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Theatre Major

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Why Study Theatre?

Theatre majors gain earn performance, writing and technical skills in class, backstage and onstage as they learn theatre technology, management and design as well as directing, acting, dance and playwriting. Theatre majors work on stage and on-camera, as well as backstage and front-of-house. They explore the human condition, learn to express human emotions and reflect on man’s rich diversity.

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Why Study Theatre at Eastern?

Theatre majors at Eastern examine the history of performance and gain practical experience in production. They work onstage, backstage and front-of-house through classes, independent studies, internships, practica and study tours, and on full-length major productions, one-acts, original plays and staged readings. The Theatre program produces four main stage shows each year, giving students many opportunities to develop skills and talents in all areas of theatre and dance. Concentrations include Acting; Dance and Performance; Directing; and Theatre Technology, Design and Management.

Students building a set
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  • The Acting concentration in the Theatre Major provides students with opportunities to cultivate their performance skills through courses in Improvisation and physical theatre, stage voice, stage combat and on-camera acting.

    View Concentration Details

  • Theatre majors may choose the Dance & World Performance concentration, where they will take courses in world dance, Asian theatre and performance, West African dance, ballet and modern dance.

    View Concentration Details

  • Theatre majors in the Directing, Dramaturgy and Cultural Performance concentration explore the creative process of play production through the role of director. With courses in acting, directing, playwriting, musical theatre, children’s theatre and site-specific theatre, students acquire valuable hands-on experience.

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  • The Design, Technology and Management concentration in the Theatre major offers courses in scenic design, lighting and sound design, and stage management. Students explore the global spectrum of theatrical production, experience the creative process of theatre technology and design, and develop an appreciation for and commitment to the collaborative process.

    View Concentration Details

Salary Potential


Median Salary Set Designers


Median Salary Sound Engineering Techs

* U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Hands-on Learning

Student standing in front of presentation material

Kennedy Center

Each year theatre students participate in the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. In the spring semester, students may also participate in the New York City study tour.

Exterior view of the London National Theatre

Global Studies

During spring break, winter session and/or the summer, theatre students may travel on global field courses to places such as London, Los Angeles and Prague.  During these trips, students interact with performing artists, while also visiting historic theaters and other cultural sites.

Student handling a stage light


Recent theatre internship locations include Hartford Stage Company, PRG Technologies, TheatreWorks, Goodspeed Opera House, Long Wharf Theatre, Ogunquit Playhouse, Capital Classics, The Bushnell, Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods and the Williamstown Theatre Festival. 

Career Options

  • Actor
  • Arts, box office, or house management
  • Costume designer
  • Director
  • Drama or dance therapist
  • Playwright
  • Producer
  • Prop master
  • Set, lighting, projection or sound designer
  • Stage manager

Successful Alumni

Students regularly work at prestigious theatre venues after graduation, and many go on to graduate study in programs such as acting, directing, costume design, technical direction and stage management in the following schools

  • The Actor’s Studio
  • Bristol Old Vic
  • Emerson College
  • Florida State University
  • Pepperdine University
  • Savannah College of Art and Design
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Iowa
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For more information
(860) 465-5583

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Alumni Testimonials

Matthew Bessette ’19
English and Theatre

Matthew Bessette ’19

Matthew hopes to become an English teacher after receiving teacher certification through Eastern’s master’s program in Education. “The theatre program has played a critical role in the development of my self-discipline and leadership abilities. Dedicating time and energy to participating in college productions takes a lot out of you, but it teaches you to think critically and adapt to a given situation.”

Elizabeth Heaney ’19

Elizabeth Heaney ’19

Elizabeth is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in acting at Purdue University. “Eastern’s Theatre Program is expanding and improving every year. Each professor has an innovative and unique perspective, and the collaboration that goes on is beautiful. Opportunity is plentiful, technology is state of the art and resources are always available.”

Hilary Osborn ’12

Hilary Osborn ’12

Theatre major Hilary Osborn earned a master’s degree in sustainability management from Columbia University in 2018 and now works with Willdan Group, Inc., an engineering consulting firm in Manhattan. “My theatre degree gave me poise and confidence to work in a corporate environment, and the extensive writing in all my Eastern classes gave me the communication skills I need to succeed in my profession.”

Alexis Kurtz ’16

Alexis Kurtz ’16

Alexis combined her acting and directing concentration with an interest in musical theatre and opera. “I had the privilege to take private voice lessons with Dr. Riggs for all four years at Eastern. She respects my love of musical theatre, so in addition to the classical foundation required for private voice study at the University, she constantly provided me with opportunities to put my character work to use.”

Paulina Palomo ’21
Television Academy

Paulina Palomo ’21

Theatre major Paulina Palomo ’21 was one of 50 participants nationwide selected for a Television Academy Foundation Internship, where she worked with Hollywood-based production company Endemol Shine North America. “Film and television have always been so interesting to me, which is why I decided to pursue it professionally.”

Agresta Capri ’21
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Agresta Capri ’21

Theatre and New Media Studies double-major Capri Agresta ’21 is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in scenic technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “My undergraduate experience provided me with many hands-on opportunities, including several leadership positions for our mainstage shows. Eastern allowed me to build a portfolio that showcases my carpentry and drafting skills, which is helping to launch my career.”

Anthony Piccione ’16
New York City

Anthony Piccione ’16

Theatre major Anthony Piccione is a NYC-based playwright. Since graduating from Eastern, his plays have shown at theatres and festivals such as Midtown International Theatre Festival, NY Winterfest and Manhattan Repertory Theatre. “The range of classes and creative opportunities I experienced at Eastern helped me to mature and become well rounded as an artist and as a person.”

Sinque Tavares ’17
Tia Russell Dance

Sinque Tavares ’17

Theatre major Sinque Tavares is an operations assistant at Tia Russell Dance Studio. At Eastern, he concentrated in acting, directing and dance, and starred in several theatre productions. “My eyes have been opened to other dance forms — hip hop, jazz, modern, tap. Now I like to choreograph from different perspectives and incorporate different genres into the same dance.”

Alexis Kurtz ’16

Alexis Kurtz ’16

Theatre major Alexis Kurtz has performed in professional productions such as “The Hunch Back of Notre Dame” and “Earth Day, Every Day.” “My Main Stage experiences as an undergraduate were critically important for my career. I can thank Eastern for fostering the performance proficiency I now enjoy.”