Theatre is a collaborative art form. To perform is to step into the shoes of a character, to let go of inhibitions, and to dwell in a cooperative space.

Why study theatre arts at Sewanee?

Majoring in theatre arts at Sewanee will give you a strong foundation in all areas of study: acting, directing, design, history, and theory. You’ll expand your knowledge and experience by actively participating in full-production programs. You’ll also be encouraged to supplement your learning with complementary courses in other departments like English and psychology.

Competence on stage and behind the scenes and collaboration with your cast and crew exhibit more than just an understanding of theatre—they demonstrate the mastery of skills needed to live well in community with others. Here at Sewanee, theatre arts can help you be successful in life both on and off the stage.

FIRST DESTINATIONS: Theatre Arts MAJORS

Sewanee graduates secure positions in a variety of fields. Some you would expect, others, are a bit of a surprise. Sewanee prepares you for your profession and your passion. Below is a sampling of recent graduates' first jobs.

  • Actor, Tennessee Shakespeare Company, Germantown, Tennessee.
  • Brand planning intern, The Richards Group, Dallas, Texas.
  • Choreographer and head of movement/fight, Merrie Woode, Sapphire, North Carolina.
FELLOWSHIP IN THE ARTS

Students with exceptional promise in performing or studio arts can apply for a Fellowship in the Arts. These fellowships range in value from $10,000 to $25,000 per year, renewable for four years.

Let the Dream Begin

Sewanee theatre grad Jordan Craig, C’11, was on the verge of giving up acting. Then the Phantom called.

Jordan Craig, C’11, was on his way to a job interview when he got the phone call of a lifetime. At the time, he was working two jobs and was on a crowded bus in New York City en route to an interview for a third job when he answered a call from his agent. 

“My agent calls and asks what I’m doing,” Jordan says. “I’m a little discouraged at this point—almost ready to give up theatre altogether. Then my agent asks, ‘Would you rather not be going to that interview? How would you like to be in The Phantom of the Opera instead?’ I can’t remember exactly what happened in that moment, but I remember screaming in excitement and jumping off the bus at the next stop. Needless to say, I didn’t make it to that interview.”

Read More

A Sampling of Courses

Theatre Arts

Requirements & Related Programs

Requirements for the Major & Minor in Theatre Arts

Requirements for the Minor in Dance | Website

Meet Some Professors

Contact

Jennifer K. Matthews
Professor and chair of Theatre Arts

jmatthew@sewanee.edu

Tennessee Williams Center 21, Ext. 1126

Meet Lydia

Research can take many forms.

Lydia Klaus, a senior theatre major from Murfreesboro, TN, spent her summer doing research on the background and setting for Cabaret, a classic musical recently produced jointly by the Department of Theatre Arts and the Department of Music. Cabaret is set in Germany after World War I during the time of the Weimar Republic. A research assistantship awarded to Lydia through a program sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research and administered through the Office of Career and Leadership Development enabled her to spend her summer perusing books, films, and visual art in order to lend authenticity to the production, ultimately writing about 30 pages of reports. 

Lydia started out in the position of assistant costume designer to Professor Jennifer Matthews. She eventually took on the role of dramaturg for the production, serving as an “extra set of eyes” as the two searched and sorted through thousands of images in order to visualize each character. Matthews reports that Lydia was excellent at quickly digesting material and being able to distill the elements most helpful to her. Lydia’s retention of the material was invaluable when Matthews needed to recall precise information about details such as insignia, or types of shoes, or the nature of social scenes played out in the cabarets of Berlin. As dramaturg, Lydia was often called upon to answer general questions about the period. It was important to Lydia that she be prepared to share all of the information she had gathered without personal bias. In doing so, she was able to provide inspiration for the direction and the costume design. 

Lydia also acted in the production, playing the role of Fräulein Schneider. Once she graduates, she hopes to pursue a career in acting, but her experience as an assistant designer, a dramaturg, and as a costume technician has diversified her skill set, making her even more marketable. She says, “I have always been passionate about people and their stories, so researching for Cabaret has empowered me immensely. Not only have I had the opportunity to engage with the Berlin cabaret culture of the thirties, but I also know that there are other specialties in the theatre that can sustain me artistically aside from performance.”

Connecting the Dots