Created in 1977, IUP’s Department of Theater and Dance began with three faculty members and 20 majors and has grown to a full-time faculty of 10 with approximately 100 majors. In 1993, dance was added into the curriculum with the addition of two new dance faculty members.
The Department of Theater and Dance is dedicated to theater and dance as collaborative and highly disciplined fine arts that demand a broad-based undergraduate education. There is a Bachelor of Arts degree, a theater minor, and a dance minor. In addition, Interdisciplinary Fine Arts degrees in Music-Theater and Dance Arts have been recently added to the department curriculums.
Graduates have pursued graduate degrees in acting, playwriting, and all areas of design in addition to distinguishing themselves in professional theater, television, film, real estate, advertising, business, law, and education.
Our department provides academic service to the departments of English, Communications Media, Elementary Education, and Consumer Sciences, and to the Cook Honors College. Introduction to Theater, Introduction to Dance, and Introduction to Acting are an integral part of the university’s Liberal Studies curriculum.
The department has presented more than 150 productions under the auspices of Theater-by-the-Grove, numerous student-directed and -designed 10-minute, one-act, and full-length plays presented under the auspices of the Acorn Project, touring productions to regional high schools, children’s theater productions toured to area elementary schools, and dance productions with the Dance Theater Company. The department also offers a summer theater program for young people called
Waller Hall, which was completely renovated in 1988–89, is the primary home to the Department of Theater and Dance. In addition to the Mainstage Theater (a flexible “black box” performance space with a varying seating capacity up to 220), Waller houses a studio theater, classrooms, costume studio, scenery studio, dressing rooms, production storage, and offices.
Productions are also performed in adjacent Fisher Auditorium, which has a seating capacity of 1,400. These performances are usually musicals or dance concerts produced in conjunction with the Music Department. In 2008, the newly-built Performing Arts Center combined Waller Hall and Fisher Auditorium, providing further augmentation to programs and performances in both buildings.
Dance classes and yearly performances are usually held in the dance studio in Zink Hall, which has an approximate seating capacity of 270.
In spring 1995, the Department of Theater and Dance was granted membership with the National Association of Schools of Theatre. The department joins a select group of schools nationally with fully accredited programs in theater.