Skip to content

Theatre Major Guide for 2015-2016

What is Theatre?

It is storytelling at its most magical, be it realistically or fantastically told. It is the expression of the human condition in its myriad forms throughout history; or it is the expression from a human perspective of a given set of circumstances. Theatrical representations are events involving a collaborative process between playwrights, actors, directors, scenic artists, dramaturgs, historians, and audiences. The theatrical event can be uniquely entertaining, evocative, provocative and/ or educational. But whatever its form or substance is, theatre is always a collabo­ration between the artists who create it – directors, designers, technicians, actors – and the public who sees it.

Career Opportunities in Theatre

The theatre artist can work professionally or avocationally regardless of which area of concentration she/he chooses: performance, direction, writing, design, management, marketing. Many companies across the United States have internship and apprentice programs for the beginning theatre artist. Theatre training also provides many of the fundamental skills for the artist who wants to work in film, radio, video and television.

High School Preparation

The best preparation for the beginning theatre artist is a broad base of knowledge and understanding in many areas including all the arts, literature, history, culture, sciences and communication. Add a dash of passion and you’re on your way!

How to Major in Theatre

The theatre major at UT is a Bachelor of Arts within the College of Arts and Sciences. This means that it is a general theatre degree, requiring courses in all aspects of theatre: history, literature, performance, directing, design and technology. The philosophy behind this curriculum is that since the theatre artist deals in creating stories about the human condition and experience, the strongest and most well-prepared theatre artist is one who has a broad exposure to various disciplines and perspectives of that human condition and experience.
The undergraduate major is declarable at any stage of the student’s tenure at UT. There are no progression requirements prior to declaration, but there is a prerequisite course without which the major cannot be fulfilled.

Requirements for Theatre

The theatre major consists of the following courses, with THEA 100, Introduction to Theatre, or THEA 107, Honors Introduction to Theatre, as a prerequisite:

Required classes: (16 credit hours)

THEA 220 – Acting I
THEA 300 – Play Analysis
THEA 411 – Theatre History I
THEA 412 – Theatre History II
THEA 430 – Principles of Play Directing
THEA 490 – Professional Practices

Select Two Courses: (6 credit hours)

THEA 242 – Fundamentals of Costume Design and Technology
THEA 252 – Fundamentals of Scene Design and Technology
THEA 262 – Fundamentals of Lighting Design and Technology

Select One Course: (3 credit hours)

THEA 330 – Stage Management
THEA 340 – Costume Design I
THEA 345 – Costume Construction
THEA 355 – Scenic Design I
THEA 362 – Lighting Design I
THEA 373 – Sound Design I
THEA 475 – Projection and Media Design

12 additional hours of theatre courses numbered 200 and above, three of which may be in cognate areas approved by the department.

Honors Concentration

Candidates for the honors concentration in theatre must fulfill all of the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree as well as these requirements:

  • Complete 12 credits of theatre honors or honors by contract, including 3-6 credits of THEA 497
  • Maintain a 3.25 overall GPA
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.5 in courses applied to the theatre major

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

UT’s Department of Theatre is unique in that it co-exists with The Clarence Brown Theatre Company, a professional regional theatre.  Opportunities exist for students to work side-by-side with award-winning professional directors, designers, and actors in the creation of plays and musicals in all three performance venues on the UT campus.  Masters classes with these nationally recognized artists are common, as are opportunities for advanced students to audition for directors and casting agents from many summer festivals and regional theatres.

Highlights of Theatre

The theatre boasts three viable venues: a traditional proscenium theatre, the Clarence Brown Theatre, with state-of-the-art professional scene and costume shops; a flexible arena theatre; and a black box theatre. The season is comprised of professional and university productions.
The Clarence Brown Theatre Company productions are professional LORT “D” (League Of Regional Theatres, Cate­gory “D”) productions with a strong subscription base and community support. Productions created for the University Company have the same professional standards as the CBTC productions, but casts are made up of actors from the student body and local non-union talent.
The Department of Theatre also gives strong support to All Campus Theatre, a campus-wide, student-based organization that produces between three and four student productions each year, around the campus.

Ready for the World logo

Ready for the World

“Ready for the World” is part of a long-range plan to transform the UTK campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century.  Thus students are encouraged to actively participate in the diverse cultural programs offered on campus.  Some of these events include the guest lecture series, cultural nights at the International House, and international film screenings.  Visit the Center for International Education website  or the Ready for the World website for more information on upcoming cultural programs and activities. Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad.  The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers study abroad programs in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. Program lengths vary from mini-term trips to the entire academic year, and students may choose to fulfill general education requirements, study a foreign language, or take courses within their majors. In addition, UTK offers students opportunities for international internships.

Students are highly encouraged to begin planning early in their academic career and to consult with an academic advisor about the best time to study abroad as well as what courses to take abroad. For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.

Academic Plan and Milestones

Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. For all first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, please visit the undergraduate catalog.

For More Information

Casey Sams, Assistant Professor
Director, Undergraduate Studies
206 McClung Tower
Knoxville, Tennessee  37996
Phone: (865) 974-0806


The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.

Report an accessibility barrier