Major Description

Theatre is a form of human expression, taking place in the present, but connecting us to other times and places. Theatre artists provide a window into the human condition and is a dynamic art form, constantly changing to include current issues and new media. It embraces a broad range of skills including acting, directing, design, construction, technology and management.

Illinois Theatre stands for radical inclusion. We value innovation and collaboration in the creation of new artistic work and in approaches to the classics, along with the development of new technologies and methods of performance research. We prepare students for professions in the theatre and related fields by fostering a deep understanding of traditional approaches paired with rigorous training in emerging professional practices. We empower students to work entrepreneurially and as independent, critical thinkers. We believe that building cross-disciplinary partnerships will enhance our impact in local, national, and global contexts.

  • Acting
  • Arts and Entertainment Technology
  • Costume Design & Technology
  • Lighting Design
  • Scenic Design
  • Scenic Technology
  • Sound Design & Technology
  • Stage Management
  • Theatre Studies (Playwriting, Directing, & Dramaturgy)

The BFA is an intensive, specific, pre-professional training program. An audition or portfolio review and interview are required to be admitted to any of the BFA Theatre Concentrations.

Courses That Introduce the Major:
  • THEA 121—Theatre Foundations: Performance
  • THEA 122—Theatre Foundations: Theory and Practice
  • THEA 123—Theatre Foundations: Production

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

Possible Career Opportunities:

Theatre Alumni lead the way in the fields of theatre, television, film, and arts education. 

  • Ability to accept public scrutiny and criticism
  • Ability to analyze and interpret emotions
  • Ability to captivate audiences
  • Ability to communicate emotions/ideas
  • Ability to maintain composure under pressure
  • Good ability to concentrate/practice
  • Imagination/Creativity
  • Proficiency in memorizing
  • Public speaking skills
  • Actor 
  • Director
  • Costume Designer
  • Playwright
  • Technical Director
  • Theatre Critic
  • Lighting Designer
  • Stage Manager
  • Scenic Carpenter
  • Production Manager
  • Costume Technician
  • Scenic Designer
  • Sound Engineer
  • Master Electrician
  • Media Designer
  • Automation Operator
  • Producer
  • Dramaturg
  • Props Technician
  • Company Manager
  • House Manager

Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree.

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:
  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • New Revels Players: renaissance through modern drama.
    • Penny Dreadful Players: provides all majors with an opportunity to participate in every aspect of live theatre.
    • Krannert Center Student Association: promotes and celebrates the arts by providing volunteer opportunities and activities that unite those who appreciate the arts throughout the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, the University of Illinois, and larger communities.
    • Illini Student Musicals: ISM is an organization dedicated to the performance of musical theatre on campus. Students will be able to gain experience in all aspects of putting a musical together.
Further Information:

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Theatre.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Theatre.  These organizations include American Society of Theatre Consultants and American Association of Community Theatre.

If you are interested in learning more about the various BFA concentrations in theatre and what a career in theatre might look like -- please contact: Cynthia Kocher, Illinois Theatre Director of Undergraduate Studies at for more information.