I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist. -John F. Kennedy


The Department of Theater at Case Western Reserve University is one of the first academic theater programs in the United States, founded in the 1930s by Barclay Leathem.  We are strongly committed to educating students in the art and technique of theater, developing artists who have a mastery of craft, breadth of vision, and liveliness of thought.

The liberal arts education we offer our Bachelor of Arts students provides a strong preparation for careers in the performing arts, and also in a variety of fields where interdisciplinarity, collaboration, and critical thinking are key components, while the Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts programs prepare students to become esteemed artists and leaders in their respective professional worlds.

The Addams Family, by Rick Elice, Marshall Brickman, and Andrew Lippa, 2015-16 Eldred Theater Season

We take great pride in our contributions to the university community as well as the local, national, and international artistic communities. These contributions include on-going efforts to develop knowledgeable, articulate, responsive audiences for drama, and for the arts in general; to place before our audiences a rich diversity of cultures, beliefs, and aesthetics; and to provide a stimulating and collaborative environment for the faculty and the students of our program to develop together as artists, scholars, teachers, and learners.

If you seek a world class education with many opportunities for scholarship assistance, study abroad experiences with prestigious institutions in the UK and elsewhere, and collaborations with top notch artistic institutions such as Cleveland Play House, we offer you the opportunity to become part of a university-based producing theater with integrity and a keen sense of artistic adventure. We are looking for a talented, motivated, and diverse group of students to take up the challenge and join our programs. Your journey as an artist is one we are eager to share as we reshape theater training in America and strive toward full recognition of the place of the artist and the arts in our society.

Department F.A.Q.

1. How many productions does the department produce per year? 
Four productions are produced during the academic year on the two venues at Maltz Performing Arts Center (MPAC), the Roe Green proscenium theater, and the Walter and Jean Kalberer black box theater.  The CWRU/CPH MFA Conservatory Ensemble produces at least two productions a year at Cleveland Play House, which sometimes include undergraduates and guest artists.

2. Are freshmen and non-majors allowed to perform in productions? 
Yes!  Departmental productions are open to the entire university community (students, faculty/staff, and alumni).  Unified auditions are held at the beginning of the semester for the Fall semester shows; and in November for the Spring semester productions.  As mentioned, casts are supplemented from time-to-time with guest artists and special appearances by faculty.

3. Are there other opportunities for student performance? 
Student performing groups, such as the department-sponsored Players’ Theater Group, offer opportunities for performance outside of the Department of Theater. Within the department, there are often performance opportunities in directing capstone projects, senior honors projects, and student-initiated theater projects.  The department also sponsors the noted student-run improvisation group IMPROVment.

4. Can you double-major or minor in Theater? 
Yes! Students within the College of Arts and Sciences may choose from any number of majors along with the Theater major. Students from other schools in the university can also double-major as long as their programs allow it.

5. Are there scholarships available? 
Yes!  Financial aid includes discipline-specific scholarships in Theater and Creative Achievement Scholarships for undergraduates, and tuition remission and fellowships for graduate students.  Please see the Undergraduate and Graduate Program pages for specific information.

6. How many students are currently majoring in Theater? 
The department has an average of 40 to 50 majors, and 20 to 30 minors, in any given cohort, ensuring hands-on experience and frequent contact with professors, but with enough diversity to try and represent the wide-breadth of our university community.

7. How does the graduate program interact with the undergraduate program? 
Undergraduate students take classes at MPAC and Clark Hall, while Master of Fine Arts students study at Cleveland Play House.  Master of Arts students take courses at a mixture of the two locations.  As mentioned, undergraduates often have the opportunity to perform in roles at the Play House in graduate ensemble productions and participate in workshops held by guest artists at the Play House, depending on the production needs each season.  In addition, design/tech and general theater concentrations have done internships at the Play House in stage management, artistic administration, and publicity, to name a few.  On rare occasions, MFA students have appeared in Eldred Theatre productions.