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Theatre students on stage.

Theatre Arts

Tell a story. Bring it to life. Change the world. Whether you’re passionate about acting, writing, set design, or literally lighting up the stage, McDaniel’s Theatre Arts program trains you in all the disciplines that go into creating theatrical experiences.

Degree Types
Major , Minor
Complementary Programs
Distinctive Requirements
Special Benefits
Senior year headshots (included), Stage Combat training

Because McDaniel has a full and active production slate, you’ll learn about theoretical aspects of theatre arts in our classrooms, and then get the chance to apply them on the stage, in real-life productions.

We choose our production season carefully to align with courses being taught in the department. So you might learn about classical acting styles in one semester, and in the following semester help produce a Greek drama or a piece from Shakespeare.

You might learn about realism in classes like History of Western Theatre, Acting, and Creating a Character — and then use those theories and skills in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire, a piece of classic realism.

Whatever your passion, our department is essentially a giant laboratory to help you hone your craft and build your skills (and have a lot of fun in the process).

Future Career Paths

Graduates of the Theatre Arts program have gone on to well-respected graduate programs and to careers in:

  • Acting
  • Technical direction
  • Costume design
  • Lighting and electrical design
  • Music direction
  • Stage management
  • Teaching

Distinctive Courses

THE 1111 - Stagecraft

An introduction to the theory and practice of stagecraft in the live theatre. This course concentrates on the machines, materials and methods used by the theatre technician to accomplish the set and prop designs of a play. This course will concentrate on stage carpentry, prop construction, scene painting, and stage management. The course is a combination of lecture and shop work and requires backstage participation.

THE 2274 - Drama Therapy

Drama Therapy is a group process emphasizing play, spontaneity, embodiment, relatedness and role flexibility. This course will use experiential ways of learning both the theory and processes of drama therapy. Drama therapy techniques can be used to work with groups in clinical, educational, corporate and social service settings. The course is especially useful for (1) theatre arts students who are interested in applying their skills to “real world” situations, and (2) for social work, psychology, education, communication or business students who wish to learn embodied, spontaneous ways to approach group process and conflict.

ENG 3350 - Shakespeare

A survey of Shakespeare’s major poetic and dramatic works. In addition to background on Shakespeare’s life and the Elizabethan theatre, the early portion of the course covers the narrative poem Venus and Adonis and the Sonnets. The remainder of the course is dedicated to the study of major comedies from Love’s Labors Lost to The Tempest, history plays from Richard II to Henry V, and the major tragedies.

THE 4450 - Directing

This course allows the student to apply principles of staging the play to projects designed to provide experience in approaching the particular problems of the director. The course culminates in a public performance of a short (ten minute) play chosen in collaboration with the instructor.

Special Opportunities

Senior Capstone

Theatre Arts major Najee Banks ’17 talks about his senior capstone—his role in the musical Hair as the culmination of his theatre training at McDaniel.

Maryland Ensemble Theatre, Gene and Alex Closeup.

Theatre Arts Internships

Earn credit for interning or working with professional theatre groups. Gain "work-place" experience in the theatre or a closely related enterprise, like production management, stage management, design and technology, acting, directing, box office, promotion, casting, dramaturgy, or children's theatre. 

Student-Directed Play Festival

McDaniel students have the opportunity direct one-act plays with student actors during the College's Student-Directed Play Festival presented by the Department of Theatre Arts. Video was filmed and edited by Cinema major Mackenzie Greene.

The McDaniel Commitment in Action

The McDaniel Commitment—a series of opportunities guaranteed to all students—provides enhanced mentoring and coaching, and ensures every undergraduate student completes at least two meaningful experiential learning opportunities.

A student in a yellow shirt and grey cardigan stands outside in front of a row of cherry blossom trees.

Meet a Green Terror Class of 2024: Tyra Pritchett Theatre Arts Minor

"I’m very active on the theatre side of campus. I’ve been involved in 11 productions and took on roles such as actor and stage manager. I’ve been singing with McDaniel’s College Choir and a cappella groups for all four years."

Student Kim Parson at the lightboard in the theatre.

In the Spotlight for Lighting Design Bright Futures

“There is a beauty to stage lighting — it’s a work of art. The time and effort that goes into it is very inspirational,” says Kim Parson, a junior Theatre Arts major who was awarded a 2022 Collier Robert Woods, Jr. Scholarship to support her passion for lighting design. Then, in 2024, Parson participated in the United States Institute for Theatre Technology Gateway Program in mid-March and was chosen to represent region II in lighting design at the national Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival after competing at the regional level in January.

Christopher Molloy, National Bohemian brand manager, and Boh, the mascot

Christopher Molloy ’10

As brand manager for National Bohemian, Christopher "C-Mo" Molloy '10 serves as the point man, reminding consumers in and around Baltimore that the beer is still here, still cold and still a reminder that life is good.

Peter Mark Kendall '08

Alumni Spotlight Peter Mark Kendall 2008, Theater Arts

From stage to screen, Peter Mark Kendall has made a mark as a professional actor, on shows like Strange Angels, Girls, and The Americans.

News for Theatre Arts

  • From Bridgerton to X-Men: students 3D print theatre props and accessibility tools

    What do a prop gun and a fidget spinner have in common? They can both be 3D printed! In Theatrical 3D Printing & Props, Assistant Professor Shana Joslyn teaches students the ins and outs of 3D printing, and they use it to create props inspired by their favorite shows and movies. To demonstrate how these technological skills apply to many fields, the class connects with McDaniel's Student Accessibility and Support Services office to create accessibility items for the campus community.
  • McDaniel College Theatre Arts department presents Steve Martin's "The Underpants"

    McDaniel College Theatre Arts department presents comic actor and author Steve Martin's "The Underpants." Performances are Thursday, April 25-Saturday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m., on the Mainstage Theatre in WMC Alumni Hall. Note: the show contains adult material and is intended for mature audiences.
  • Senior’s passion for lighting design earns her national recognition

    Senior Theatre Arts major Kim Parson participated in the United States Institute for Theatre Technology Gateway Program in mid-March and was chosen to represent region II in lighting design at the national Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival after competing at the regional level in January.