The Drama Program at the University of Portland, for its size, is a strong liberal arts theatre training program within our Northwest region and on the National level. We are known for the excellence of our productions and of our students in both regional and national American College Theatre Festival competitions sponsored by the Kennedy Center. We have had several undergraduate actors, designers and stage managers win in our region and compete in Washington DC in the last 7 years. This is a testament to our small class sizes, the individual training our students get, and the focus of our program to create a well rounded theatre artist.
A student who enrolls as a BA Drama Major can select to focus their major in one of three emphases: Performance, Design/Technical or Production Management. These emphases constitute an advanced component of class work within a general theatre core curriculum. It allows our students a combination of a generalist’s degree with elements of conservatory training. It also allows for the broadening of the liberal arts college experience without the narrow focus of the conservatory approach. We feel we offer our students the best of both ideas. The strength of our approach and our program is backed up by our membership in NAST. We were the first drama program to achieve national accreditation in Oregon in 2000 which means we met a high level of standard in our production program, our curriculum and our degree programs.
The Drama Program produces 4 main stage productions and 3 – 4 second stage productions a year in the Mago Hunt Theatre which a 300 seat thrust/proscenium combination theatre space. It boasts a fully operational computer lighting and sound system and a partial stage elevator. The Hunt Center also contains a student employed costume and scene shop where our majors and minors learn the production skills and crafts necessary to create theatrical productions. The faculty strongly believes that the more opportunities our students have on stage and off the more qualified they become for a life long association with theatre on all levels.
We also are currently in the construction process of the Mehling Black Box theater space where we will be producing our second stage productions. It will be a 100 seat performance space geared to student generated productions both for our graduate directing students and our undergraduate senior capstone projects. This space will also serve for readings and performances of our fledgling student new play series which happens every spring. Students write and produce staged readings of their newly created plays.
It is a dynamic time to consider this degree program that bridges so many of the disciplines with the College of Arts and Sciences at this teaching University. I hope you will consider our program for the next step in your training as a theatre artisan. Please contact any of our faculty if you want to know how to become a part of this exceptional program.
Larry Larsen, Director of Theatre