Major: Theater Arts

What colleges offer a Major in Theater Arts?

If you’ve ever acted in a play, you know how much work it takes to put a production together. A theater major is your ticket to every corner of the theater world.

Whether you specialize in acting or design, you’ll learn in class, backstage, and onstage. You’ll read, discuss, and write about all kinds of theatrical works. You’ll also get your hands dirty applying what you learn in class as you build sets, design costumes, direct, or act in department productions.

Theater majors study plays and other dramatic works and their production. Classes cover such topics as theater history, playwriting, acting, and directing, as well as lighting, scenery, and costume design.

“The more experience you get, the more you learn about yourself, and the more you learn about yourself, the more you learn about acting.”Titian, sophomore, performance, San Francisco State University

Are You Ready To...?

  • Write and direct your own play
  • Build and strike (take down) sets
  • Analyze scripts to really get to know the character you’re playing
  • Spend long evenings in rehearsal

It Helps To Be...

Creative, organized, and able to manage your time well. You may be working on a paper about Shakespearean comedy while rehearsing your own performance art piece.

College Checklist

  • Is the department accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre?
  • Will you be able to specialize in your area of interest?
  • What professional work have the professors done? Where did they study?
  • Do current students like the program? Try to spend time with one, on the phone or in person.
  • Do the shows look good? Attend a production or ask to see photos.
  • Are the department’s scene shops, costume shops, and stages equipped with the latest?
  • Will the department help you find an internship?

Did You Know?

At any given time, more than 85 percent of actors in the professional actors' union are unemployed.

Course Spotlight

In classes on theater design, you’ll learn how sets, costumes, lights, and sound all work together to create a mood that fits the play. You’ll practice coming up with creative ideas and sketching them out so that others can share your vision.

You’ll also learn about the importance of research. What were people wearing in San Francisco during the 1970s? What would Macbeth’s castle have looked like? It’s through research that you’ll discover the little details that bring the world of the play to life.