD in Theatre is designed for those who intend to be theatre scholars working in an academic environment. CU­ Boulder’s program is unique in its commitment to an “on stage” approach to the history, theory and practice of theatre. “Stage” is defined liberally in order to be inclusive of performance traditions from around the world and contemporary performance inventions. The department encourages PhD students to engage in the practice of theatre while at CU either as directors, dramaturges, writers, performers or through applied theatre. Graduates will: demonstrate proficiency in academic course work, exhibit reading competency in at least one foreign language, pass a comprehensive exam and prepare and defend a dissertation. 

MFA in Dance

The MFA program at CU­ Boulder is designed to accommodate a variety of students, ranging from the practicing professional to the recent BA or BFA graduate. The MFA will develop students’ creative, performance and scholarly work and position them for teaching careers in higher education as well as a variety of other careers in the field of dance. The program provides a well­rounded education that develops concrete skills in performance and choreography, and instills an appreciation of the role that dance playsin history and human culture. Core training includes classes in modern, ballet, African, jazz and hip­hop, and the program’s goals are to encourage the clarification and individuation of each student’s artistic voice; to prepare and empower students to fulfill their chosen career paths, both in their graduate studies and in the professional world; to investigate traditional and innovative approaches to movement invention, choreography and performance; to deepen somatic awareness and increase fluency in dance technique, including ballet, improvisation, jazz, modern, hip hop and West African; to actively engage in dance research, with particular attention to discovering relationships between scholarship and creative work; to examine pedagogical goals and strategies from aesthetic, cultural and anatomical perspectives; and to present choreography/creative work on a regular basis and perform in the creative work of faculty, student peers and guest artists working in a variety of aesthetic and technical styles.

Research Opportunities

The Department of Theatre and Dance offers numerous off­campus and summer production opportunities. The two student­driven dance troupes, CU Moving Company and CU Contemporary DanceWorks (graduate students), tour statewide. The Theatre Outreach Tour travels the state each spring. Students also work regularly with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival as actors, technicians and dramaturgs.

Independent studies on focused topics in scholarship and creative work are supported by regular faculty. In addition, dance and theatre students are encouraged to seek training and development opportunities off campus in internships. Each spring, the senior showcase travels to New York City to audition for casting directors and agents.During the academic year, the department offers 10­15 productions in its season, with a variety of presentations in drama, musical theatre and dance. In addition, there are many student­choreographed dance concerts and student­directed and designed theatre productions each year. These productions provide invaluable experience and exposure for aspiring performers, choreographers, directors and designers. 

Supported by the Roser Visiting Artist Program, the department brings in guest artists in both theatre and dance. Guests in dance are also supported by the Gail Pokoik Visiting Artist Fund, and distinguished theatre artists are brought to campus, sponsored by theRoe Green Visiting Theatre Artist Residency. Professional directors, designers, actors, dancers and choreographers are brought to campus to teach classes, offer workshops, direct shows and choreograph dances for theatre and dance majors.

The department is especially proud to be the home of the internationally renowned Colorado Shakespeare Festival (CSF), one of two university­based groups in the world to have completed the entire canon of 37 plays. Full­scale productions of the Bard’s work are presented on campus each summer in the beautiful outdoor setting of the 1,000­seat Mary Rippon Theatre and in a 420­seat indoor theatre. Each year actors, technicians, directors and designers are selected from national and local auditions to be in the CSF Company. Many undergraduates are involved with festival presentations.Facilities in support of departmental activities during the academic year include the University Theatre, where major productions are staged in a 420­seat house; the Loft, a theatre offering flexible staging and seating for between 75 and 150 people; the 150­-seat Charlotte York Irey Studio Theatre for dance productions; and acting and dance studios. Scene and costume shop facilities accompany these spaces. Students have access to audio and video equipment, as well as a digital audio and video editing lab.