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Theatre Department Academics + Programs

Discover the academics and programs within the Theatre Department

Emporia State University began producing theatre in 1913, making us has one of the oldest theatre programs in the country. We have energetic students, enthusiastic community support and are proud to be a part of the Department of Communication and Theatre where our students receive individual attention from our committed and celebrated faculty. Here, students can earn a BFA or BA in theatre, or gain certification to become a secondary teacher in our BSE program in speech and theatre. And through our affiliation with the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, our students are part of a vital and thriving national theatre.

Undergraduate programs

Discover our undergraduate degrees, which include majors and minors in theatre and a teaching field degree.


There are three basic types of production in which the student may be involved as a member of the cast or crew: Department productions, Summer Theatre and Lab productions. Lab productions are short works usually generated by classes or student directors. They are not funded, require no technical support, and are presented in a variety of locations. Other student opportunities include:

Educational Theatre Company

Educational Theatre Company members perform plays, poetry, stories, novels, non-fiction, and original scripts before classes in all academic areas of the university. The company also provides its services to educational groups off campus. A student coordinator selected by the theatre faculty. Members of the company are selected by audition and are enrolled in TH 377 for academic credit.

ZOIKS! Improv Group

ZOIKS! is an affiliated student organization that receives funding support from ASG. Members rehearse weekly and perform throughout the year. Like ETC, they also present at schools, with civic groups and at other venues off-campus. Membership is by audition.

ESU Theatre Dance

Each semester, students in Theatre Dance classes present a public performance. Some of these performances are open to audition.

Directing scenes

Students enrolled in Directing (TH 426 and TH 526) present 10-minute plays and cuttings from full-length plays throughout the academic year. In addition to these department performance groups, theatre students often perform in scenes from the playwriting program in the English Department.

Pantomime and Nontraditional Theatre Society (PANTS)

PANTS is a devised theatre group based on the Neo Futurist idea “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” where members perform 30 plays in 60 minutes. Each play is written by the members of company and they present multiple performances each semester. Membership is by audition.

Alpha Psi Omega

This national theatre honorary provides opportunities for service and performance. The Nu Rho chapter re-organized in the spring of 2014 after many years of inactivity. Initiation is held annually in April to coincide with Shakespeare’s birthday.


The Theatre Department usually maintains several paid student staff positions. The number of positions varies due to the needs of the department. Positions are assigned between the Costume Shop, the Scene Shop, and the Director of Theatre. Work schedules are usually between 9 to 12 hours per week. Schedules are flexible. Students apply at the student employment office to secure a position. Theatre majors must satisfy the standards as required by the academic Eligibility Policy.

Work Study program

The student employment office along with the financial aid office will determine a student’s eligibility for the Federal Work Study Program. Some, but not all, positions will be available to students who qualify for work study funding.