About

Are you ready to take it to the mainstage? Do you love the thrill of a rising curtain?

Study in the concentration that’s right for you. Our program is designed to give you the skills you need to make a living while making a life in the theatre arts. Explore the concentrations below.

Professional Actor Training. Professional actor training is patterned after a world-famous New York studio, offering training for students interested in the performance of serious plays, comedies and musical theatre. Students receive weekly 18-hour dose of actor training, in addition to sessions with our stage-veteran professors. Actors are taught to work in film and television as well as on stage.

Musical Theatre. Musical theatre training prepares students for competitive entry into the field of commercial, Broadway-style musical theatre. Enjoy courses in acting, music and dance essential to the stage.

Design and Production. When studying theatre design and production, students work in fully equipped scenery and property shops and studios. Focus areas include scenic design, scenic painting, properties, scenic construction, costume design, costume construction, lighting design and electrics. All the school’s indeed the stage, as design and production students are the key to professional quality work supporting five mainstage performances in the state-of-the-art McGinnis Theatre, multiple performances in the flexible studio theatre, and two performances in a nearby auditorium in support of elementary arts education.

Stage Management. Stage management provides students a concentration in which one learns the skills to work as assistant state managers and stage managers on fully produced mainstage productions, as well as workshop experiences. The concentration accommodates majors who wish to also pursue a secondary interest in acting, design and production or dance.

Theatre for Youth. In this concentration, you will gain comprehensive, intensive training including academics, studio training and performance internships. In this concentration, you’ll work with ECU Storybook Theatre to stage two mainstage productions annually for ECU’s successful Arts Smart and Family Fare series, and you’ll likely tour these productions to regional theatres. ECU Storybook Theatre also takes repertory literacy-theatre programming into rural schools across eastern North Carolina, motivating students and enhancing media center usage after every visit. Additionally, Theatre for Youth students participate in the Global Classroom Initiative, partnering with universities in countries including Peru and Russia to extend their understanding of and exposure to children’s theatre and cultures around the world.

The ECU Advantage

You’ve heard of Sandra Bullock, right? Professional actor training. How about Howell Binkley, the design and production machine who holds Tony Awards for lighting Jersey Boys and critical acclaim for lighting everything from Dracula to West Side Story? You’ve seen Kevin Williamson’s Scream, Dawson’s Creek, the Vampire Diaries and I Know What You Did Last Summer, right?

ECU Advantage

You’ve heard of Sandra Bullock, right? Professional actor training. How about Howell Binkley, the design and production machine who holds Tony Awards for lighting Jersey Boys and critical acclaim for lighting everything from Dracula to West Side Story? You’ve seen Kevin Williamson’s Scream, Dawson’s Creek, the Vampire Diaries and I Know What You Did Last Summer, right?

ECU's BFA in theatre arts allows you to study in a program that has produced these and others who have made names for themselves in their field.

What You Will Study

Musical Theatre Program Coordinator: Michael Tahaney (214 Messick Building; 252-328-1199; tahaneym@ecu.edu) Professional Actor Training Program Coordinator: Natalie Stewart (208 Messick Building; 252-328-2110; stewartn@ecu.edu)Stage Management Program Coordinator: Jeni Parker (102 Messick Building; 252-328-1212; parkerje@ecu.edu)Theatre Design and Production Program Coordinator: Reid Parker (Scene Shop; 252-328-6925; parkerth@ecu.edu)Theatre for Youth Program Coordinator: Patricia (Patch) Clark (202 Messick Building; 328-1196; clarkp@ecu.edu)

Theatre arts majors must attain a minimum grade of C in all required theatre courses.

Minimum degree requirement is 126 s.h. of credit as follows:

1. General education requirements - 40 s.h.

(For information about courses that carry general education credit see General Education Program.)

Include six hours from the following ENGL courses:

  • ENGL 3070 - Shakespeare: The Histories
  • ENGL 3080 - Shakespeare: The Comedies
  • ENGL 3090 - Shakespeare: The Tragedies
  • ENGL 3330 - Early Twentieth-Century Drama
  • ENGL 3340 - Contemporary Drama
2. Core - 21 s.h.
  • THEA 1010 - Introduction to Acting I
  • THEA 2001 - Stage Scenery I
  • THEA 2015 - Voice and Articulation
  • THEA 2035 - Theatre History-Literature I
  • THEA 3003 - Stage Lighting
  • THEA 3007 - Costume Design
  • THEA 3035 - Theatre History-Literature II
3. Concentrations - 44-62 s.h.

