Acclaimed as “a legendary training ground” (Chicago Tribune), The Theatre School was founded as the Goodman School of Drama in 1925, and joined DePaul University in 1978. A fully-accredited school within a major urban university, The Theatre School is the Midwest’s oldest theatre conservatory and is renowned as one of the top professional theatre training programs in the United States.
The Theatre School Mission
The Theatre School trains students to the highest level of professional skill and artistry in an inclusive and diverse conservatory setting.
The Theatre School Values
We advance intellectual development and ethical consciousness. We foster moral, spiritual, social, political, and artistic growth. We promote participation in civic life.
We inspire respect for self, for others, for the profession, and for humanity. We embrace the Vincentian model of service.
We build a community founded on the principles of creativity and freedom of expression. We value initiative, innovation, exploration, and risk taking.
We celebrate the primacy of the imagination in our work.
We believe theatre is a place for reflection, awakening, and the development of moral awareness.
— Adopted by faculty and staff of The Theatre School at DePaul University, 2016.
- We will educate enterprising artists, thinkers, innovators, leaders, and globally conscious citizens who transform communities across DePaul, Chicago, the nation, and the world.
- We will support an expert, passionate faculty and staff committed to advancing the vibrancy of live theatre and performance while continually adapting to a broadening and changing profession.
- We will become a role model of diversity and inclusion for the University and the field.
- We will produce public programs and performances that challenge, entertain, and stimulate the imagination.
- We will foster cross-disciplinary collaboration to further student understanding and appreciation for every aspect of theatre work.
Diversity Action Statement
The Theatre School is committed to fostering and nurturing the reality of who people are, who they have been, and who they want to be. We embrace the diversity of what we see, what we hear and what we feel. We give voice; we represent people and ideas. Our community engages in lively exploration, between and beyond categories of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, religion, nationality, ability and artistic discipline. We examine, appreciate and share the complexities of culture through artistic collaboration, and in doing so, create a safe and supportive environment for our students, faculty, staff, audiences and visitors.
Our Student Body and Community
The school accepts only a small fraction of over 1,800 applicants each year who undertake the stringent admissions process of national auditions and interviews. Students apply and enter one of fifteen undergraduate (BFA) majors or three graduate (MFA) programs.
The current enrollment numbers approximately 370 students from around the United States and several other countries. The faculty/student ratio of one-to-six allows for the continuous interaction and supervision essential for professional theatre training. A majority of the faculty and staff maintain their connections and professional work in all aspects of Chicago's renowned and thriving theatre industry.
The Theatre School of DePaul University provides conservatory-based professional theatre training of the highest caliber. From its origins in 1925 as the Goodman School of Drama to our present home at DePaul University, The Theatre School fuels the Chicago, national, and international theatre communities with new generations of exceptional theatre practitioners, leaders, and thinkers.
The Theatre School adheres to a “learn by doing” philosophy. Every TTS student is guaranteed multiple high-quality, discipline-specific production experiences where classroom theories are applied in practice. Throughout their careers at TTS, students engage with a broad scope of literature including canonical, contemporary, and original works that embody diverse aesthetic, cultural, spiritual, and ideological perspectives, preparing them for a field increasingly invested in global concerns. In addition to specialized training, The Theatre School strives to develop the whole individual by encouraging students to access the myriad learning opportunities available to them at DePaul and in Chicago.
The Theatre School makes the most of its location in the heart of Chicago’s remarkably diverse theatre community by cultivating nationally recognized theatre practitioners as faculty. The faculty nurtures close relationships with students through a hands-on, personal approach to mentorship. In addition to bringing vast real world experience to the classroom, TTS faculty provides students entering the profession with robust networks in Chicago, nationally and internationally. TTS students experience valuable interactions with notable professionals at all levels through internships, apprenticeships, and guest artist visits.
Graduates of TTS’s programs enter the profession with highly developed, flexible skills that prepare them to work on any scale—from storefront theatres, not-for-profit regional companies to large-scale commercial productions. TTS graduates value professionalism, creative problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and service. As alumni of an institution founded on Vincentian principles, TTS graduates strive to be compassionate members of society who put into practice their belief in theatre’s power to make a lasting, positive social impact in the world.
The completion of a purpose-built facility in 2013 has ushered in a new era for the school, and embodies DePaul University’s commitment to fostering the Arts as a key component of civic life. For TTS students, faculty, and staff, the facility provides the necessary resources for achieving excellence in training. For the wider DePaul student body, the new facility creates an opportunity to enhance the educational experience. TTS seeks to deepen its engagement with our neighbors and the City of Chicago by producing diverse, socially engaged work. In addition to productions, TTS will build community interaction through cross-departmental partnerships, collaborations with other Chicago organizations, and by hosting national and international conferences and symposia.
The Theatre School will continue to enhance its national profile by graduating theatre artists who are prepared to impact the field on every level, and by deepening connections to our network of alumni working throughout the U.S. and beyond.