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Academic Programs

“The mixing up of young actors and designers with first class professionals is manifestly the only right method of training future theatre artists.”
– Clarence Brown

The Department of Theatre offers a general Bachelor of Arts in Theatre degree with optional concentrations in honors, acting, and design / technology; and a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre with concentrations in Acting, Costume Design, Lighting Design, Scenic Design, and Sound and Media Design.

The Department has a full-time faculty of thirteen.  All faculty members are practicing professional artists as well as dedicated teachers.  Eight faculty members teach acting, directing, and history and literature of the theatre, while five teach design and technology.  A distinguished lecturer, senior lecturer, lecturers, and several resident artists of the Clarence Brown Theatre also teach, act, direct, and otherwise participate fully in the work of the Department.  Further complementing the faculty, two eminent scholars of dramatic literature from the English Department contribute as adjunct faculty in Theatre.

In the BA program, there are 75-100 majors and minors from year to year.  In the MFA programs, seven to eight design graduates are recruited every other year, in even-numbered calendar years:  two in costume design, two in lighting design, and two in scenic design, and one or two in Sound and Media Design. Seven to eight MFA actors are recruited in odd-numbered calendar years, alternating with recruitment in Design.

MFA Designers enjoy a strong component of international travel and collaboration. MFA Actors are involved in initiatives in new play development and acting for camera.  MFA and BA students all enjoy frequent workshops and collaboration with guest artists.  The Department is also very active in interdepartmental collaboration, and many students from other departments participate in CBT productions and Department of Theatre programs.

The Department of Theatre is a member of the University/Resident Theatre Association and operates The Clarence Brown Theatre (CBT), a LORT D Equity theatre.

The Head of the Department is also the Producing Artistic Director of the CBT, and the Department and CBT are fully integrated in all aspects of mission and function.  The CBT has a professional staff of more than 25 full and part-time employees, and offers a September to May season of new and classical plays, musicals, and international work that are vital to the cultural life of the region.  The Department currently has two venues for CBT and student productions:  the Clarence Brown mainstage (574 seat proscenium/thrust) and the Lab Theatre, (125 seat black box).  A third, brand new, state of the art venue, the Jenny Boyd Carousel Theatre, is slated to begin construction in 2023.  MFA and BA students acquire production experience in these varied spaces in a professional context, with a wide range of dramatic material, under the guidance of faculty and alongside professional artists and staff.

The integration of academic programs with the CBT enables UT to compete among the finest University theatre programs in the nation.  UT MFA programs recruit nationally among the most elite professional degree programs.  Students in the MFA Design program have won numerous national and international awards in design competitions for many years.  The MFA Acting program has been ranked among the top 25 MFA programs in the U.S., U.K., and Australia for the past five years, reaching to #8 in 2020.  The BA program is a leader in the state and region for academic excellence and production experience opportunities.  Scholarship funding is available for selected BA students, and all MFA students receive generous financial support.

Please consider coming to Knoxville for a visit.  You will be warmly welcomed.  For more on the MFA and BA programs, please follow the links to the left.