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Degree: BA

Campus: Columbus, Lima

College: Arts and Sciences

The Department of Theatre at Ohio State is committed to a liberal arts approach to theatre education. Students who earn a Bachelor of Arts in theatre become self-reliant theatre makers with a rich understanding of the role of performance in public culture.

Upon admission to the university, students can declare a major in theatre. Auditions are not required. Interested students should contact the academic program coordinator and an arts advising counselor.

When students declare a major in theatre, they are assigned theatre faculty advisors who help students with career planning, internship selection, research project formation and mentorship.

Theatre students pursue a broad-based liberal arts degree with the potential to focus on aspects of theatre and performance studies that they are most passionate about.

The theatre program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre and prepares students for careers in the field and its many cognates, as well as for graduate study. 

This program is designed for students who want to create their own work, pursue further study, teach, work in the performing arts industry or benefit from a liberal arts education.

Theatre students can participate in study abroad programs in London Theatre, Prague Theatre and Cuban performance. Students can also attend an annual domestic study program at the Humana Festival for New American Plays at the Actors Theatre of Louisville (KY).

Theatre students pursue internships regionally and nationally. In the past five years, students have interned at the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, La Jolla Playhouse and more. Faculty advisors mentor students in the pursuit and execution of these internships.

Students who participate in the Arts Scholars program live in the same residence hall and have experiences that complement their education, including lectures and workshops, group excursions to museums and professional performances, trips outside Columbus, community involvement, and a juried student art exhibition and performance showcase.

Learn more about the Honor and Scholars Programs at

Theatre students often choose to pursue research distinction and distinction in the arts as part of their study. Recent projects have included international research on Chokhi Dhani, the creation and performance of identity-driven solo pieces, and the self-production of classic musicals. Students work with faculty mentors to pursue their scholarly and creative research interests.

Students in the theatre program may want to live in the Visual and Performing Arts Learning Community and may also join Alpha Psi Omega, a robust undergraduate advocacy and creative group.

Many people assume that the theatre profession is limited to acting on stage or screen, but a degree in theatre can lead to a variety of careers. Theatre students have gone on to direct, design and write for the theatre. They are also stage managers, theatre technicians, dramaturgs, box office managers, teaching artists, marketing managers, fundraisers and arts administrators. Some of them develop and tour their own work. They work in New York, in LA and in regional theatres across the nation. Theatre graduates also work in other fields where people with expertise in theatre are sought: theme parks, museums, digital media companies and educational institutions.

The basic skills of theatre making are crucial to other career paths, too. Theatre students learn to meet deadlines, are dexterous in interpersonal communication, know how to collaborate and work as a team, think on their feet, possess strong life skills, effectively speak in public, write with clarity, swing a hammer, and hem a pair of pants.

Finally, a liberal arts degree in any field offers many advantages, only one of which is to offer career training. A more important benefit is the development of skills in critical thinking and informed compassion. A BA degree in theatre offers a rich exposure to the diversity of the human experience and is uniquely suited for the education of thinking, feeling citizens.

Students majoring in theatre will achieve the following learning outcomes:

  • To function as interpretive artists (actors, directors, dramaturgs, designers and technicians) and as generative artists (playwrights, devisers and solo performers) through rigorous course work and laboratory experience in performance, playwriting and technical theatre
  • To demonstrate the significance of vigorous, thoughtful scholarship and criticism that places performance in its historical and cultural contexts and pushes students to ask hard questions of the work they witness, study and create
  • To integrate cutting-edge film, video and media work into the study and production of live performance
  • To navigate professional lives in the field and its many cognates

Fundamentally, the theatre program nurtures creativity while also fostering critical inquiry, which is essential to the creation of innovative live performance.

Academic Program Coordinator
Department of Theatre
1089 Drake Union
1849 Cannon Drive
Columbus, OH 43210

Ohio State’s theatre facilities include two theatres, three acting studios, a design studio, a new works lab, and scenery, lighting and costume laboratories. Thurber Theatre, a proscenium-style theatre, seats 624 people. Bowen Theatre is an intimate thrust-style space, which seats 250 people. These two theatres support a six-production season and numerous rental activities. The New Works Lab, which seats 50, hosts the Lab Series, a student-run, department-nurtured performance research laboratory that features 15 to 20 student-created performances per academic year.