Theatre Program

In Theatre we tell stories by pretending to be the characters in the story. And we work to reach out to each person individually and collectively in the audience and remind her that we’re all human together. For example, when someone laughs at a joke written by Shakespeare or Plautus, we know that people share in a common humanity that transcends each individual. Theatre done well constructs community.

Studying and experiencing theatre also can prepare you for life. Theatre majors develop the critical thinking skills, creativity, communication skills, deadline skills, and group-work skills that all employers want -- both in and out of show business.

As a theatre major at Alvernia University, you’ll experience first hand the challenges and rewards of theatre production and performance. You’ll build relationships with your peers and learn how to solve problems and improvise. You’ll develop the skills of time management and establishing priorities while gaining a valuable, well rounded education.

In the Alvernia tradition, you’ll also learn the importance of diversity of thought, faiths and cultures, and be challenged to shape and transform the world as a working professional, concerned citizen and caring member of the greater community.

Cast of Electra


Why should you study theatre at Alvernia University?
Because you will not be part of a “cookie-cutter” training program. Unlike being in a larger program, you will have more opportunities for “mainstage” work either on or off stage.

Small Class Size
Alvernia has an average 12:1 student-faculty ratio, with fewer than 20 students in most classes. This facilitates valuable, professional relationships among faculty members and students. In these small class settings, you get individual attention to help you excel.

Faculty Who Care
Alvernia’s faculty members aren’t just teachers. They’re experts in their fields who are committed to passing along their knowledge and expertise to their students. In small class settings faculty members become mentors and advisors, intent on helping you learn, grow and succeed.

Research Opportunities
Theatre majors may have opportunities to work with faculty members on research projects relating to their areas of concentration. This collaboration prepares students for professions and/or graduate school.

Honors Program
Alvernia’s Honors Program for students who are academically gifted and highly motivated is designed to allow students to work at their own pace and to recognize and encourage academic excellence. Honors students interact with one another to exchange ideas and information across a wide range of disciplines and interests.

The Honors Program offers co-curricular activities, service opportunities and intellectual and social support to encourage students to exceed their own expectations. Learn more about Alvernia’s Honors Programs at

Get Real
Classroom learning is valuable and necessary, but out-of-the-classroom, experiential learning provides theatre students with hands-on, real world learning opportunities that enrich your educational experience and are highly valued by employers.

You’ll have opportunities for experiences such as internships, co-ops, clinical experiences, field experiences, community service and campus events. Participating in these types of experiences help you stretch and grow toward your full potential.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Get Real program at

Study Abroad
Living and studying outside of the United States can change you in ways you can’t begin to envision. Students who study abroad typically gain immeasurable confidence and experiences they could not have imagined.

Many theatre majors have benefitted from participation in a Study Abroad program in countries including New Zealand, Italy, Spain, England, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Morocco, Palestine, China and Mexico.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Study Abroad program at


Not every theatre major graduates with the goal of becoming an actor or designer. Earning a degree in theatre from Alvernia University can help prepare you for a variety of careers, ranging from acting to producing to business. You might seek employment in public relations, prop design and construction, arts operations, or become an entrepreneur.

For more information about Alvernia’s theatre program contact the Admissions Office at 1-888-ALVERNIA or 610-796-8269 or   For information on what possiblities are available for a Theatre major, visit and search on performing arts.  Information on employment opportunites may be found at the Entertainment Careers website.  Many theatre graduates continue with further study, with additional information found at URTA (University Resident Theatre Association).

Scene from


All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree, and theatre majors must complete 48 credits in the major.

Required courses for theatre majors are:
THR 142 Creativity Workshop
THR 155 Introduction to Acting
THR 156 Theatrical Production and Design
THR 350 Directing for the Stage
THR 355 Theatre History
THR 356 Theatre History II
THR 357 Behind the Curtain
THR 404 Arts Operations
THR 434 Senior Production Workshop

Choose from one of the two following 9-credit options:
THR 255 Intermediate Acting
THR 360 Advanced Acting/Directing (must be repeated for 6 credits)

Design/Technical Theatre:
THR 244 Computer-Assisted Design
THR 357 Behind the Curtain (must be repeated for 6 credits)

English electives, 6 credits. Recommend 2 from:
ENG 213 Modern Drama
ENG 302 Shakespeare: Histories and Comedies
ENG 303 Shakespeare: Tragedies and Romances

Related electives, 6 credits. Recommend 1 from art and 1 from music:
ART 101 Drawing I
ART 103 Color and Design
ART 105 Art Appreciation
ART 215 Art: Prehistoric through Middle Ages
ART 217 Art: Renaissance to Present
MUS 121 Introduction to Music
MUS 135 Music Theory
MUS 222 Multicultural Music
MUS 224 Broadway Musicals
MUS 331 Women in the Arts
MUS 333 Music History

Majors are also advised to take 4 credits of THR 134 (Theatre Workshop) as free electives.

