Theatre & Theatre Design

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

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 

Job and Internship Search Resources

  • American Association of Community Theatres - organization for community theatre professionals; includes job postings, theatre career profiles, and resources for making plays and running theatres 

  • United States Institute for Theater Technology - online job board specifically for those interested in theater design  

  • 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 

  • 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