Are you a hardworking artist who loves the challenge and collaboration of bringing stories to life on stage? Or are you still exploring your creative passions or looking to develop your unique artistic voice?
At Iowa's Theatre Program, you will join a community of students and faculty dedicated to developing new theatrical work in a positive, supportive learning environment. As part of our large College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, you can pair your theatre education with a wide variety of majors from many programs and graduate with the skills and confidence to find your voice and create your own story.
The Department of Theatre Arts is a well-known center for the development of new theatrical works. It also is home to the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, one of the finest graduate playwriting programs in America. Iowa playwrights have worked on and off Broadway and in TV and film. They have won MacArthur Genius Awards, Emmy Awards, and have written Tony- and Oscar-nominated plays and films.
Iowa's emphasis on creativity and the generation of new art drives a program that will provide you with both comprehensive training and individual attention. Iowa's theatre department stages 25–30 productions each year, diverse in format and style—producing more work in one year than some universities do in five. Iowa students have uniquely abundant opportunities to gain industry experience in multiple aspects of theatre, all while working alongside seasoned professionals in these areas and learning to use the latest technology in a variety of settings.
Iowa's manageable requirement of 36 semester hours (s.h.) to complete the BA in Theatre Arts makes it easier for students to double major. In fact, 64 percent of Iowa theatre students also major in a second subject such as English, Cinema, Music, or Dance.
64% of Iowa Theatre students also major in a second subject
Job/Grad School Placement
Theatre Arts majors need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. An audition is not required.
Iowa graduates have a 96 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.
The theatre major prepares individuals to excel in fields that prioritize innovation, collaboration, and communication, so some of our graduates go right into the industry and find work as:
- stage managers
Others work in film and television, or decide to teach, and some combine either scholarship and production or performance and teaching. Others take the skills and confidence they develop at Iowa into a wide range of rewarding professional fields such as education, law, business, medicine, and journalism. Iowa will prepare you to create your own story.
After graduating, many students move to a metropolitan area to find work. In theatre, there are no guarantees—success takes talent, patience, hard work, and a bit of luck. But because our program is run like a professional theatre organization with accomplished faculty and exceptional facilities, gear, and standards, you will graduate with a resume of real experience and be ready to make an impact.
Theatre majors regularly participate in mainstage productions directed, designed, or written by faculty members, alumni, guest artists, and graduate students. The Undergraduate Directors Festival in the fall and the Ten-Minute Play Festival in the spring, as well as the "Gallery Series" throughout the academic year, feature short plays written, directed, designed, and performed by students that play to appreciative audiences.
Theatre Arts majors are encouraged to audition for all department productions. General auditions are held three times each year: During the first week of class in the fall, in early November, and in early March.
Students typically present a three-minute audition consisting of two contrasting pieces. From this audition, callback lists are posted for major productions. Notices of auditions are posted on the department's call board in the Theatre Building and in the electronic call board on the Auditions section of the department's website.
Auditions for Theatre Arts productions are open to everyone. For academic considerations, priority is given to theatre majors first and then all other University of Iowa students. Members of the greater Iowa city community are also strongly encouraged to audition.
The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college.
The Department of Theatre Arts awards several scholarships. Incoming students are eligible for the Iowa Center for the Arts Scholarships, which offer full in-state tuition for three students who intend to major in Theatre Arts and who demonstrate exceptional promise. In addition, the Tanna Frederick Scholarship provides $5,000 for an exceptional incoming student and the Hatch-Billops Scholarship offers aid to promising African American students. More than a dozen scholarships ranging from $500 to full in-state tuition are available to upper-level students. Contact the Department of Theatre Arts for additional information and an application.
The Theatre Arts Program includes courses in acting, theatre technology, performance analysis, history of theatre and drama, design, dramatic literature, and production. It is based on the philosophy that the best way to develop future artists is to expose them to rigorous professional practice within the framework of a liberal arts and sciences education. Required coursework includes completing the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core.
Students learn how to collaborate by working with graduate students and faculty members in every area of production. Together they grow as artists and share their commitment to artistic excellence.
Review Theatre Arts in the UI General Catalog to learn more about requirements for the major or minor and graduating with honors.
Music Theatre Track
Students may pursue a specialized track in Music Theatre—a gateway for students to develop skills to audition professionally and pursue further instruction in Music Theatre. Coursework includes acting, singing, musicianship, and dance, and requires an additional 15 s.h. in Dance and Music courses.
Students interested in entering this program must audition. Each student's program of study will culminate in a final presentation, to be determined in consultation with the track advisor.
View Music Theatre in the UI General Catalog to learn about required coursework.
Other Ways to Specialize
Theatre majors can customize their approach to studying theatre in numerous ways, in addition to the Music Theatre Track. Iowa offers specialized study plans focused on:
- Comedy Studies
- Stage Management
Students can also choose to pursue a Certificate in Public Digital Arts or in Social Justice and the Performing Arts. These pathways allow Iowa students to design their training around their own keenest interest and aspirations.