An audience looking at a theatre stage with a red curtain closed

Theatre Arts Major (BA)

Your Hamline theatre education will develop your skills in collaboration, creative problem-solving, critical thinking, and analysis. You'll combine studies in dramatic literature, theatre history, film studies, and performance theory with courses in acting, dance, design, and technical production to build a well-rounded and practical repertoire that you can put into practice as you enter the next stage of your career.

The Twin Cities are home to one of the strongest regional theatre and dance communities in the nation, and Hamline is at the center of it. Guest artists feature in our classes and performances each season, and working professionals and teaching artists will enrich many of your courses with presentations and special workshops.

The Hamline University Theatre presents a variety of works every year, providing students with opportunities for mainstage and studio performance and production work. The Hamline Dance Ensemble provides advanced performance work and choreographic opportunities for interested students. Student-directed, choreographed, devised, and designed performances are a regular feature of the Department of Theatre and Dance.

Engaged learning and student research opportunities

At Hamline, students participate in research and community engagement with faculty as early as their first year, something usually reserved for graduate students at other institutions. You'll design and conduct your own research or performance project based on your individual interests and goals.

The list of possible engagement projects is as varied as our students. For example, picture yourself:

  • Researching the barriers and prejudices the disabled community have confronted when attending and/or participating in theatrical productions, and exploring efforts by artists and producers to create a more inclusive theatre experience
  • Designing and pre-producing a theatre production for our program’s mainstage performance season
  • Examining how movements for social change have invented communication methods that integrate journalism and performance to engage contemporary audiences
  • Filming, editing, and designing visual and auditory effects for an experimental dance video
  • Compiling ethnographies on body image and cultural beauty standards to create a performance exploring bodily liberation from oppressive regimes of influence
  • Interrogating the intersection between video games and performance theory
  • Founding “Shakespeare on the Lawn,” a student-created theatre project to welcome new students during fall orientation week

During your research process, you’ll collaborate with professionals at major institutions, publish your research in academic journals, and present your work at local, regional, and national venues.

What drew me to Hamline is that it's a smaller school. I've had one-on-one time with my professors and a lot of opportunities that I don't think I would have had at bigger schools. I've been able to work so closely with my professors and with the design team for shows."

Eden Fahy, theatre arts at Hamline University, MN

Internships for theatre arts students

We make sure you leave Hamline with theatre work experience on your resume, and the opportunities are boundless. Whether you want to explore a career in set design, directing, education, acting, or more, we have internship opportunities for you.

Examples of past theatre arts student internships include:

  • Mixed Blood Theatre, community outreach intern
  • Penumbra Theatre, art for social change intern
  • Yellow Tree Theatre, marketing and box office assistant
  • Minnesota Fringe Festival, front of house coordinator
  • Children’s Theatre Company, educational apprentice

I was given an opportunity by Bill Wallace to do lighting design in my first year. It was a dream come true to be thrown into it. It's great that there are people here at Hamline who give those opportunities, especially to first years, because it sets the pace for your college years."

Hamline University student Nolan Sherburne, Theatre Arts major

Explore career paths

Our innovative courses and one-on-one mentoring by faculty will give you the tools to succeed in a variety of jobs, such as:

  • Scenic and lighting designer
  • K-12 educator
  • Performer
  • Event planning and management
  • Stage director
  • Museum designer
  • Filmmaker and producer
  • Production stage manager
  • Librarian
  • Clergy
  • Box office coordinator
  • Technical director

You can put your degree to work in any number of fields, including:

  • Entertainment
  • Service industry
  • K-12 and higher education
  • Law
  • Finance and banking
  • Business administration

Take your studies further with graduate school

Our scholars have gone on to graduate schools across the country in the pursuit of further education. Examples of programs and schools include:

  • MFA in integrated media, University of Texas at Austin
  • MFA in directing, University of Washington
  • MFA in media design, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • MFA in costume design, University of Missouri at Kansas City
  • MFA in technical direction, California Institute for the Arts
  • MFA in costume design, Ohio State University
  • MFA in design and technology, University of Minnesota

The work study program in the theatre and dance department was the best learning experience of my college career. I learned how to problem solve and collaborate in all kinds of settings, and I gained a confidence that's helped me succeed in my career."