The Department of Theatre & Drama provides students with a stimulating blend of cultural diversity, intellectual rigor, and professional experience, all in an intimate and supportive atmosphere. The notable faculty comprises accomplished working professionals including actors, directors, designers, technicians, and published scholars. The program combines intense, conservatory-style training within the context of a liberal arts education at one of the nation’s leading research universities. Renowned for their breadth of experience, Michigan theatre alumni work on stage, on camera, and in all behind-the-scenes roles, and they boast one of the strongest and most supportive networks in the industry.
Department faculty members are dedicated, passionate, and accessible teachers who maintain active professional lives, enabling them to keep abreast of current trends and techniques. They foster a friendly and nurturing climate that encourages personal growth and builds lifelong relationships. A full schedule of acclaimed guest artists and master teachers—representing theatre, film, and television—visit throughout the year, providing students with the ability to learn from and connect with accomplished professionals in an intimate setting.
The program’s broad curriculum takes advantage of the University’s strengths and resources to provide students with an exemplary education. Students can pursue BFAs in performance (with concentrations in either acting or directing); design & production (with concentrations in scenic, costume, or lighting design, as well as stage management); or interarts performance—a unique practice that promotes the intersection of theatrical and visual art. The bachelor in theatre arts (BTA) provides a substantive theatre education within a liberal arts framework, which can be customized to fit each student’s unique goals and passions, including a minor in performing arts management.
Along with core studies, students can explore stage combat, clowning, acting for the camera, theatrical research, as well as diverse theatrical traditions from around the globe. SMTD encourages community connections, and theatre students can participate in numerous outreach programs, including the Prison Creative Arts Project, in which students and those impacted by the justice system collaborate artistically for mutual learning and growth. Additionally, specific department minors broaden knowledge and skills, and boost career options.
Production opportunities abound in Theatre & Drama, and, with the program’s undergraduate focus, students gain onstage and backstage experience right away. Through the auspices of University Productions, SMTD presents 10 or more full-scale staged productions each year, and design & production majors also work on presentations in dance, opera, and musical theatre. In addition, multiple student-produced theatre companies provide students the chance to discover and explore different aspects of stagecraft, whether as actors, directors, designers, technicians, or playwrights.
Upon graduation, performance majors meet industry professionals in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles as participants in Senior Theatre Showcases. These all-important introductions to agents, managers, and casting directors provide a bridge from college to professional work and agency representation.
At Michigan, theatre students work in state-of-the-art facilities, including the Walgreen Drama Center, which houses the Arthur Miller Theatre; Stamps Auditorium; two rehearsal studios; costume, scene, camera, design and sound studios; classrooms; and faculty offices. Studies may also take place at the Earl V. Moore Building, which recently received a $29.5 million expansion and renovation, and students have access to cutting-edge audio and video recording studios, allowing for the highest quality documentation of their creative work. All SMTD students receive unprecedented entrepreneurial and career planning support through the school’s EXCEL department (Excellence in Entrepreneurship Career Empowerment & Leadership), the nation’s top program for funding student entrepreneurial ventures in the performing arts.
The University of Michigan is renowned for developing excellence. Combining the focus and rigor of a conservatory with the academic breadth and depth of a major public research university, an SMTD education is a transformative experience. Theatre students receive a comprehensive program of instruction, performance, and pedagogy, as well as the inspiration and knowledge of a liberal arts course of study, instilling the values of innovation and inclusion. Our graduates excel as artists, scholars, educators, entrepreneurs, technologists, designers, and arts administrators, and also as fully-engaged citizens eager to make a difference in their field and community.