Theater Program

Who we are

Good theater is not created by a tired formula and ushered through an assembly-line division of labor.  The strongest theatrical artists are passionate learners and innovators who integrate performance, design and engineering-the most potent elements of expression-to create compelling theater that inspires the communal imagination.  At UVa-Wise, we are devoted to theater as a unified art form that blurs the lines between visual-art, story and music by fusing performance, design and engineering in a single, meaningful experience. We are dedicated to cultivating the well-rounded theater student capable of forging meaningful artistic work through a comprehensive and practical experience across the theatrical spectrum.

What we offer

We are committed to maintaining a small ensemble of student majors that function like most professional theater companies-where all students produce, promote, design, act and build the show. It is rare in this world that an artist is given unlimited resources, where everything is provided for him or her. At UVa-Wise we seek to develop artists that can do for themselves, students with the breadth of understanding and experience to make their own way and not be waiting for someone else to create opportunity for them because of what they don’t know or can’t do. So unlike most schools where you’ll have to ‘wait your turn’ to be in a “main-stage show,” at UVa-Wise you can begin gaining practical experience right away. That is why we are committed to remaining small in number. But don’t expect to do your part and leave the rest to someone else. At UVa-Wise, we ALL work on WHOLE show. So, be ready to put down your script and pick up a hammer! The experience makes all the difference.


The Theater Arts program at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise is committed to fostering an understanding of theater as an integrated, collaborative art form that strives for a communal imagining of what it means to be human. We hold that the practice and experience of theatrical form founds an experiential understanding which engenders empathy and compassion. It is our endeavor to bring this theatrical way of knowing to the larger college community. We strive to make these aspirations our foremost intent, realized persistently through our interactions and undertakings-placing the good of the community and its work above any personal interest we may reap from it.

Theatre RehearsalProductions

The Division of Theater Arts produces at least two productions each semester of the school year. Additional productions are often mounted by students and faculty as interest suggests. All productions are open to all students and, at times, also include members of the faculty, staff, and/or the community at large, where appropriate. They are intended to represent a variety of styles, genres, and forms of theater and to demonstrate, within the college community, the larger cultural function that theater serves. Concurrently, these productions are intended to provide opportunities for students to apply skills and techniques, learned in class-work, to a fully realized theatrical production. These opportunities span all elements of production work including performance, management, design, technical theater, and public relations.

Theatre Course WorkCourse Work

Students are challenged to explore and practice various elements of theatrical production while studying the forms, techniques, theories, histories, and philosophies which found them. Theater course-work is rigorously interdisciplinary and a well-rounded theater student requires an extent of knowledge and skill-sets from a variety of disciplines. Theater students don’t just study these various disciplines; they apply learning through theatrical productions.  Theater students gain real-world experience and practice in operational analysis, organizing, planning, budgeting, scheduling, production-deadlines, written and verbal communication, problem solving, teamwork, and the complex operational execution required to synchronize lighting, sound, scenery, and actors in performance.

Some of our most popular courses include:

Acting Techniques Theater History Lighting Design
Magic Theater Aesthetics Scenic Design
Directing Performance Studies Voice & Speech
Puppetry Stagecraft Production and Management