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Woman and her child dance on stage
Rehearsal for the 2018 show Love Life. Photo by Robert Zimmerman.


Duke’s Department of Theater Studies is dedicated to scholarly and creative engagement with theater as a form of human expression. The department strives to produce enlightened artists and scholars who approach theater as both an art and a discipline for exploring and expressing the concerns and hopes of our human communities.

All auditions and classes are open to all undergraduates. Course offerings feature a wide variety of theater’s collaborative arts, with opportunities for students to pursue a major or minor in theater studies, or a minor in musical theater. Each semester’s faculty-directed mainstage show is also a class; students gain academic credit for participation onstage or backstage. Original student work, often begun in a dramatic writing class, is regularly presented by Duke Players, the department’s student branch.

This is complemented by professional productions and workshops of new plays hosted by Theater Studies, often in cooperation with Duke Performances. These professional projects offer students the opportunity to intern and learn from visiting artists and practitioners.

With the vast experience of its faculty in their own theater endeavors and scholarship, and the artists brought in to interact with students, the Theater Studies Department provides a rich environment and acts as a campus-wide resource for students with all levels of experience to both make and learn about theater.

A couple dances center stage with several bored onlookers looking on.
Fall 2018 mainstage production: "Dancing at Lughnasa," directed by Professor Ellen Hemphill. Photo by Les Todd.

Undergraduate Major or Minor

Theater Studies

Undergraduate Minor

Musical Theater