- UC Santa Cruz
- The Arts
- Current Season
Why should I choose UC Santa Cruz for Theater studies?
In addition to our mainstage theater season, we are one of the only universities that has a student-run performance space. We offer superb opportunities for production in the curriculum and excellent facilities to support these opportunities. The Barn Theater and "Barnstorm" class means more directing, acting, and design projects open to students.
Do you have a strong focus on your undergraduate students?
We focus our attention on undergraduate education. Students get more time and attention than at programs where MFA and PhD students receive most of the professors' face time. We employ a strong faculty with a wide range of academic and professional experience, with multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural interests.
Ties to the Professional World, with a Global Reach:
Our professors work as actors, designers, curators, directors, and scholars throughout the world. Coming here means that students are plugged into artistic opportunities throughout the world. Faculty ties to professional theater companies local, national, and even global have paved the way for students to secure internships and professional work both before and after graduation.
Our students leave the program with a much longer resume of actual production work (both onstage and technical) than in almost any other program in the country. While academic classes fill out their knowledge, our students forge themselves in the crucible of performance and as a result many are ready to move into professional work at graduation.
How big is the Theater Arts Program?
There are 12 permanent faculty members, a rotating roster of lecturers, and generally about 10-12 graduate Masters students in a given year. There are usually about 150-200 undergraduate students going through the program. The department is generally able to offer 16-18 lecture and studio courses in a single quarter, in addition to the 2-3 department productions produced quarterly, and the TA 50 practical lab. The department also sponsors Barnstorm, a student-run theater company that produces 2-3 student-directed productions a quarter, as well as numerous one-night shows, showcases, workshops, stand-up, improv, and more.
How many theaters are there?
There are 4 main theater spaces used by the department. They are the Mainstage Theater (500 seats), a combination thrust-proscenium theater, the Second Stage Theater (200 seats), a traditional proscenium theater, the Experimental Theater or X-space (up to 200 seats), a black box theater, and the Barn Theater (150 seats). Please see the Theater Arts Production Page for more details.
Additional production spaces exist around the UCSC campus, not affiliated with the Theater Arts Department. Most residential colleges having at least one stage or performance venue. You can contact the college offices for specific information on utilizing those spaces. There are two outdoor performance venues on campus, the Quarry Amphitheater and the Sinsheimer-Stanley Festival Glen. For use and details on the Quarry Amphitheater, please contact the University. The Sinsheimer-Stanley Festival Glen is used every summer and usually runs dark during the school year. For more information on the Glen, please contact the Theater Arts Department.
How many shows per year?
Each year there are approximately 4 faculty-directed productions in dance or drama, and 2-3 student-directed productions. Additionally the Theater Arts Department co-produces Shakes-to-Go with a touring 50 minute version of one of Shakespeare's play directed by a faculty member and performed by UCSC students. Yearly there is Random: With a Purpose, a student-run dance production, and the student play festival, Chautauqua. The student-run theater company Barnstorm also produces a number of student-directed one nighters and full productions on a quarterly basis.
Do you do musicals?
We do not produce Broadway style musicals on a regular basis. However we do occasionally produce musicals.
Can you tell me about the Dance Program?
There is no separate Dance department, but there is a Dance Minor, and dance classes on technique, theory, and history are also part of the Theater Arts major and minor. These classes are available to all students on campus as well as our majors and minors. We offer beginning and advanced modern dance classes, the student-directed dance concert Random: With a Purpose once per year, and 1 faculty-directed dance production approximately every other year. Many of our drama productions incorporate dance. The Physical Education department offers many varieties of non-credit dance classes.
When can I audition for shows?
Auditions for faculty and student productions happen every quarter at the beginning of the quarter, usually during the Thursday and Friday evening of the first week of the quarter. Sign-ups for auditions are posted in the A-building hallway near the Green Room at the start of that first week. Specific shows may occasionally hold separate auditions, or have specific requirements for auditions, so please check with the department for the most current audition information.
All students are eligible to audition - majors, minors, non-majors, freshmen, sophomores, graduate students, etc. You can contact the Theater Arts Department for upcoming audition information and dates.
I am interested in Theatrical Design - what are my opportunities to learn and practice?
