Theater BA | University of Portland

Theater BA

Learn through doing

The Bachelor of Arts degree program at the University of Portland is designed to provide its students with an interdisciplinary engagement in the areas of performance, theater design and technology, history, playwriting, and dramaturgy. Our comprehensive curriculum and laboratory learning will offer you opportunity for an entry level or a “Go to Market” start to your professional theater career. Our curriculum is not just limited to theory in the classroom. We strive to create safe and active learning environments in all course work and performances to help all students grow and thrive in the study and practice of theater making. 

Our Common Theater Core introduces all theater students with classes in performance, design, theater history and literature, theater technology and production, and directing to ensure that our majors and minors have a clear foundation in the practice of making live theater and active storytelling.


Actors in a production of House of Desires
Our Performance Emphasis explores many of the practices and performance skills in contemporary theater. The series includes Acting Studios I, II, III as well as Voice for Performance, Movement for Performance, and Audition Technique. Performance students are also encouraged to take private voice and music lessons as well as dance and other movement classes. All performance students are encouraged to audition every year and are guaranteed performance opportunities from the start. 
Our Design and Technology Emphasis not only introduces all students to all areas of design in Introduction to Theater Making, but also hones skills in Beginning and Advanced Costume, Scenic, Lighting, Makeup, and Sound courses. All design and technology students are guaranteed backstage and onstage production opportunities starting their first year, and possible design opportunities starting their second year. 

Our Integrated Theater Emphasis gathers students interested in Management, Directing, History and Dramaturgy. All students in this emphasis take courses in Theater Management, Light and Sound Design, and an Internship course that helps our students build work experiences through our many connections to professional theaters in the greater Portland area, placement is guaranteed. Management students can continue their coursework in Production Management, and through a series of classes created to give students production theory in the classroom and in production. The capstone experience for the management student in the integrated emphasis is typically managing a large production.

History is part of our core classes and the foundation to our broad-based inclusive exploration for theater history. Courses include History of Theater and Culture, History of Gender and Theater, Theater for Social Change, Race and Drama in the U.S and Dramaturgy I & II. We also offer courses in Playwriting I & II for the student interested in writing expression, exploration, and storytelling. The capstone experience in this area of the integrated emphasis can be either a research project, a dramaturgical assignment on one of our production, or the performance in some capacity of a written play.

All students take the Directing I: The Directors Tool Kit a part of our core. Students interested in directing can continue with Directing II: The Directors Imagination. Directing students get many opportunities to work directly with actors in their courses and a student in this area of the integrated emphasis have the opportunity to direct a one-act production as their capstone. 

The program produces 4 main stage productions a year in the 280-flexible-seat Mago Hunt Center Theater and 2 to 4 student produced and directed productions in the black box Blair Studio Theater. Our season starts with “New Works, New Voices” where we produce a staged workshop reading of either a commission of a new play to be developed with the playwright specifically for our campus or seek new work from professional playwrights. Our other productions include an alternating musical and classic theater work, and we also produce 2 new or inspiring plays to complete our season. 

Every student will finish their study with a capstone assignment in either performance, design, management, dramaturgy, directing or playwriting. This course and project ensure that student tap into all the skills they have learned in their course work and participate in an endeavor that is meaningful to their emphasis. 

The program also participates yearly in the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival. All theatrical productions are entered to be evaluated by peers within the region. Student actors, designers, directors, and production managers are selected to present their work in the regional KCACTF gatherings where leaders are chosen to participate at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The theater program has been fortunate to have leaders on both the regional and national level, highlighting the strength and training of our students. 

Program scholarships are available to new and transfer students through audition and interview. Scholarships are awarded only to declared theater majors and maintained through ongoing participation on theater program productions and yearly updated application. Please contact the Theater Program Director to set up an audition or interview. 

 The University of Portland has been an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) since 2000. NAST accreditation signifies a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between the work of individual institutions and the work of the entire community of institutions that prepare theatre professionals at the collegiate level. It sets standards and provides guidelines for excellence with the goal of creating optimum learning conditions for theatre students and to develop the strength and quality of theatre programs in higher education by assisting institutional members and their faculties to do their best work. 

Core Requirements

College Requirements

Major Requirements

Course Descriptions