Theater Arts

J106 Theater Arts Center
(831) 459-2974

Programs Offered

Theater Arts B.A.

Theater Arts Minor

Dance Minor 

Theater Arts M.A.

The Theater Arts Department is a diverse group of scholars/artists united by a passionate belief in the value of the performing arts. Based on respect for the classical theater of all cultures, combined with a determination to challenge tradition and fashion, we educate our students in the history, theory, and practice of theater and dance to address fundamental issues by using the tools of body, voice, mind, and imagination. Seeking to attain the highest levels of intellectual and artistic integrity, and with a commitment to cultural diversity, we serve the research mission of UC Santa Cruz, our audiences, and the students who will shape the theater of the future.

Undergraduate Program

The Theater Arts Department combines drama, dance, critical studies, and theater design/technology to offer students an intensive program of theater as a unified field. The program stresses the inter-relation of all disciplines as essential to the successful practice of the theater arts in the 21st century. Graduates of the UCSC program typically pursue careers in professional theater and dance companies, in film and television, and in teaching at all levels—from university to high school to grade school. Many students go on to higher degrees at prestigious national programs. Others engage in careers in arts, administration, dramatic writing, and related fields.

The lower-division curriculum requires a range of practical work in the various concentrations and an interdisciplinary exposure to critical and historical studies. At the upper-division level, students are given the opportunity to focus on one or more areas of interest in limited-enrollment studios. At the same time, they are asked to expand their theoretical perspectives through confrontation with performance theory and focused coursework in critical studies. The impact of digital and new media on theater is also integrated into the curriculum.

A wealth of production opportunities is available to students. This includes major productions directed by faculty or distinguished visiting artists each quarter, productions directed or choreographed by students, and faculty-directed workshops. Undergraduate students are also given the opportunity to see their own writing, choreography, or developing concepts put into production in department-sponsored productions and annual festivals of student work. Although majors are given preference in studio courses, most courses and productions welcome non-majors as well. Opportunities to study and perform non-Western as well as Euro-American traditions are also a significant part of the program.

The stage and studio spaces available to students of theater arts allow for a breadth of training and performance opportunities. The Theater Arts Center contains a 500-seat thrust stage; a state-of-the-art experimental theater; a 200-seat proscenium theater; acting, directing, design and dance studios; costume, scene, and properties shops; a sound recording room; and a computer lab. Also, located at the base of the campus is our 150-seat Barn Theater.

Library holdings in theater literature and history are extensive, including a large slide collection and dance video archives; journals in current theater, design/technology, and dance; and recordings, films, videotapes, and CD-ROMs.

Graduate Program

The Master of Arts degree combines intellectually rigorous coursework with challenging artistic practice. Like our undergraduate curriculum, our graduate program integrates the study of ancient and modern theater texts and practices, and it examines diverse approaches to performance. It encourages collaboration, initiative, and cross-disciplinary thinking.