You can learn more about all courses offered by Alvernia University by viewing the 2015-2016 Academic Course Catalogue at

Your Real World Learning Experience
Alvernia believes that real world experience is extremely important, as it can improve your confidence and introduce you to professionals in your intended field of employment.

All Alvernia students participate in service learning, a teaching and learning experience that enables students to get real-world learning while benefiting a community partner. For example, one of our majors directed a play at an area high school.

Theatre majors also are encouraged to spend a semester in an internship – possibly with the Washington Center or other agency.

If you participate in The Washington Center program, you can gain practical experience by working in a Congressional office; government agency; or an agency devoted to legal affairs, international relations or business and economic issues. Or, you may have an opportunity to intern with a non-profit organization that addresses the arts or other public policy concerns. Students typically participate in The Washington Center program during their junior year.

You can learn more about the Washington Center and opportunities available there at Also, you can find out more about real world learning at

Research Opportunities
Research is a valuable aspect of any education. Theatre majors may have opportunity to assist faculty members who conduct research and write on a variety of complex topics, including the history of Russian theatre.

The Honors Program
If you’re academically gifted and highly motivated, you may want to learn more about Alvernia’s Undergraduate Honors Program. Honors students have opportunities to take courses dealing with unusual topics and participate in a variety of activities. You can learn more about the Honors Program and how to apply at

The Eight-Semester Plan
You can do it! It’s easy to stay on track to graduate in four years if you pay close attention to what classes you need and make sure to take them in a timely manner. Advisors are available to assist in planning academic programs, course selection and registration, but it’s your job to make sure that you meet all academic requirements and comply with University policies.

Start planning well in advance for any field placements, study abroad or other off-campus experiences, as you’ll need to assure that you will be able to complete all required coursework.

Study Opportunities beyond Campus
Your college years are the perfect time to broaden your horizons and participate in experiences that will change your life. Alvernia offers some great opportunities for students who want to spend some time studying beyond its campus.

In addition to spending a semester at the Washington Center, you might want to consider a semester abroad.

Study Abroad Programs
Studying in a different country can be life changing. Imagine learning about Shakespearean theatre in the bard’s homeland, or studying Roman history while living in that ancient city. Alvernia’s Study Abroad Office works closely with students who want to spend one or more semesters in a different country. Theatre students have studied and traveled in, among other countries, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand and England.

You pay the regular Alvernia tuition while studying abroad, and continue to receive financial aid, if applicable. Credits earned count toward your Alvernia undergraduate degree.

If you’re interested in studying in another country you should start planning early, as you’ll need to start the application process about a year in advance.

You can get more information about these programs from the Study Abroad Office at or by contacting

Year-by-Year Major Map


Think Globally

  • Explore opportunities for study abroad, alternative break trips, pilgrimage to Assisi, the Washington Center and service trips
  • Start at the Study Abroad Office or

Take the Right Classes

  • Review general education, University and major requirements
  • Be aware of which semester required courses are offered
  • Focus on getting good grades

Get Good Advice

  • Get to know theatre faculty and your advisor
  • Participate in a play
  • Visit the Educational Planning Center on the first floor of Bernardine Hall

Real Life Learning

  • Explore opportunities for upcoming field placements
  • Utilize skills acquired in First Year Experience

Make the Right Connections

  • Identify peers that support your academic goals
  • Get involved by joining the Theatre Club. Consider getting involved with the Student Government Association, or join some of the many other student clubs and community organizations

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Develop a working resume
  • Assess strengths, weaknesses and interests
  • Begin the process of obtaining all required background checks and clearances


Think Globally

  • Review opportunities for extended learning and, if applicable, start planning with the Study Abroad Office

Take the Right Classes

  • Make sure you’ve reviewed which semester required courses are available
  • Focus on getting good grades

Get Good Advice

  • Talk to theatre faculty and your advisor about your career interests and how to identify opportunities that may enhance your chances of finding a job in that area
  • Learn about off-campus theatrical/artistic opportunities throughout the greater Berks County area
  • Stay in touch with the Educational Planning Center

Real Life Learning

  • Look into the Alternative Break program
  • Shadow in jobs that relate to your specific interests
  • Look for part-time or summer jobs that relate to your interests
  • Get familiar with the Educational Planning Center’s Internship data base

Make the Right Connections

  • Volunteer for community service
  • Stay involved in clubs and organizations
  • Observe the roles of those in leadership positions
  • Form study groups

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Update working resume
  • Assess strengths, weaknesses and interests
  • Complete the process of obtaining all required background checks and clearances


Think Globally

  • Participate in Study Abroad program, if applicable
  • Participate in service trips or “May”mester

Take the Right Classes

  • Participate in theatrical productions on and off campus, if applicable
  • Focus on getting good grades and improving GPA
  • Consult with your advisor to make sure you’re on track to graduate on time

Get Good Advice

  • Talk to faculty members about career or graduate school opportunities
  • Stay in touch with the Educational Planning Center
  • Get familiar with, a career services library available on Educational Planning Center’s website