We offer a wide variety of scenic, lighting, and costume design classes and studios, as well as the opportunity to gain practical experience and training by working in our shops and technical crews through TA 50. Additionally you can apply to design in these areas in our faculty and student-directed shows. Application to design for specific shows is normally submitted during the Tech Interest Meeting held during the last week of Spring Quarter, before finals. If you are coming to UCSC after the meeting, or missed the meeting, you can talk to the Department Chair directly about applying to design or assistant design for a department show. Additionally Barnstorm and the student play festival Chautauqua utilize student designers. You can talk to the Barnstorm or Chautauqua Production Managers for those opportunities. Many of our design students have gained sufficient experience here at UCSC to go on to jobs in the Bay Area and beyond right after graduation.
How do I declare the major/minor?
If you are considering declaring the Theater Arts major or minor, you should schedule a meeting with the Theater Arts Undergraduate Advisor as soon as possible, to go over the requirements and which courses fulfill them. Prior to declaring the major, you must complete 3 lower division courses in the department: 1 course from the 61 series (THEA 61A, 61B, or 61C), and 2 courses from the Introductory courses (THEA 10, Intro to Design, THEA 20, Intro to Acting, or THEA 30, Intro to Dance). There are no prerequisites for declaring the Theater Arts minor. For the current course requirements to graduate with a Theater Arts Major or Minor, please contact the Theater Arts Department directly.
Can I double-major?
Yes. You must declare each major separately with each individual department, and your residential college. Careful planning is required with the academic advisor from each department, and your college, to ensure you can complete the requirements for both majors, and your GE’s in a timely fashion. Start planning early in your freshman year so that you can fit all of the classes into your time here at UCSC. If you are considering a double major involving Theater Arts, you should schedule to meet with the Theater Arts Department Undergraduate advisor as soon as possible, to go over the Theater Arts Major requirements, and start plotting your courses towards graduation.
Can I go on Education Abroad?
Yes, as above, careful planning is required, to ensure that you can complete all requirements to graduate in a timely fashion. We encourage going overseas to study. Go to the Education Abroad office to find out the opportunities for study abroad, and then meet with the Theater Arts undergraduate advisor to see what classes might transfer. Your theater arts faculty advisor may also have information for you on which programs might provide you with the most opportunity to further your theater studies abroad.
As a Transfer student, will I be able to complete the program in 2 years?
Absolutely. The 16 courses required can be fit into 2 years. Getting advice and a study plan during you first quarter on campus is essential - then we can map out your courses to make sure that you finish in your time here.
Which is the best College to be in for Theater Arts?
No one college is better suited to any particular major, and we have had students from every college graduate as theater majors. However, many students choose Porter, because of its proximity to Theater Arts. Oakes, Kresge, and College 8 are also close by, and Cowell is situated to easily cut across campus to the Theater Arts Department.
Is it safe to walk on campus at night after rehearsal?
Yes. The campus paths are well lit, with blue emergency telephones located at regular intervals. The campus core bus runs until midnight, as do the campus loop buses. You can consult with TAPS for schedules and bus stops. You can also call the campus police or campus safety officers for an escort from the Theater Arts Department at night, if you wish, by calling (831) 459-2100.
What about Internships?
We post any information that we receive about internships, or forward e-mails to our students. You can also use our Career Center as a resource. Our faculty and staff are very supportive of students pursuing internships with professional theater companies, and are ideally situated to offer support and advice for internships pursued with local theater companies. While internships are encouraged, they cannot interfere with academic work, or department production work a student has committed themselves to during the academic quarters.
What is Chautauqua?
Chautauqua is a theater and film festival hosted by the department every Spring Quarter. It is entirely run, produced, written, directed, acted, designed, stage managed, and promoted by students. It is an ideal venue for students just starting out in the department to start working with other students in the department, and become known. It is also a great place to gain training and experience, as weekly discussion sections are held for stage managers, designers, directors, and board ops in order to guide and support students with less experience in these roles. Please check the Chautauqua page for information on how to get involved.
What is Barnstorm?
Barnstorm is a student-run theater company that was begun in 2004 by the department, in order to provide more production opportunities to students. It is run each year by 2-3 Theater Arts graduate students, for 1-3 quarters of the academic year. All shows are produced in the Barn theater at the base of the UCSC campus, and include 2-3 full productions, numerous one-nighters, sketch, stand-up, and improv comedy, cabaret, and more. For information on how to get involved with Barnstorm, please check the Theater Arts page on the Barnstorm page and or Barnstorm website.
Who is my initial contact person for Theater Arts?
The Academic or Undergraduate Advisor can be found in the Theater Arts office, J106. They are usually there 9 am - noon, and 1 - 4 pm on weekdays. You can call at (831) 429-2974, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help you.