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Hallway Mural

Our Commitment to Anti-Racism

The Theatre School is working to dismantle systemic racism in our institution. We hear the outpouring of feedback from our community with humility and apology. We recognize the pain we have caused our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) alumni, students, faculty, and staff and hold ourselves accountable to restructuring personal and institutional inequities. We accept responsibility for the harm we have caused and commit to creating meaningful change.

We recognize that real, tangible action—not words—is crucial for both healing and progress. We will strive to create brave spaces for our community and to continue anti-racism work in all classes and programming as part of our evolving culture.

We also want to acknowledge the individuals who have shared their stories with us. We understand that pain and fear may come with disclosure and we humbly appreciate that so many current and former students summoned the courage to come forward. Your words are guiding us as we plan toward a healthy, just, and equitable future for BIPOC students, staff, and faculty.

The Theatre School faculty and staff recently met for our annual end-of-year retreat, which we dedicated to addressing racism in our community. Based on this discussion, we articulated how we will fully commit to continuing the work of transforming our institutional culture with the following actions:

What is being done:

  • Making anti-racism a cornerstone of TTS faculty and staff training by scheduling consistent and continuous opportunities to share best practices, learn from experts, examine syllabi, and develop anti-racist strategies.
  • Re-evaluating and adjusting membership of committees to include input from a greater cross-section of our community (students, full-time and adjunct faculty, full and part-time staff, and alumni) in decision-making.
  • Setting up a facilitated forum wherein we commit to bearing witness to past harms for members of our community who would like to participate.
  • Developing community feedback processes to identify barriers to racial equity, as well as community needs. 
  • Implementing open meeting structures unless information in the meeting discusses specific personnel or a particular matter protected by confidentiality or privacy restrictions. This includes executive committee meetings, the season selection meeting, and faculty meetings.
  • Creating a webpage on The Theatre School website to share progress and foster transparency.
  • Establishing an ongoing Anti-Racism Committee, which would include administration, faculty, staff, students, and alumni, to guide our ongoing efforts.

What must be done:

  • Imagine and implement a new model of conservatory training that embraces a multiplicity of cultural values and experiences by challenging inherited assumptions of white normativity.
  • Create a learning environment and culture where students, faculty, and staff feel empowered to speak up and advocate for justice in the classroom, rehearsal room, theatres, social spaces, and the profession.
  • Develop accountability processes that address community needs and input and incorporate University procedures and policies.
  • Provide resources and training opportunities to all TTS administrators, and full and part-time faculty and staff, on the history and ongoing effects of institutional white supremacy.
  • Evaluate and subsequently modify the casting process and technical shop procedures to address existing structures of racism.
  • Periodically review institutional equity, diversity, access, and inclusion initiatives to ensure efficacy and prevent harm.

The faculty, staff, and administration commit to pursue and evolve these initiatives as central to the work of The Theatre School as we prepare students to practice and promote racial equity within and beyond our walls. We recognize there is more to be done and we commit to an ongoing process. We will continue to listen to our community, particularly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.


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.


Identity Statement

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.


Vision Statement

  • 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.


Our Student Body and Community

The school accepts only a small fraction of over 1,890 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 two ​graduate (MFA) programs. The current enrollment numbers approximately 460​ 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.