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Chair’s Welcome

Welcome to the Department of Theatre at Vanderbilt! We’re excited you’re looking to learn about the department, our undergraduate curriculum, how to get involved with the production season, the many career pathways available to theatre students, faculty research and creative expression, and more.

Theatre’s undergraduate major includes courses in theatre and performance studies, theatre literature and writing, acting and directing, and design and production. Our curriculum is designed for flexibility coupled with a broad understanding of theatre. Theatre classes feature low student/teacher ratios and one-on-one interaction with faculty members. Our courses will help you to learn to think critically about theatre and to hone your skills as an artist, scholar, and technician.

The theatre minor enables students to focus on one aspect of theatrical study while also exploring other parts of the discipline. Minor tracks include acting and directing for production, theatre design and technical production, writing for the stage, and theatre and performance studies.

Theatre is inherently immersive. Students have opportunities to complete Immersion projects through independent research, production experiences, studying specific theatrical topics, professional engagement, and coursework. Our exceptional faculty provide hands-on advising to students’ Immersion projects.

The theatre faculty participate in the profession as scholars, artists, and practitioners. Our faculty are active in professional scholarly organizations, work in professional theatre, and are engaged with the local and national arts scenes. We have expertise and work across the theatrical discipline and are eager to share our experience with our students. The department regularly brings guest artists to contribute to our production season and classes.

Theatre produces a four-show season over the course of the academic year. Plays are typically directed and designed by faculty or guest artists, with some student directors and designers. Plays are cast from the student body, and any Vanderbilt student is welcome to audition. We typically hold auditions at the start of each semester. Our production season offers many opportunities to learn about working backstage. Theatre also has a number of paid staff jobs in the scene and costume shops. Productions serve as a way for students to expand their learning beyond the classroom and to continue to work closely with theatre faculty.

Our graduates have gone on to work in theatre as actors, directors, managers, designers, and technicians. Alumni have also gone into other disciplines such as film and media, education, law, medicine, and business. Theatre encourages exploration across the discipline with both practical skills and a focus on critical thinking that can be valuable to future careers in any field.

I hope that you enjoy learning about theatre at Vanderbilt. Please contact us directly with any questions!

Professor Phillip Franck
Chair, Department of Theatre