Theatre/Theatre Design

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Theatre: The School of the Arts offers a B.A., B.G.S., and a minor, as well as a M.F.A., a M.A., and a Ph.D. in Theatre. Students majoring in Theatre are able to take courses in theatre performance and production, preparing them for success either on the stage or behind the scenes. Outside of the classroom, Theatre students are able to gain hands-on experience while working as performers and/or crew on productions for the University Theatre.
Theatre Design: The School of the Arts offers a B.F.A. in Theatre Design. Students majoring in Theatre Design must choose a concentration area in either scene design, costume design, or lighting design and production. Outside of the classroom, Theatre students are able to gain hands-on experience while working on the design and production of plays for the University Theatre.

Theatre Department Website

Theatre & Voice: In addition to the Theatre and Theatre Design programs in the School of the Arts, the School of Music also offers a B.F.A., as well as a M.M. and a D.M.A. in Theatre & Voice. Students must audition to be admitted to the School of Music. A major in Theatre & Voice will prepare students for careers in opera or musical theatre.

Voice & Opera Program Website

Sample of Related Skills

  • Demonstrate proficiency in one or more area-specific skills:  acting, directing, choreography, design, technical theatre, management, playwriting, or dramaturgy
  • Comprehend the theatrical production process, theatre history and the historical development of theatrical design, dramatic text analysis, craft skills relevant to their area of concentration, and the expression of artistic intent and/or design skills through research
  • Practice skills compatible with the working principles and standards of the professional theatre and an understanding of the expectations of the professional community
  • Apply learned acting techniques to performance and/or creative works of their own
  • Interpret dramatic texts and critique theatrical performance using appropriate critical language and analytical frameworks
  • Read technical drawings, and apply a basic understanding of scenery, scenic materials, construction procedures, and standard theatrical lighting practices to theatre production
  • Identify the basic elements of stage direction; analyze a play script from the point of view of the director; articulate and defend a production concept; develop actor-coaching skills; and identify elements of direction that communicate story, theme, and concept  

Popular Career Paths

Performance: Includes performance roles in film/television productions or within other performing arts venues, such as theatre, dance, comedy, etc.

Production, Direction, & Design: Encompasses "behind-the-scenes" roles that create, produce, direct, and design film/television productions.

Administration & Business: Includes all business and administrative roles within a performing arts venue, including management, marketing/PR, distribution, etc.; also includes talent management and representation for individual performers.

Education & Training: Involves teaching acting or film production in a class setting or giving individual performance coaching; may require additional education and credentials if teaching in K-12 or post-secondary schools.

Journalism & Media: Includes providing analysis and critique of film/television works for print or broadcast media.

Jobs to Consider


Attorney: Entertainment Law

Box Office Manager

Broadcast Technician

Casting Director

Costume Designer


Drama Coach or Teacher

Drama Therapist

Educational Programs Director

General/Company Manager

Lighting Designer

Makeup or Hairstylist



Prop Master


Scenic Artist

Set/Scene Designer

Sound Designer

Special Effects Specialist

Stage Manager

Talent Agent

Technical Director

Theatrical Critic

Voice-Over Artist


Places to Seek Employment

Advertising Agencies: Television & Radio Commercials

Broadway & Off-Broadway Theatres

Cabarets & Nightclubs

Children's Theatres

Community Theatres

Cruise Lines & Resorts

Dinner Theatres

Freelance: Acting, Public Speaking, Coaching, Writing

Magazines, Newspapers, & Other Print Media

Opera Companies

Performing Arts Centers & Councils

Public & Private Schools (K-12) and Colleges & Universities

Regional Theatres

Repertory Theatres

Stock Theatres

Television, Radio, & Film Studios

Theme & Amusement Parks

Touring Acting Troupes

View specific employers by state.

Employment Strategies

  1. Identify specific areas of interest within theatre and seek out courses and experiences to help you explore these interests further.
  2. Develop your theatrical skill set by working directly with theatrical productions as either a performer or crew member.
  3. Attend local/regional theatrical productions to further your knowledge and appreciation for the performing arts.
  4. Gain direct experience within the areas that interest you most through research projects, independent study, internships, part-time jobs, student organization involvement, or volunteering.
  5. Register for and subscribe to the Internship Newsletter to receive automated weekly emails with specific internship information.
  6. Consider getting involved with a student organization at KU related to theatre, such as Lied Center Student Association or Stitch Tactics.
  7. Develop your resume and tailor it to your area(s) of interest: sample resume (pdf).
  8. Join professional associations related to theatre and, if possible, attend local and/or regional theatre conferences and workshops to make connections with professionals in your field.
  9. Earn a minor or take additional coursework outside your major when relevant to your career goals.
  10. Maintain a strong GPA if you are considering pursuing graduate or professional school.
  11. Become familiar with the required professional qualifications (i.e., Advanced degrees, licensure and/or certifications) for occupations you are considering.

Job and Internship Search Resources

  • Actors' Equity Association - organization that provides representation for professional actors and stage managers; includes audition and stage manager position postings
  • American Association of Community Theatres - organization for community theatre professionals; includes job postings, theatre career profiles, and resources for making plays and running theatres
  • Art Search - online job board that includes listings for theater and performing arts
  • United States Institute for Theater Technology - online job board specifically for those interested in theater design
  • American Theatre Wing - list of several theatre internships in New York 
  • Backstage Jobs - job and internship site for "behind the scenes" positions in the live entertainment industry 
  • Educational Theatre Association - organization that promotes theatre education; includes job postings, career profiles, and other professional resources
  • Greater Kansas City Community Foundation - search for KC-area performing arts and theatre information
  • - job and internship site that includes non-performance positions within the performing arts and theatre
  • ArtsKC Regional Arts Council - organization that brings together people, resources and ideas; includes volunteer and internships listings under the "About" tab
  • Kansas City Repertory Theatre - KC theatre that offers local jobs and internships in theatre
  • Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts - KC performing arts center; offers professional and volunteer positions
  • KU Lied Center - KU's on-campus performing arts venue; Lied Center often has volunteer, technical crew, and other student positions available
  • KU University Theatre - produces theatrical productions for KU; website includes performance and crew position information
  • Lawrence Arts Center - local arts center that offers adult and children's theatre performance opportunities as well as other volunteer positions
  • Lawrence Community Theatre - local theatre that offers cast and crew positions for productions
  • Playbill - includes wide variety of national job listings for both on and off-stage positions in theatre
  • Showbiz Jobs - online job board for positions within the entertainment industry
  • Starlight Theatre - Kansas City live entertainment venue that offers Broadway shows, concerts, and educational programming; website includes employment and internship information

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