Program Director's Welcome | University of Portland

Program Director's Welcome

Welcome to the Theater Department!

Performing artists are amazing people. At the University of Portland, we teach performing artists who are highly educated, highly creative, highly passionate, and highly driven human beings. We teach performing artists who are thrilled to work as a team, create to their greatest ability and capacity, take criticism boldly and graciously, and grow with confidence and grace every day. We teach performing artists to be excellent creators, communicators, and thinkers. We teach artists.

The theater program is a strong liberal arts training program with an emphasis in comprehensive learning. We are committed to our small class sizes and individual training for each student. A student who enrolls as a theater major has the opportunity to focus in one or more of three emphases: Performance, Design/Technical, or Integrated Theater. The Integrated Theater emphasis focuses training for the stage and production management students, directing students or dramaturgy students.

We begin training with a general core curriculum that is the basis for our comprehensive learning. The courses Introduction to the Art of Theater and Acting I: Performance Skills immediately immerse students to building common critical language, cohort collaboration and tools to build their path of learning. Theater History and Production Practicums round out the core and build critical thinkers and creators. From there, emphases combine a generalist's degree with elements of conservatory training. They also allow the broadening of the liberal arts experience without the narrow focus of the conservatory approach. We offer our students the best of both ideas. The strength of our approach and program is confirmed by our membership in National Association of Schools of Theater (NAST). We were the first theater program to achieve national accreditation in Oregon in 2000, and renewed in 2021, which means we meet the high level of standards in our production season, curriculum, and degree program. Our program embraces DEIJA practices and procedures, and we have student representation in both our staff and season selection meetings to ensure equality of voices and representation.

The theater program produces four mainstage productions a year in the Mago Hunt Theater, a 300-seat thrust/proscenium combination theater space. It boasts a fully operational computer lighting and sound system and partial stage elevator. The Mago Hunt Theater also includes a student-employed costume and scene shop where our majors and minors learn the production skills and crafts necessary to create theatrical productions. We also work closely with our music colleagues and encourage our students to take private lessons in voice, piano, and other instruments. The faculty deeply believes that the more opportunities our students have on and off stage, the more qualified they become for a lifelong association with theater on all levels.

Our Blair Studio Theater further expands the style and flexibility of producing and creating theatre. It is a 99-seat flexible black box performance space that hosts student productions and undergraduate senior capstone projects. This space is also used for readings and performances for new and experimental works produced by our students. 

We are committed to teaching the best students, the most dynamic and creative theater artists and diverse thinking human beings. I hope you can join us for an exciting, emergent, and inspired four years. We would love the opportunity to teach you. Please contact any of our faculty if you want to know how to become a part of this exceptional program.

Gregory Pulver, Director of Theater