Theatre Arts

Theatre Arts


Western’s Theatre Arts program is the premiere undergrad program in the Pacific Northwest. The professors in the department focus all of their attention on educating and training the undergraduate theatre artists. Theatre studies include a core of practical theatre courses, with a focus on one or more concentrations within specific areas of interest. The central goal of theatre study is to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of theatre, including knowledge of its history; the means by which theatre is realized; and the role of theatre in forming the past, present, and future of society. 

The major is grounded in fundamentals and a student chooses one or more areas of specialization: Acting, Dramatic Writing, Educational Theatre, Technical Theatre, Theatre Management, Stage Management, Costume Design, Lighting Design and Scenic Design. Theatre students reinforce their major studies through hands-on application of their skills. With an abundance of student programs and seasonal production opportunities, theatre students rarely find themselves without a project to do.

The Theatre and Dance Department is part of the College of Fine and Performing Arts.

Majors are also eligible for the Arts Enterprise and Cultural Innovation minor (“AECI”), a unique program of WWU focused on launching successful creative careers in the arts. Scholarships are available to students pursuing the AECI minor.

“Western offers a truly comprehensive and varied education in theatre arts. Our students have opportunities to actually practice their craft and talent through productions and projects, making our program the most accessible and prolific in the Pacific Northwest.”

-Deb Currier, Faculty

Beyond the Classroom

The Department of Theatre Arts values student internships because they are the best bridge between education and a career in theatre arts. Students participate in internships all over the state and beyond:

  • Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
  • Seattle Scenic Studios
  • Arts West
  • Seattle Repertory Theatre
  • Mount Baker Theatre
  • Oregon Shakespeare Company
  • Seattle Children's Theatre

Each year the Theatre Arts Department supports student travel to professional Performing Arts conferences such as:

  • United States Technical Theatre Conference (USITT)
  • The South Eastern Theatre Conference (SETC)
  • The American College Theatre Festival (ACTF)
  • The Humana Festival

These conferences allow students to attend workshops, audition for professional work, conduct portfolio reviews, interview for internships and enjoy watching various forms of theatre and dance. The Department values student travel to conferences as an important educational experience.

Throughout the year a number of guest artists visit Western, including:

  • Seattle Children’s Theatre
  • Seattle Repertory
  • Chris Walker (Broadway)
  • Bill Bowers (Actor, Mime, and Educator)
  • Hand To Mouth Company
  • Amber Crowe (Professional Makeup Artist)
  • Annette Devick (Casting Consultant for Cirque du Soleil)
  • Idris Goodwin (Break Beat Poet and Playwright)
  • Brian Quijada (Actor, Playwright, and Musical Artist)

The Department also contracts professionals to work on season productions, allowing theatre students to work alongside the best in the fields of lighting, scenic design, and costume design.

“We are given hands-on experience and explorations of what we want to pursue. Although what I love most about this program at Western is that I learn so much about myself and who I want to become.”

-Dale Sharp, Student

Careers and Graduate Studies

In addition to preparing majors for careers in the academic or professional theatre, the lessons acquired through this course of study are readily transferable to careers in teaching, law, business, and other areas where interpersonal and self-reliant skills are required.

Employers of Recent Western Graduates:

  • Actors of Theatre of Louisville (Louisville, KY): Apprentice Program
  • Artists Striving to End Poverty: Workshop Leader
  • Barter Theatre (Abingdon, VA): Props Intern
  • Boys and Girls Club (Portland, OR): Theatre Program
  • Centerstage Theater (Federal Way, WA): Stage Manager
  • Disney: Cast Costumer
  • Mount Baker Theatre (Bellingham, WA): Hair and Makeup Designer
  • Upfront Theatre (Bellingham, WA): Sales and Marketing Director
  • YMCA (Bellingham, WA): Theatre Programs
  • 5th Avenue Theatre (Seattle, WA): Production Assistant and Box Office
  • Broadway Touring Company of The Book of Mormon: Conner Peirson as Elder Cunningham
  • Seattle Children’s Theatre: Teaching Artists
  • Village Theatre and Kidstage: Production Manager, Stage Manager, Director, etc.

Sample Jobs

  • Actor/Actress
  • Graphic Designer
  • House Management
  • Master Electrician
  • Costume Designer
  • Advertising/Marketing Manager
  • Talent Scout
  • Lighting Designer
  • Stage Manager
  • Events Coordinator
  • Props Designer
  • Technical Director
  • Set Designer
  • Booking Agent
  • Marketing Communications Specialist

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.