Real Life Learning

  • Look into the Alternative Break program
  • Shadow in jobs that related to your specific interest
  • Look for part-time or summer jobs that relate to your interests

Make the Right Connections

  • Assume leadership roles on campus
  • Connect with alumni in your field

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Get feedback on your working resume from the Educational Planning Center
  • Get resume ready for practicum applications and job fairs
  • Work on getting recommendations
  • Attend Career Planning opportunities such as job fairs and practice interviews
  • Look for coaching opportunities


Think Globally

  • Look for service opportunities

Take the Right Classes

  • Successfully complete your Senior Production Workshop
  • Make sure you’ve completed all the necessary courses

Get Good Advice

  • Work closely with your advisor to make sure you’re on track to graduate on time
  • Stay in touch with the Educational Planning Center
  • Talk to faculty members about career or graduate school opportunities
  • Ask for advice from professionals in your area of interest

Real Life Learning

  • Participate in off-campus activities, such volunteering with an Alvernia community partner

Make the Right Connections

  • Continue in leadership roles on campus
  • Connect with alumni in your field
  • Attend campus events at which alumni are present
  • Meet professionals in the community who work in your area of interest

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Fine tune your resume
  • Search for jobs through
  • Finalize recommendations
  • Attend Career Planning opportunities such as job fairs and practice interviews
  • Attend the Alvernia Job Fair

Alvernia is committed to serving the needs of its students. Whether you have questions or problems related to academics, life on campus, student activities, social activities or any other issue, there is someone available to help you. You can learn more about all student services at

Educational Planning Center
The Educational Planning Center offers advice and support to help you with any problems or issues related to your Alvernia education. It also assists with career exploration and preparation. The office is open every day and can be contacted at 610-796-8266.

Career Services
Staff members at the Career Development office will help you with any questions you have about exploring or planning careers. They also will guide you about how to look for and apply to jobs as you get closer to graduation. The office also has a career resources library. You can learn more about career services at, or by emailing

Financial Aid
The Financial Aid office is the place to contact with any questions you have about the cost of an Alvernia education and options for paying for it. Nearly all undergraduates at Alvernia get some type of financial aid, and everyone is encouraged to apply for it. You can learn more at or by emailing

Admissions Office
If you’re interested in applying to the theatre program at Alvernia, contact the Admissions Office at 610-796-3011 or at

Faculty Members
Alvernia’s theatre program is staffed by dedicated, highly qualified professionals who are committed to sharing their expertise and knowledge with students. The primary theatre professor is a professional actor with an extensive performance background. Faculty members often work one-on-one with students to enhance the student’s learning experience, and serve as mentors to aspiring students.

Theatre faculty members are engaged in research, have written books and chapters of books, produced articles that have appeared in prestigious publications and presented nationally and internationally at conferences.

You can learn more about Alvernia theatre professors and their impressive backgrounds and credentials at


There is so much more to college than classes, and theatre majors at Alvernia have some excellent opportunities to get involved in activities that are both enjoyable and provide beneficial, hands-on experience. Students who get involved and engaged in extra-curricular activities benefit both academically and socially, and open themselves to integral life lessons from beyond the classroom.

You’ll be encouraged to participate in a range of activities, including some rewarding and inspiring service projects. Some organizations and activities you might enjoy include:

  • Theatre productions. Alvernia Theatre has the nickname “Pacelli’s Orphans” – honoring Sister Mary Pacelli and Alvernia’s history as an orphanage. Our motto is “Alvernia Theatre – Changing the World One Act at a Time.” Francis Hall Theatre is an intimate venue that prepares students for work they will do after leaving Alvernia. All theatre majors participate in productions. Productions range from classic plays like Electra and Romeo and Juliet to world and American premiere productions like The Phoenix Always Returns Home and Tales of Shoogilly. Alvernia Theatre was honored recently by an invitation to perform Low Level Panic at a regional Theatre Festival in Ohio.
  • Alvernia University Chorus. Students who are musical enjoy performing in the Alvernia chorus, either for credit or as a non-credit activity.
  • You can learn more about Alvernia’s Student Government Association, becoming a Student Ambassador, joining the Residence Hall Association, student trips and other activities at
  • The Holleran Center for Community Engagement serves as a bridge between the University and the community. The Center partners with a variety of organizations to provide Alvernia students with opportunities to serve. You can read more about volunteer opportunities at

Theatre majors work for community organizations, educational and cultural institutions, production companies, performing arts organizations, theme parks, film companies, entertainment law firms and cruise lines.

Some career opportunities for theatre majors include:

  • Acting coach
  • Actor
  • Technical director
  • Artistic director
  • Director
  • Drama critic
  • Scenic designer
  • Production manager
  • Theatre director
  • Dramaturg
  • Arts council director
  • Theatre educator
  • Drama therapist
  • Press agent
  • Publicist
  • Costume designer
  • Box office manager

While some theatre graduates seek employment immediately, others choose to continue their educations in pursuit of a master’s degree.

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