Department Summary

Department Summary

The mission of the Department of Theatre Arts is to teach and promote the intellectual foundations and creative processes of the theatre; to train aspiring theatre artists in a range of performance and production disciplines; and to provide a comprehensive educational experience in a deeply nurturing, student-centered environment.

Through our major and minor programs, production seasons, excursion programs, and extra-curricular organizations, we offer students the opportunity to pursue their passion, to take ownership of their education, and to learn, risk, and thrive in a dynamic, intimate creative home. The Department of Theatre Arts fosters academic achievement, collaborative intensity, creative authenticity, and personal integrity. We believe in the dignity of the individual and the practice of inclusiveness.

Why Study Theatre at Bradley?

If you seek a liberal arts theatre program, you believe that the study of theatre offers you a distinct way of learning and knowing, an opportunity to develop and explore a uniquely creative worldview encompassing a rich legacy of human endeavor and achievement. You believe in the vital importance of artistic expression, and you also understand that the foundational skills you will acquire through the study and practice of theatre art – deep exploration, analytical thinking, imaginative problem-solving, creative communication, and committed collaboration – apply to a diverse range of career possibilities both in and beyond the arts

As a theatre student at Bradley, you will participate in every aspect of theatre making beginning with your first semester-- through classes, production assignment on our fall musical, and a meaningful role on or offstage in a new student event like New Faces, Fall Forward or the Freshman Production. If you aspire to a professional career in theatre performance or production, our small, intensive program offers you a personal trajectory of academic rigor, skill-building and real practice at advanced levels of your area of concentration, and the preparation you need to be successful after college. Our distinguished alumni include Eric Peterson, Broadway’s Shrek and TV’s Kirstie; Neil Flynn of Scrubs and The Middle; and Oscar-winning makeup artist, Tami Lane, of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Recent BU Theatre grads have gone on to attend graduate theatre programs at Penn State University, Florida State University, Long Island University, Illinois State University and elsewhere. Others are successfully pursuing performance and production careers in the entertainment centers of Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Still others are educators, filmmakers, engineers, executives, authors, and attorneys.

We invite you to discover a diverse, intimate community of gifted fellow students and devoted mentors, all your collaborators as you passionately embrace your education and your future.

Bradley Theatre Arts: Enhanced Opportunities to Learn

Founded on the best traditions of a comprehensive education, and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre, we offer both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Sciences degrees in Theatre Arts, with additional concentrations in Performance and Production. In today’s changing world, the best way to prepare you for the real world of performance, production, and new media, is with a diverse educational experience that stresses not only traditional theatre skills but also introduces you to new opportunities through coursework and collaboration with our peer departments in the Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts: Television Arts, Interactive Media, Communications, Art, and Music.

Bradley Theatre Arts: Experiential Learning

At the heart of our program are our diverse theatre productions, providing you the opportunity to build your talents and skills through a rigorous trajectory of practical experience. At Bradley University Theatre, you will study, practice, and produce, working with faculty and fellow student theatre makers on plays from the full range of theatre genres and styles: from innovative adaptations of Greek classics like Eurydice and Big Love; to challenging musicals like Spring Awakening and Sideshow; timeless works from Shakespeare, Moliere, and Chekhov; 20th century classics like A Raisin in the Sun and The Glass Menagerie; Prize winning contemporary scripts like Clybourne Park, The Mountaintop and Suburbia; and new, devised works with exciting guest artists like Sean Graney of Chicago’s celebrated company, The Hypocrites.

Bradley Theatre Arts: Excursion Courses, Study Abroad, and Hollywood Semester

At Bradley you can enjoy multiple opportunities to broaden your scope by taking one of our exciting excursion courses or completing a semester abroad. Practicum students travel each semester to see the latest productions in Chicago and other nearby theatre centers. January-term classes study theatre history in London, with performance students visiting Stratford-upon-Avon and performing on the stage of the Globe Theatre. J-term production students have jetted to Las Vegas to work backstage beside the remarkable technical artists of Cirque du Soleil. And, BU Theatre students have spent recent semesters abroad in England, Spain, and Italy.

Every semester Bradley’s own unique Hollywood Semester program brings BU students to Los Angeles for a semester of resident study and internship with leaders in the film, television and music industries. There, they learn the latest trends and techniques in production; make valuable professional connections; and live in one of the most exciting entertainment hubs in the world.

Bradley Theatre Arts: Student Organizations

With four dynamic, student-run organizations operating within our theatre program, you have ample opportunity to collaborate with other student artists, challenge yourself outside the classroom, celebrate your art, and make life-long friends. Whether it’s improv and sketch comedy with our acclaimed troupe, Barbeque Kitten; programming robotic lighting with USITT; acting, directing, or designing with our student producing company, the Ministry of Experimental Theatre; or volunteering for Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honor Society, it’s easy both to join in and to pursue your individual passion at Bradley Theatre.

Bradley Theatre Arts: The Iben Lectureship – Engage with Experts

When a recent cast was required to learn six different forms of stage combat and safely rappel 25 feet from a catwalk to the stage, Los Angeles stuntman and stage combatant Hunter Smith spent 4 weeks in residence to teach them. When we decided to devise an original contemporary version of the fabled “Living Newspaper” from the 1930s, we brought Hypocrites artistic director Sean Graney to direct it. For the past two decades, the Gretchen and Richard Iben Lectureship, an endowed fund available only to BU Theatre, has provided our students the opportunity and the privilege to meet and work with some of the most influential figures in contemporary theatre. Among the luminaries who have brought their expertise to our department are Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman of Looking Glass Theatre; Ed Stern, longtime Producing Artistic Director of Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; members of the elite training programs, Shakespeare and Company and the Dell’Arte Players; eminent international director/theorist Augusto Boal, Broadway producer Ben Mordecai, award winning choreographer Chuck Davis of the African-American Dance Ensemble, and more.

Bradley Theatre Arts: Talent Scholarships

BU Theatre offers competitive talent scholarships, to new, incoming students with exceptional abilities in performance and production and the potential for leadership in the department. Renewable for a maximum total of up to $16,000 over four years, they are awarded on the basis of an audition or portfolio interview, and letters of recommendation. Talent scholarships are separate from academic scholarships, and renewal is contingent upon maintaining appropriate scholastic progress.

Bradley Theatre Arts: In Good Company!

We are proud of the accomplishments of our students, alumni, and faculty. We are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre and active in many professional organizations including the International University Theatre Association, the Association of Theatre in Higher Education, and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

To find out more about Bradley University Theatre please explore the rest of our web site or email us.