Theatre : About The Program

About Our Degrees

Acceptance Criteria

Minimum GPA of 2.0 overall.
Minimum grade of C+ in all required courses.
Minimum GPA of 2.5 in prerequisite courses.

Degree Requirements

Please see Degrees and Policies.

About Our Facilities

The Center for the Arts (CFA) benefits UB students who use its outstanding public performance and exhibition facilities. The CFA houses the Departments of Art, Media Study, and Theatre & Dance, showcasing both academic and public presentations of the arts in their many intriguing and interdisciplinary forms. The Department of Music is housed in adjacent Slee and Baird Halls, allowing music students to discover a genuine intermingling of the arts.

Theatre students have a variety of theatres and studios in which to work and learn. The range of theatre spaces allows students great versatility in their professional preparation. Supporting this effort are excellent shop facilities for costumes, scenery, properties, paint, and makeup.

The 400-seat Drama Theatre is intimate, with inviting decor and technical advantages that make it ideally suited to theatre and dance department productions. The orchestra pit can accommodate approximately forty musicians.

The 1,800-seat Main Stage Theatre houses the majority of the professional touring companies that perform at the Center for the Arts. Computer-controlled panels on the walls of the auditorium are designed to adjust the acoustics at the touch of a button.

The twin black box theatres allow multiple theatrical configurations. A 200-seat media study screening room can be used for departmental programming, as well as for the public presentation of films, speakers, panel discussions, poetry readings, and press conferences. Dance studios are spacious with Marley covered maple wood floors engineered for maximum resiliency, twelve-foot mirrors, upper-level observation spaces, and specially designed sound systems.

Department Majors and Minors also use the Katherine Cornell Theatre (KCT), a flexible performance space housed in the Ellicott Complex on UB's North Campus. This space functions as a rehearsal space, performance space, and the Graduate Student Studio. Theatre majors are eligible to apply to use the space for original student-created shows with generous financial support from THD alumni.

UB theatre and dance students also work regularly at local and regional professional theatres, including the Alleyway Theatre, Artpark, Buffalo United Artists, Irish Classical Theatre Co., MusicalFare, Neglia Ballet Artist, Road Less Traveled Theatre, Shakespeare in Delaware Park, Studio Arena Theatre, Theatre of Youth, Torn Space Theater, and Western New York-affiliated Dance Masters of America dance establishments.

About Our Courses

Suggested Introductory Courses

The typical class size for:
  • Freshman/introductory courses is: 20-50
  • Sophomore/intermediate courses is: 16-35
  • Upper level/advanced courses is: 10-20

For course descriptions, please see Courses.

About Our Faculty

Our theatre faculty have extensive professional experience that includes directing, designing, dramaturgy, and acting on Broadway and Off-Braodway productions, Hollywood films, and in major North America theaters such as the Guthrie Theatre, Steppenwolf, Stratford Theatre Festival, the Shaw Festival Theatre, and New York Public Theatre, as well as regional theatres including Irish Classical Theatre, Shakespeare in Delaware Park, Kavinoky, Alleyway, ArtPark, and MusicalFair, among others. Many are active members in the professional unions and continue their professional theatrical activities in Buffalo and elsewhere. Faculty specialties include acting, design, directing, dramaturgy, original music theatre, digital performance, and theatre technology. Literature and history courses are taught by faculty who publish in leading academic journals and whose books have been published by such presses as Yale University Press, Michigan University Press, Routledge, and presented in major international venues.

The faculty have received their training and previously taught in leading theatre schools such as Carnegie-Mellon, Juilliard, New York University, North Carolina School of the Arts, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, UCLA, Yale, and major institutions in Europe.

See a list of our Undergraduate Faculty.

Please visit our department website for additional information about our faculty.

Practical Experience and Special Academic Opportunities

Notable Program Features

The Department of Theatre and Dance offers BA and BFA degree programs in which students may study a broad range of production, design, technology, performance, historical, and literary aspects of theatre, dance, and music theatre. A central curriculum of courses is shared by all theatre, dance, and music theatre majors from which students go on to pursue separate majors. (See full list of Degree Programs in Theatre & Dance.)

In theatre, students may take a full sequence of courses in theatre technology and design, acting, directing, dramaturgy, and theatre history and literature. In dance, students pursue course sequences in jazz, ballet, contemporary dance, tap, choreography, teaching methods, history, and research.

Auditions/portfolios review are required for entrance into the BA Dance and all BFA programs.

