The Theatre School’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in theatre management exposes students to both the art and business of theatre, preparing them for careers in arts administration and management. The four-year curriculum not only provides students with an appreciation and understanding of theatre as an art form, but also explores the best practices of the marketplace though management and marketing coursework. In addition to the theatre training, students take a progression of management courses in the Driehaus College of Business and can opt for a business management minor.
Students learn from a distinguished faculty of theatre and arts administrators and business professionals both in the classroom and through individual guidance and advising. Students receive formal and informal feedback from faculty through continual evaluation of their work and portfolio presentations.
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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 move into the specific theatre management curriculum and focus on the study of performing arts management, including financial management, marketing, and advancement/community engagement for non-profit arts organizations. Students take coursework in design or technical areas and courses in business ethics and dramatic criticism. Students participate in the production season in a variety of areas, including house management, and will work in two professional internships.
Third-year students focus on the business of commercial theatre and learn about management, human resources, and strategic planning though a series of commerce courses. Students also explore the production process through directing and dramatic criticism coursework. Students participate in our season through two production assignments in marketing and business/company management.
The fourth year is a transition year, further developing students abilities and preparing students to enter the profession. Coursework includes career and networking opportunities and practical application of the students’ skills and business plan development. Students are placed in two professional internships, with opportunities in Chicago and other cities.
New York City Intensive
Each Theatre Management student has the opportunity to participate in a one-week New York City Theatre Management Intensive. The Intensive, offered every other year during spring break for independent study credit, gives students the opportunity to engage with alumni, producers, company managers, and other industry professionals in America's commercial theatre capital. The Intensive has also included tours of the Shubert Archive, Carnegie Hall, The Metropolitan Opera, Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, and the New York Public Library Performing Arts Collection at Lincoln Center, as well as performances both on and off Broadway.
At the end of each year, The Theatre School hosts a Graduate Showcase event to showcase the work of our graduating design students. Under the guidance of the faculty, graduating designers 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.
In addition to the theatre training curriculum, students complete 52 quarterly credit hours (13 courses) in the university's Liberal Studies Program. Courses are taken in theatre history, writing, quantitative reasoning and technological literacy, philosophical inquiry, religious dimensions, scientific inquiry, understanding the past, multiculturalism in the United States, and electives. These liberal studies courses are scheduled during the first three years of the program.
Every student receives quarterly evaluation and feedback from the faculty. Evaluations are based on discipline, collaboration, professional potential, and progress in the program.