Theatre & Dance
The Theatre Program
The Muhlenberg Theatre Program is founded on the belief that theatre must be an intellectual pursuit and a practical pursuit at the same time. You should study theatre — but you should also create it.
With its emphasis on exploration and collaboration, the Theatre Program at Muhlenberg serves as excellent preparation for a career in theatre — or a career anywhere else.
Students in the department hone their craft through intensive studio training and hands-on experience, but also in the context of their broader liberal arts education. Theatre majors have extensive opportunities in musical theatre and dance and are encouraged to participate in the Department's award-winning productions, exploring their interests through exciting, diverse Mainstage, blackbox, and concert experiences.
What courses of study are available?
The Theatre Major: Theatre majors select from one of five concentrations. Here's what all theatre majors can expect:
- Extensive professional training in the concentration they select, under the direct guidance of active, experienced theatre professionals.
- A comprehensive survey of all aspects of the theatre arts, both practical and academic.
- A thorough grounding in the liberal arts, with daily opportunities to interweave their arts and sciences coursework with their theatre studies.
Double Majors: Many theatre majors choose to pursue a second major in addition to theatre. Those with an interest in musical theatre training often pursue a second major in music or dance. Other popular choices include English, film studies, and business — including the Business Department's new Arts Administration Program. Find out more about multidisciplinary studies.
Non-major studies: All Muhlenberg students are welcome to take both studio and academic classes in the Theatre Program, regardless of major — as well as to participate fully in all performance opportunities.
What classes are offered?
The Theatre Program offers more than 35 courses in acting, directing, stage management, design, and performance theory and history. In addition, the theatre major includes courses from across the liberal arts curriculum: English, philosophy, religion, anthropology, dance, and others.
All theatre majors will take the following:
- Theatre & Society
- At least one acting class
- Two or more courses in stagecraft and design
- Five or more courses from our extensive theatre scholarship offerings, focusing on theatre history, dramatic literature, and theatrical and aesthetic theory
- Additional courses in their area of concentration.
What concentrations are available?
Theatre majors choose one or more of the following concentrations:
* The two Design and Technology concentrations — Production Design and Stage Management — are technically concentrations within the Theatre Program, although students work on both theatre and dance productions and study techniques of both.
What production and performance opportunities are available?
Theatre students of every specialization have extensive opportunities to practice their craft, both independently and in collaboration with faculty and guest artists.
Mainstage: The Department's Mainstage season includes six theatre productions a year, carefully selected to complement the curriculum and one another. Most Mainstage roles are performed by students, occasionally acting alongside guest artists or faculty spotlight performers. Students also stage-manage all Mainstage productions, work running crew, build sets, hang lights, and build costumes. All theatre students are strongly encouraged to participate behind the scenes as well as onstage.
Each season features at least one student-directed Mainstage production and offers design opportunities for students in every design field. In addition, directing students serve as assistant directors and dramaturgs on Mainstage productions, and design students work closely with guest and resident artists as assistant designers.
The Mainstage Season typically features most or all of the following:
- At least one full-scale musical theatre production.
- A dance theatre production, showcasing collaboration between the Dance and Theatre programs.
- New Voices and New Visions, showcases for student playwrights and student directors, presented every other year.
- A diverse and compelling selection of plays: dramas and comedies, international works, classics, modern pieces, avant garde works, world premieres, experiments, and explorations.
Studio Productions & Third-Tier Productions: The student-run Muhlenberg Theatre Association presents a series of student-directed productions each semester, showcasing student performers, directors, designers, and playwrights. These series typically feature 25 to 40 productions a year.
Ensembles: Students may audition to participate in touring ensembles that perform in local schools and community centers. In addition, there are numerous student performance groups on campus, including improv comedy troupes, a cappella choirs, dance ensembles, and musical groups.