(Choose one.)

    a. Musical theatre concentration (61-62 s.h.)

    BFA musical theatre majors begin concentration area courses during fall semester of the freshmen year. Therefore, auditions are held each spring to gain admission to the musical theatre program. For detailed information, see the School of Theatre and Dance website at www.ecu.edu/theatredance/. 

      Dance (17 s.h.)

      Students must complete a minimum of two courses in tap, two courses in ballet, and three courses in jazz. 

        Music (6-7 s.h.)
        • MUSC 1008 - Music Theory for Non-music Majors or
        • MUSC 1156 - Basic Musicianship

        • MUSC 1018 - Music Reading and Fundamentals for Non-music Majors
        • MUSC 1028 - Music Reading and Fundamentals for Non-music Majors
        • MUSC 1208 - Non-music Major Group Piano *
        • MUSC 1218 - Non-music Major Group Piano *
        • Note:

          *Students exempt from these courses must take other higher level group or applied piano to complete required MUSC hours.

          Theatre (38 s.h.)
          • THEA 1020 - Introduction to Acting II
          • THEA 1027 - Musical Theatre Fundamentals I
          • THEA 1037 - Musical Theatre Fundamentals II
          • THEA 1061 - Musical Theatre Private Voice
          • THEA 1108 - Introduction to Musical Theatre Voice I
          • THEA 1118 - Introduction to Musical Theatre Voice II
          • THEA 2006 - The Art of Make-up
          • THEA 2016 - Vocal Production for the Actor
          • THEA 3050 - Advanced Acting I
          • THEA 3055 - History of the American Musical Theatre
          • THEA 3060 - Advanced Acting II
          • THEA 3090 - Musical Theatre Performance Techniques I
          • THEA 3095 - Musical Theatre Performance Techniques II
          • THEA 4000 - Special Theatre Projects
          • THEA 4080 - Musical Theatre Practicum
          • THEA 4090 - Musical Theatre Performance Technique III
          • THEA 4095 - Musical Theatre Performance Technique IV
        b. Professional actor training concentration (55 s.h.)

        Students are admitted to the program after the freshman year by jury. Transfer students may also be admitted by interview and/or audition.

        • THEA 1020 - Introduction to Acting II

        • THEA 2002 - Stage Scenery II or
        • THEA 4065 - Stage Management

        • THEA 2006 - The Art of Make-up
        • THEA 2010 - Professional Acting Technique I
        • THEA 2016 - Vocal Production for the Actor
        • THEA 2017 - Movement for Actors
        • THEA 2018 - Stage Combat: Unarmed
        • THEA 2020 - Professional Acting Technique II
        • THEA 3010 - Professional Acting Technique III
        • THEA 3015 - Oral Interpretation
        • THEA 3018 - Movement for Actors II: Physical Characterization
        • THEA 3020 - Professional Acting Technique IV
        • THEA 3025 - Intermediate Voice and Articulation
        • THEA 3036 - Theatre History-Literature III
        • THEA 4025 - Television and Film Practicum for the Actor I
        • THEA 4031 - Dialects for the Stage
        • THEA 4040 - Directing I
        • THEA 4041 - Directing II
        • THEA 4070 - Professional Preparation and Audition Technique for Actors
        c. Stage management concentration (57 s.h.)

        To move successfully through the program to graduation, the BFA stage management candidate will be reviewed annually by a faculty jury consisting of the stage management supervisor, one ECU Playhouse director, one design production faculty member, and the department chairman. The candidate must demonstrate to the jury that s/he is progressing and developing both scholastically and in stage management skills, as evidenced in both course work and in practice. A student who fails to pass the annual jury, who wishes to remain a department major, will be referred to the BA degree program in theatre arts.

        • THEA 3002 - Advanced Theatrical Drafting
        • THEA 3004 - Scenery Design I
        • THEA 3036 - Theatre History-Literature III
        • THEA 4025 - Television and Film Practicum for the Actor I
        • THEA 4040 - Directing I
        • THEA 4041 - Directing II
        • THEA 4065 - Stage Management
        • THEA 4066 - Theatre Management
        • THEA 4099 - Design and Production Portfolio
        • Choose a minimum of 13 s.h. from:

          Each course may be repeated up to three times, and THEA 4444 must be taken at least once.

