Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance: Directing

Designed for students to learn the craft of directing stage productions; the function of a director; and the relationships between a director and designers, stage managers, and actors. Small cohorts allow for individualized educational approaches from devoted faculty who expertly guide and encourage students to achieve their greatest potential.


The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance: Directing requires a minimum of 122 credits: coursework is 65% within SMTD and 35% within the liberal arts. SMTD coursework to include: Directing Acting Theatre History Technical Theatre Production Practicum Movement and Voice Stage Combat Playwriting Directing Project Studio Liberal Arts coursework to include: Freshman Writing, Shakespeare’s plays, Upper-level writing, foreign language or tested proficiency, and academic electives from across the U-M

Final Project:

The program culminates with a Senior Directing Thesis.

Silent Advisor

Degree requirements and term-by-term layout for current students.

The BFA: Directing Experience


Alumni provide a strong network across the country in a variety of performing arts organizations and adjacent fields. From Broadway to Disney World, from the Spoleto Festival to Jacob’s Pillow, and from cruise ships to regional theatres, Wolverines can be found “in the wings” creating and supporting live performance in every venue imaginable.

Guest Artists

Visiting artists interact with students as resident teaching artists in the classroom and as guest designers and stage managers on MainStage season creative teams. They zoom in to chat with students at our weekly seminar or as guests in our classes providing a strong connection to current industry practices.


For some students, they want to live and breathe all things theatre! For others, there is flexibility to participate in other extra-curricular activities U-M offers, including varsity or intra-mural sports, Greek life, marching band or glee club.

Performance Venues

Faculty- and guest-directed plays take place in the Arthur Miller Theatre, the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, and the Power Center for the Performing Arts.

Faculty studios, Directing Theses, and the student-led Basement Arts productions are produced in the Newman Studio.

How to Prepare Your Portfolio

We want to get to know YOU! Show work that demonstrates your curiosity, creativity, artistry, organization, flexibility, or storytelling skills.

In the end, remember we are interviewing you, not your portfolio.


Raja Benz

Lecturer; Resident Intimacy Choreographer and Cultural Consultant

Daniel Cantor

Associate Professor of Theatre & Drama
Acting, Directing

José Casas

Associate Professor of Theatre & Drama

Mark Colson

Assistant Professor
Acting, Acting for the Camera

Antonio Disla

Clinical Assistant Professor of Theatre & Drama
Acting, African-American Drama

Patrick Drone

Theatrical Properties Shop Manager and Adjunct Lecturer in Theatre & Drama
Theatrical Properties

Jenna Gerdsen

Assistant Professor of Theatre & Drama
Theatre & Drama, Theatre History

Jungah Han

Assistant Professor of Theatre & Drama
Scenic Design

Jake Hooker

Performing & Devising, Theatre History

Amy E. Hughes

Professor of Theatre & Drama, Head of Theatre Studies
Dramatic Literature, Theatre History

Kevin Judge

Associate Professor of Theatre & Drama
Scenic Design

Halena Kays

Assistant Professor
Directing, Theatre & Drama

Jeffrey Kuras

Director University Productions and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music, School of Music, Theatre & Dance
Performing Arts Management, Production Management

Richard Lindsay

Technical Director, University Productions and Adjunct Lecturer in Theatre & Drama, School of Music, Theatre & Dance
Walgreen Scene Shop

Ashley E. Lucas

Professor of Theatre & Drama and LS&A Residential College
Atonement Project, Theatre for Social Change

Christianne Myers

Claribel Baird Halstead Collegiate Professor of Theatre & Drama
Costume Design

Henry P. Reynolds

Information Systems Administrator University Productions and Assistant Professor of Theatre
Administration, Sound Design


Performance, Production, and Engagement Opportunities

Students in the Department of Theatre & Drama have a wide range of opportunities available to them outside of the classroom, both on and off the stage–depending on your major.

Several female actors on stage, dressed in period greek costumes.
Performance Opportunities

Performance Opportunities
The Department of Theatre & Drama, in collaboration with University Productions (the producing arm of SMTD), presents four to five fully-mounted mainstage shows each year, with casts comprised entirely of acting majors.

Extracurricular performance opportunities are also available through a variety of student-run groups, as well as local professional theatres.

A female student with chin-length hair, wearing a headset, observes a production
Production Opportunities

Design & Production Opportunities
Theatre Design & Production and BTA majors work as stage managers, dramaturgs, shop assistants, and technicians for each mainstage production, and advanced D&P students may be selected to design costumes, sets, or lighting for these productions. Theatre students from all majors also crew for the School of Music, Theatre & Dance opera, musical theatre, and dance productions.

Additional design & production opportunities are available though campus groups, as well as local theaters like Ann Arbor Civic Theatre.

a male student works in a shop staining a piece of wood
Directing Opportunities

Directing Opportunities
Directing majors may act as assistant directors to guest and faculty directors in all mainstage productions. They also direct class projects, a senior project, and plays for the student-run Basement Arts organization.

a male student works in a shop staining a piece of wood
Engagement Opportunities

Engagement Opportunities
The BTA program supports students’ professional development from the very first semester, connecting them with mentors pursuing rewarding and impactful careers in the theatre and adjacent fields. A centerpiece of the program is the BTA Immersion Trip, when students visit a major city to see shows, visit theatres, and participate in Q&As and speed-networking sessions with professionals.

BTA students also participate with community organizations like the Prison Creative Arts Project through LSA.

Interarts Opportunities

Interarts Opportunities
Interarts students have several opportunities available to them in their joint relationship with Stamps School of Art & Design, including The Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series, a one-credit class that takes place once a week at the Michigan Theater in downtown Ann Arbor.

The Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series brings respected leaders and innovators from a broad spectrum of creative fields to Ann Arbor's historic Michigan Theater for weekly in-person events — and to your screen of choice with the support of our partners, Detroit Public Television and PBS Books.

a male student works in a shop staining a piece of wood
The Performing Arts Management & Entrepreneurship Minor

The Performing Arts Management & Entrepreneurship Minor
The SMTD minor in Performing Arts Management and Entrepreneurship (PAME) invites exceptional students to add arts management and entrepreneurship training to their academic portfolio. Such training is intended to amplify the careers of students engaged with the performing arts through knowledge, skills, and hands-on experiences to increase and broaden the impact of their creative talents.

a male student works in a shop staining a piece of wood
Extra Curricular Opportunities

Extracurricular Opportunities
The student run theatre organization Basement Arts presents a variety of work – from late night stand-up, to new work, to plays – completely produced by students.

Theatre students also produce, direct, design and perform in plays produced by various university groups such as the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, MUSKET, the Rude Mechanicals, and others.

The logo for a local theatre
Local Theatres

Local Theatres
A number of our faculty and students work with the local professional theatres, Tipping Point Theatre in Northville, Michigan, and The Encore Musical Theatre Company in nearby Dexter, Michigan.

In addition, students often work with community and high school theatres in the area, or with the local community theatre, Ann Arbor Civic Theatre.