Matt Smith and Dean Michael Hood in China SPECIALIZING – Matt Smith fakes a punch at former Dean of Fine Arts Michael Hood during a four-day stage combat workshop Smith helped teach at the Nanjing University of the Arts in Nanjing, China. “I not only furthered my experience as a teacher of stage combat, but also experienced an entirely new culture,” said Smith, who started a stage combat club at IUP.

What's Happening for Theater and Dance Majors

Theater and dance majors can engage in campus activities that support creative endeavors outside the classroom.

Performing Arts Companies

Theater and dance majors become members of a professionally modeled theater or dance company beginning their very first semester.

Theater-by-the-Grove, produced by the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance, presents several productions each year, including a co-production of a major musical with the Department of Music. Theater-by-the-Grove stages four productions each year, and the IUP Dance Theater Company performs two fully produced works.

IUP Dance Theater is produced by the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance and presents two major concert programs annually.

Footlight Players is a youth theater program hosted by the IUP Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance. It offers a month-long summer program for ages 7–17 led by professional teaching artists assisted by IUP student interns.

SPATE is an ensemble that gives our students experience in the emerging field of simulated applied theater. We currently provide simulations for nursing and allied health, food and nutrition, large-scale trauma and crisis response, and other areas.

  • The Acorn Project

The Acorn Project provides a developmental environment for student actors, designers, playwrights, and directors who wish to create original performance projects in ensemble.

Freshman Talent Scholarships

Awarded to select incoming freshman theater, musical theater, or dance arts majors based on their major audition and interview demonstrating exceptional talent in performance or design/tech/management. $500–$1,000.

Green Room

The Green Room, located on the ground floor of Waller Hall, is a gathering place for faculty, students, and staff. Relax with colleagues, or begin a creative collaboration in a safe, supportive atmosphere.

Acorn Project

The Acorn Project provides a developmental environment for actors, designers, playwrights, and directors who wish to create original performance projects in ensemble. Apply to produce a staged reading of a new play, an improvisational event, or a play that has captured your imagination.

Joe York, alumnus

“At IUP, I went in as a musical theater actor, but I discovered writing plays was what I wanted to do. I wrote four musicals, three of them full-length, that were performed.”

—Joe York '12, BA in Musical Theater with a minor in Dance; MFA '14 from NYU in Musical Theater–Playwriting; has performed in professional shows in New York, NY and in Washington, DC.


Theater-by-the-Grove, based on the professional resident theater model, produces a season of four plays and musicals plus many Acorn Project productions in the studio theater. Auditions are open to all IUP students.


Unique productions for the university and community featuring special guests.

Summer Theater-by-the-Grove

A professional company in residence for advanced student experience, a youth theater company (Footlight Players) for teaching artist experience, and “Acorn Projects” for student-created ensembles to have 24/7 development of their creative work.

IUP Dance Theater Company

IUP Dance Theater Company is modeled after a professional touring dance company and creates concerts with an emphasis on modern dance styles, often in collaboration with live music ensembles. Students have the opportunity to train and dance with professional artists in residence through the Lively Arts.

Footlight Players

For four weeks each summer, professional teaching artists and student interns offer a full-day program, Monday through Friday, for children 7 to 17.