The Theatre School > Conservatory > Undergraduate Conservatory > Comedy Arts

Comedy Arts

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Comedy Arts
Comedy Arts students rehearsing

The Theatre School’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in comedy arts prepares graduates to be performers, directors, and content creators through the academic study of the history and techniques of comedy. Through a combination of coursework and performances both on-campus and in professional Chicago comedy venues, the curriculum reflects the way comedians have learned their field for centuries: testing material in front of an audience, digesting their response, and then learning to revise and rethink in order to be successful communicators and storytellers.

At DePaul, we consider Chicago to be our classroom. As one of the nation’s best comedy scenes, our classroom is hard to beat.

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The first-year curriculum is taken in collaboration with other theatre studies students and is an immersion into the culture of theatrical production and literature. Coursework includes script analysis, theatre history, and performance to facilitate critical thinking and an experiential understanding of the theatrical process. Students also participate in three crew assignments in various areas of production.

In the second year, students begin the specialized comedy arts sequence by studying the history of comedy as well as the foundations of writing and performing comedy for the stage. Students will present performances in on-campus venues and as part of our annual Wrights of Spring playwriting festival.

In the third year, students continue to build their writing and performance skills while beginning to explore the production process as a director. Through courses offered through DePaul's School for Cinematic Arts, students learn to translate the skills and material they have developed on stage into filmed media. Students continue to master the skill of live performance as they produce performances off-campus in Chicago comedy venues.

In the fourth year, students continue to develop their skills while also making the transition to the profession. In addition to advanced coursework and performances in Chicago comedy venues, students will pursue professional internship opportunities based on their individual career goals. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the LA Quarter Program through DePaul's School of Cinematic Arts, taking courses with industry professionals and interning in the Los Angeles entertainment community.

Fourth year comedy arts students participate in the Graduate Showcase during the spring academic quarter. Under the guidance of the faculty, graduating comedy arts students prepare a showcase exhibit of their portfolio – which is presented in Chicago for artistic directors, alumni, and other members of the theatre, film, and television industries.