Performance and production are essential parts of the curriculum, providing hands-on learning experiences for students in every area. There are four performance spaces in the Center for the Arts: the Drama Theatre with 400 seats and the 1,800-seat Main Stage, and two multipurpose black box spaces. The Katharine Cornell Theatre provides performance opportunities for student-directed productions with generous funding from THD alumni. The department's Zodiaque Dance Company and Zodiaque Studio Dance Ensemble Company perform at the university and present in the community; membership is by audition held at the beginning of the fall semester. The Emerging Choreographers Showcase, featuring the work of student choreographers by invitation of the dance faculty, performs annually. These auditions are open to all University at Buffalo students, regardless of major.

The Theatre and Music Theatre programs both offer one major proscenium production and one black box production each year. Recent works include: Blood Wedding, Urinetown, The Rocky Horror Show, Merrily We Roll Along, A Winter's Tale, The Trial, The Good Women of Szechuan, Steel Pier, Spinning into Butter. These performance opportunities are augmented by classroom projects that culminate in a performance at the end of each semester, as well as "Poor Theatre," directed by the faculty.

The Department Season includes 8 shows per year in the Black Box and Drama Theatre stagtes: 2 musicals, 2 theatrical productions, and 4 dance concerts by the Zodiaque Company, Zodiaque Studio Dance Ensemble, and Emerging Choreographers Showcase. Recent works include: How Did We...?, an orginal performance by director and designer, Dough Fitch and UB Theatre and Music students; Spring Awakening; Blood Wedding, Urinetown; The Rocky Horror Show; Merrily We Roll Along; A Winter's Tale. The Department regularly integrates new work into its season, including an original adaptation of Rudyards Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King. In addition to theses performance opportunities in the Department Season, students can also propose student-directed projects and participate in classroom projects such as the One-Act Play Festival, 24 Hour Theatre, and the other student-led initiatives. Past projects have included Almost Maine, The Laramie Project, From the Wings: An Evening of Original Student Work, and devised theatre projects.

As a liberal arts degree, the BA in Theatre offers the most flexibility in course requirements. Students may complete the requirements for the BA Theatre Major in one or more of the following areas: acting, design & technology, directing, dramaturgy, history and dramatic literature. Faculty often support independent studies for students to explore areas not already offered in the curriculum. Such courses have included independent playwriting projects, media performance, women in theatre, among others.

Special Majors, Double Majors, and Joint Majors

Students can design their major to fit their specific needs. Many of the courses in Theatre fulfill the General Education requirements and can be combined easily with other degree programs such as.


  • SUNY Chancellor's Awards for Student Excellence
  • Chancellor's Awards for Student Excellence honors State Universtiy of New York students who have best demonstrated and been recognized for their integration of academic excellence with other aspects of their lives, which may include leadership, campus involvment, athletics, career achievement, community service or creative and performing arts. - See more at:

  • College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Senior Award

  • Annually, the Dean honors the best senior graduating from each department in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) with the "Dean's Outstanding Senior Award", consisting of a medal and certificate presented at the University Commencement ceremony. Each department in the College, along with the Interdisciplinary Degree Program and the Special Major Program, is asked to select one graduating senior. The selection criteria are:
    •Demonstrated academic excellence exemplified by an exceptional grade point average
    •Election to honor societies
    •Participation in research
    •Other academic achievements selected by the department

  • Perry Watkins Scholarship for African Americans

  • The Perry Watkins Scholarship is available to African American freshman students majoring in design/technology. Auditions, portfolios, and a personal interview are required for all scholarships.

    Extracurricular Activities

    The Guild is a theatre-oriented group managed entirely by students. It hosts opening night receptions, organizes group attendance at local theatre and performance events, and supports original students work. The student representatives from this group also function as the liaison among department faculty, staff, and students.

    Dancers Workshop, a student-run organization, also generates a production annually. Workshop advisors are members of the faculty. The Guild, a student theatre and dance organization, develops and supports student-directed workshop productions.

    From the Wings is a student organization that offers non-credit performance opportunities for music theatre majors and others in the department with an interest in musical theatre performance. Music Theatre faculty serve as advisors and mentors for this group.

    Under faculty guidance, students participate in a number of professional development opportunities including the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival and the United States Institute for Theatre Technology Conference. They participate in a host of programs through the Department's International Artistic & Cultural Exchange Program.

    Paid technical assistant positions are available with the Center for the Arts Production Department. To apply, please call (716) 645-6926.

    See the UB Student Association.

    Complementary Programs and Courses

    Majors that Complement Theatre

    Minors that Complement Theatre

    Courses Outside the Major that Could Improve Employment Opportunities

    Links to Further Information About this Program

    Updated: 13 Oct 2015 06:23:58 EDT