UCR staged its first performance in 1954 and the Department of Theatre is still committed to the idea that production is central to a theatre education. A full range of classes in literature, history, theory, acting, directing, design, technology, and writing inform and support a vigorous production program that engages students in every aspect of the theatre.
Majoring in the Department leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre. Students begin their studies by examining all the elements of drama, production, and performance and then gradually focusing attention on a particular area of interest. For students whose goal it is to write for theatre, film, or television, the Department offers a Writing Track, which facilitates a concentration on playwriting and screenwriting while participating in and learning from the production program.
Each year, the Department of Theatre produces a full season of new and classic shows directed and designed by faculty and guest artists. Playworks, a regular part of the season, showcases the work of graduate and undergraduate writers in a weeklong series of new plays. In addition to participating in the season as actors, designers, directors, writers, technicians, and stage managers, students are also encouraged to write, direct, design, and produce their own shows. There are four theatres on-campus available for rehearsals and performances.
Financial support is available to Theatre majors through a number and variety of scholarships, grants, and stipends. Incoming freshmen are eligible for the Chancellor’s Performance Award, which is awarded based on auditions, portfolio reviews, or writing samples.
The Department also offers a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts. This unique two-year program, offered in conjunction with the Department of Creative Writing, requires students to write in two different genres selected from fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, screenwriting, and playwriting. Fellowships, teaching assistantships, and fee support are available.