          • THEA 1111 - Apprentice Level Production
          • THEA 2222 - Intern Level Production
          • THEA 3333 - Journeyman Level Production
          • THEA 4444 - Master Level Production
          Choose a minimum of 19 s.h. from:
          • Up to 12 s.h. DNCE course from ballet, contemporary, or jazz area
          • THEA 2002 - Stage Scenery II
          • THEA 2006 - The Art of Make-up
          • THEA 2009 - Decor and Ornament for the Stage
          • THEA 2010 - Professional Acting Technique I
          • THEA 2020 - Professional Acting Technique II
          • THEA 3010 - Professional Acting Technique III
          • THEA 3020 - Professional Acting Technique IV
          • THEA 3005 - Scenery Design II
          • THEA 3008 - Advanced Costume Design
          • THEA 3015 - Oral Interpretation
          • THEA 3050 - Advanced Acting I
          • THEA 3060 - Advanced Acting II
          • THEA 3501 - Independent Study in Theatre
          • THEA 3502 - Independent Study in Theatre
          • THEA 3503 - Independent Study in Theatre
          • THEA 3601 - Selected Topics in Theatre
          • THEA 3602 - Selected Topics in Theatre
          • THEA 3603 - Selected Topics in Theatre
          • THEA 4003 - Advanced Stage Lighting
        d. Theatre design and production concentration (55 s.h.)
        • ARTH 1906 - Art History Survey or
        • ARTH 1907 - Art History Survey

        • THEA 2002 - Stage Scenery II
        • THEA 2003 - Scene Painting
        • THEA 2009 - Decor and Ornament for the Stage
        • THEA 3002 - Advanced Theatrical Drafting
        • THEA 3004 - Scenery Design I
        • THEA 3036 - Theatre History-Literature III
        • THEA 4065 - Stage Management
        • THEA 4099 - Design and Production Portfolio
        • Choose one from:
          • 3 s.h. DNCE course from ballet, contemporary, or jazz area
          • THEA 1020 - Introduction to Acting II
          • THEA 4041 - Directing II
          Choose a minimum of 14 s.h. from:
          • THEA 2006 - The Art of Make-up
          • THEA 3005 - Scenery Design II
          • THEA 3008 - Advanced Costume Design
          • THEA 3501 - Independent Study in Theatre
          • THEA 3502 - Independent Study in Theatre
          • THEA 3503 - Independent Study in Theatre
          • THEA 3601 - Selected Topics in Theatre
          • THEA 3602 - Selected Topics in Theatre
          • THEA 3603 - Selected Topics in Theatre
          • THEA 4003 - Advanced Stage Lighting
          • THEA 4040 - Directing I
          • THEA 4066 - Theatre Management
          Choose a minimum of 13 s.h. from:

          Each course may be repeated up to three times, and THEA 4444 must be taken at least once.

          • THEA 1111 - Apprentice Level Production
          • THEA 2222 - Intern Level Production
          • THEA 3333 - Journeyman Level Production
          • THEA 4444 - Master Level Production
        e. Theatre for youth concentration (44 s.h.)

        Students (including transfer students) must be admitted to the program by faculty jury.

        • THEA 1020 - Introduction to Acting II
        • THEA 2002 - Stage Scenery II
        • THEA 2003 - Scene Painting
        • THEA 2006 - The Art of Make-up
        • THEA 2017 - Movement for Actors
        • THEA 2018 - Stage Combat: Unarmed
        • THEA 3004 - Scenery Design I
        • THEA 3015 - Oral Interpretation
        • THEA 3030 - Youth Theatre I
        • THEA 3031 - Youth Theatre II
        • THEA 3032 - Constructing Performance Projects in Theatre for Youth
        • THEA 4030 - Creative Dramatics
        • THEA 4066 - Theatre Management
        • THEA 4140 - Internship in Production and Performance in Theatre for Youth I
        • THEA 4141 - Internship in Production and Performance in Theatre for Youth II
      4. Electives to complete requirements for graduation.
        For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

        Careers With This Degree

        Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

        • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts
        • Actors
        • Directors- Stage, Motion Pictures, Television, and Radio
        • Producers
        • Talent Directors
        • Technical Directors/Managers
        • Entertainers & Performers, Sports & Related Workers
        • Communications, Entertainment, and Information
        • Education and Training
        • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts

        Career Opportunities

        ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

        NC Tower

        This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

        • Self-employed;
        • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
        • Work outside of North Carolina.

        US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

        This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

        Degree-specific internships

        For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.

        Back To Top