The University of Tennessee is one of just 13 universities nationwide with its own professional theatre associated with the League of Resident Theatres (LORT). The Clarence Brown Theatre is a LORT D theatre produced by the Department of Theatre to foster professional standards in its academic curriculum and to serve the greater East Tennessee Community. It is home to one of the older resident companies in LORT. Each season, three or four of the department’s eight subscription productions are produced on the LORT contract, allowing students to work alongside seasoned professionals and to hone their crafts at the highest professional level. Founded in 1974 with Sir Anthony Quayle as Artistic Director, The Clarence Brown Theatre has a distinguished history of hosting guest and resident artists of national and international stature, including John Cullum, Zoe Caldwell, Mary Martin, Carol Mayo-Jenkins, David Keith, Jennifer Tipton, Beverly Emmons, Dale Dickey, and many others. The Clarence Brown Theatre Company also tours productions to national and international festivals.
All faculty members of the Department of Theatre have dual appointments as members of the professional company. MFA Design students have the opportunity to work on LORT productions throughout their graduate training. MFA Acting students may elect to join Actors Equity during the course of their training.