• Screen Acting students filming on set.
  • Theatre Performance students on stage in 19th-century costume taking feedback from director.
College of Performing Arts

Department of Theatre

» Welcome to the Department of Theatre

As a Chapman Theatre major, you will progress through a strong professional theatre curriculum with high-quality productions, all while enjoying the benefits of a liberal arts university located just a short drive from Hollywood and the vibrant SoCal performing arts community. Our students gain real-world experience from working onstage and backstage with industry professionals and renowned faculty in state-of-the-art facilities. And our entire team is dedicated to delivering an education with strong professional ethics that will empower you to pursue your chosen career path. 

Choose from our three degree programs, each tailored to your specific goals:

Each of these degrees gives you excellent preparation to attend graduate school or to start working in the industry directly after graduation. 

The Department of Theatre is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre.

students listening to instructor in a theatreTheatre Faculty

Our faculty aren’t just theatre professionals with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. They are also masters at the craft of teaching. 

And because of our low faculty-to-student ratio, you will get to know your teachers and have  personalized guidance and career planning from professionals who know your name.

 


Students acting in a production

Performance Opportunities

At Chapman, first-year students can audition for and perform in any production, including lead roles in:

  • Four or five main season productions a year, usually including a musical.These shows include professional directors and production designers.
  • Student-led theatrical productions across campus.
  • Film and television student productions at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.
  • Chapman Celebrates, the university’s annual Broadway-style fundraising showcase featuring undergraduate performers.

You will also have opportunities to perform in local theatres and productions across Southern California. There is a vibrant theatre scene in Orange County, and Los Angeles is a short drive or train ride away. 

We hope you can see a production for yourself! Visit our event calendar to view information and get tickets to upcoming theatre productions.


Facilities

You’ll have the opportunity to perform in front of large and intimate audiences in our on-campus venues. 

  • Entertainment Technology Centerhome to CoPA's production group. Students can take classes related to entertainment technology and have opportunities to create scenic, lighting, sound, and costume elements for all of the college's dance, opera, and theatre productions.
  • Musco Center for the Arts: an 88,000-square-foot venue with state-of-the-art technology to help enhance your hands-on theatre education. Musco Center boasts 1,044 seats on three levels and has been named one of the finest performance venues on the west coast. 
  • O.L. Halsell Foundation Studio Theatre: a black box theatre that is a flexible, fully-equipped space for both classes and performances and can seat up to 50 patrons.
  • Waltmar Theatre: a 244-seat performance and classroom space for students to hone their skills as professional artists.

Study Abroad

We encourage you to study abroad in one of our many study-abroad programs. Our Theatre Academy London program (TAL) is especially popular for Theatre Performance majors. You will study with some of London's leading theatre artists and earn academic major credit towards your degree.

Our London Theatre Tour is a popular interterm course for all types of theatre majors. You will attend British theatrical productions in London and Stratford, England, while developing visual literacy and critical analysis skills.

There are several other options, and we will work with you to find the right program to match your interests and goals.


Student Clubs and Organizations

Chapman has hundreds of student clubs and organizations. These range from academic to spiritual to cultural to just having fun. Some clubs that are popular with our department majors include:

  • Archetypes: Chapman's playwriting and screenwriting club where members can workshop their pieces and have them produced as staged readings or fully staged shows.
  • Chapman on Broadway: Provides performance opportunities in fully staged musicals, plays, revue shows and cabaret nights. Chapman on Broadway provides these opportunities to all majors, especially those who have a lifelong passion for theatre but chose another path as their official major.
  • CSOP: Chapman Student Org Productions: This collaborative body of student performance groups creates musicals each spring with high production value and opportunities to perform, direct, design and tech at professional levels.
  • C.A.S.T.: Coalition of Artistic Students of Theatre: C.A.S.T. is committed to igniting professionalism, unity and collaboration within the theatre community.
  • Guerrilla Shakespeare: Members produce a full production of a Shakespeare play every fall and a selection of scenes for a scene review every spring. Members also participate in monthly play readings and events focused on expanding our knowledge of Shakespeare’s works and classical acting.
  • Improv Incorporated: Chapman University's longest-running improvised comedy troupe, Improv Incorporated typically performs two live shows a month.
  • Primetime TVThis club helps students create their own series-based story line, bringing in producers, directors, writers, actors to talk about current shows they are working on. 
  • The Player's Society: Students work to help each other create one-of-a-kind theatrical productions.
  • USITT: For students interested in learning more about the backstage elements of the entertainment industry.

Admission and Tours

A typical cohort size of about 30 students means that admission to the Department of Theatre is very competitive. You can find more details about the application process on our How to Apply page, or check out the curriculum in our current catalog.

Want to learn more about Chapman? We are always available for tours and information sessions. We’d love to meet you!


Degree Programs

BFA in Screen Acting

BFA in Theatre Performance

BA in Theatre