Theatre reflects the most compelling and complex issues of the human experience. It invites innovative understanding, collaborations, and dialogue and in turn creates community through the unique shared social experience of live performance. For artists and scholars it demands curiosity, invention, the courage to take risks, as well as practical application and the discipline required to succeed in any field.
The School of Drama offers courses of study which transforms artists and scholars into innovative and courageous poised-to-become creative leaders and engaged global citizens.
Through mastering skills and techniques applicable to any group endeavor, and acquaintance with established and innovative performance traditions and theories, students of theatre employ intellectual and creative rigor and develop entrepreneurial skills. This approach enables them to develop their own authentic, original voices and visions and engage the complexities, gravity, and joys of our world.
The School of Drama offers the following program of study:
Bachelor of Arts
The Bachelor of Arts in drama teaches the history, theory, methods, and techniques of the art of theatre. Students who study drama discover their individual creative voices that help make them unique and engaged global citizens.
At its core, the undergraduate program in drama instills creative and critical thinking skills, promotes collaboration and academic rigor, and provides practical experiences in creative enterprise.
Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: See department admission requirements below.
Department Admission Requirements
DRAMA 201 and DRAMA 251; one of the following: DRAMA 210, DRAMA 211, DRAMA 212, DRAMA 213; one of the following: DRAMA 290, DRAMA 291, DRAMA 292; and a minimum 2.50 GPA for the four courses.
No audition is required to enter the program.
65-70 credits as follows:
All students must make satisfactory academic progress in the major. Failure to do so results in probation, which can lead to dismissal from the major. For the complete continuation policy, contact the departmental adviser or refer to the department website.
Student Outcomes and Opportunities
Graduate Program Coordinator
The school offers professional training and scholarly programs leading to the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. Areas of study for the MFA degree are acting, stage direction, scene design, lighting design, and costume design. Most students should expect to spend three intensive years completing requirements for the MFA degree.
The PhD program provides students training for scholarly research in theatre history, dramatic literature, theory, and criticism. It also hosts the UW's Center for Performance Studies and connects students with related classes on campus.
Master of Fine Arts -- Acting
Admission is based on a private audition and interview with the head of the Professional Actor Training Program (PATP).
Applicants prepare the following:
Students who hold (or will hold by the time they enroll) a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution may apply. Most applicants have undergraduate degrees in theatre, but that is not essential. All applicants must demonstrate outstanding talent. GRE not required. International applicants must meet minimum TOEFL and TSE scores.
Applicants submit the following to Graduate Programs, School of Drama, University of Washington, Box 353950, Seattle, WA 98195-3950:
PATP training provides actors the practical tools and sensibilities to become outstanding theatre actors comfortable and effective in all media. During the three years of study, every student appears in at least seven productions, two self-written solo shows, an in-depth dialect project, and extensive scene and technique classes.
The program immerses students in the traditional vocabulary and practices set down by Konstantin Stanislavski and increases the actors' expressiveness through "instrument classes" in voice, speech, dialects, coordination (Alexander Technique), Viewpoints, and Suzuki-based movement. PATP students become well versed in the established canon of Western dramatic literature and have opportunities to audition for summer theatre festivals from around the region and country. The program also maintains relationships with professional theatres in Seattle and the region such as the Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman, Empty Space, ACT, Seattle Children's Theatre, The Guthrie Theatre, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
At the end of the third year, students prepare a professional showcase for Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York, and each actor leaves with a professional quality audition reel.
Master of Fine Arts -- Directing
The program, which accepts only two candidates, chooses applicants who show evidence of accomplishment “out in the world,” who may have successfully assisted seasoned directors, and who have at least the beginning of a professional and artistic record. It is extremely difficult to gain admission directly out of a BA program with no other credentials.
The intensive, three-year, conservatory directing program prepares students for successful entry into the professional theatre. Classes and training include a range of types and styles of dramatic work, including realistic, nonrealistic, classical, and contemporary plays. Directing laboratory, seminar, Suzuki, and Viewpoints are taken every quarter. Acting process work includes Stanislavski, action theory, Shakespeare, Chekhov, and contemporary realism.
Every quarter each student directs in the classroom, studio, or both.
Master of Fine Arts -- Design
The program generally accepts two students in each area (scenic design, costume design, and lighting design). It is extremely difficult to gain admission directly out of a BA/BFA program with no other credentials.
Interviews: Held in Seattle from mid-January to the beginning of March. Applicants indicate how and when they plan both to submit their portfolio and interview with faculty. Applications must be received before an interview is scheduled.
Portfolio: May include hand drafting, renderings, photographs of realized work or of models, costume sketches, and other graphic work or high-quality photocopies of same, blue lines and/or duplicate slides. Work should demonstrate strong graphic skills (including accurate rendering of the human figure) and the ability to devise effective design solutions to the problems posed by a script. Portfolio should include examples of drawing or painting not intended as theatre design projects: figure drawing, landscape, architectural sketching or lighting, lighting installations, etc. High quality photocopies are acceptable.
For lighting design applicants, the portfolio should include examples of hand or computer drafting, two or more complete projects including a one-page statement of conceptual approach, hook-up, plot, and cue ideas. Also, samples of set sketches and life drawing.
Application Requirements: For questions, contact the School of Drama's graduate program assistant at (206) 543-0714 or email email@example.com.
First year devoted primarily to studio course and skill building; realized production designs become a focus of the second and third years. In the third year, students complete a ten-week professional internship before returning to the School of Drama for two quarters with a final thesis project occurring in either of those quarters.
Scenic Design: Students develop proficiency of expression via drawing and painting, drafting, model building, scene painting, and a working knowledge of scenic and property construction. Production work is emphasized in the second and third years of residency.
Costume Design: Encompasses design, construction, graphic skills, and history. Production work in costume design is emphasized in the second and third year.
Lighting Design: Emphasizes development of both theoretical/thinking and practical/compositional skills. Production work in lighting may occur in the first year, but is emphasized in the second and third years, and often includes dance.
Doctor of Philosophy
Preference given to applicants with MA/MFA degrees and theatre experience but those who hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university are eligible to apply. Applicants submit the following materials online at https://www.grad.washington.edu/applForAdmiss/
International applicants must meet minimum TOEFL and TSE scores
Minimum 110 credits
The PhD program hosts the UW's Center for Performance Studies and connects doctoral students with related classes on campus. Special topics in the history sequence have included Restoration theatre, drama in the Industrial Age, communism and capitalism, and ancient theatre history. Seminars in criticism have included reading, interpretation and performance; mimesis and theatrical representation; the semiotics of theatre; and drama and Marxist theatre theory. Students are encouraged to develop original research in these seminars and to present their work at professional meetings or publish it in academic journals.