Bachelor of the Arts
Undergraduate majors in Drama at the University of Virginia enjoy a combination of a superb intellectual climate and a vital, engaging production program. The resources of this award-winning university are committed to providing every student with the benefits of a superior liberal arts education.
Majors are expected to participate in the production program and work as directors, actors, designers, stage managers, technologists, and playwrights. Students audition for roles in main stage and lab theatre productions and work on various projects, including acting in scenes for directing classes, staging work to be presented in other departments, constructing sets and costumes, and in some cases, serving as a designer on one or more of the main stage productions.
Requirements for Major
To declare a major in Drama contact please contact our undergraduate advisor Professor LaVahn Hoh.
Students may declare a Drama Major after completing the prerequisite: DRAM 2020- Acting I with a minimum passing grade of C. The total credits required for the major (including the prerequisite) is 33.
Performance (10 credits)
DRAM 2020 Acting I (3)
DRAM 3651 Directing I (3)
DRAM 3652 Production Management (3)
DRAM 3653 Production Lab: Stage Management (1-2)
History, Literature, Criticism (9 credits)
DRAM 3050 History of Theatre on Stage (3)
DRAM 3600 Modern American Drama (3)
Elect one 3 credit course from the following:
DRAM 3610 Modern European Drama (3)
DRAM 3070 African American Theatre (3)
DRAM 3080 Script Analysis (3)
or select another Dramatic Literature Course with approval of program director or advisor.
Design/Tech (8 credits)
Elect 4 credits each from two of four areas:
DRAM 2110 Lighting Technology (3) or
DRAM 4110 Lighting Design (3)
DRAM 2130 Production Lab (1)
DRAM 2210 Scenic Technology (3) or
DRAM 3210 Scenic Design (3)
DRAM 2230 Production Lab (1)
DRAM 2310 Costume Technology (3) or
DRAM 4310 Costume Design (3)
DRAM 2330 Production Lab (1)
DRAM 2620 Sound Design (3)
DRAM 2630 Production Lab: Sound (1)
Note: Production labs may be repeated up to four credits.
Synthesis (6 credits)
DRAM 2010 Image to Form (3)
DRAM 4910 Senior Seminar (3)
The Drama Department provides a menu of courses for undergraduate students interested in acting. The basic 3-course acting sequence anchors more specialized offerings, which include Voice for Theatre, Musical Theatre Performance, Movement for Theatre, Stage Combat, Audition, Script Analysis, Dialects, Theatre Makeup, and performance elements of Television Texts, Scripting and Directing, and Film and Television Texts.
Another relevant course is Acting Out, in which students are directed in special request monologues and scenes which are taken “on tour” to class sessions across university grounds.
While not a component for the major, dance courses are increasingly becoming a regular part of the Department’s offerings.
Additional courses may be available when second- and third-year graduate students bringing expertise to the program offer courses in those areas. Current and past offerings include Auditioning for the Stage, Acting for Film, Improvisation, Stage Combat, and Bogart’s Viewpoints.
Faculty members may also be available to work with students on an independent study basis. Performance faculty members, available outside of class hours, spend significant time every week coaching students for class projects, Department productions, Virginia Theatre Association auditions, and University/Resident Theatre Association Auditions for accredited graduate acting programs.
Performance opportunities include roles in main stage, lab theatre, and ad hoc productions, as well as scenes in directing classes and readings of new plays in playwriting classes.
The majority of performance-oriented guest artists provide workshops for undergraduate and graduate students.
The BA in Drama offers you the opportunity to explore every aspect of theatre arts.
Grounded in the theatre art of both the performer (DRAM 2020 Acting 1) and the development of a sound creative process of making theatre (DRAM 2010 Image to Form), you can fully immerse yourself in Design, Technology, and Management. Professional, working theatre artists/scholars make up the faculty in scenery, costume, lighting, sound, and production management fully supported by our graduate students.
Courses offered in all these areas, ranging from basic principles through full application to production, prepare you through experiential, hands-on projects.
In DESIGN classes and laboratories, you will learn to translate the play script to the 3D visual/aural world of the play. You will learn the basic skills and principles through paper projects which carry you into script analysis, research, drawing, drafting, color painting, model making, light and sound plots, and cueing. Each discipline teaches you professional industry standards of practice. Advanced coursework provides intense preparation and opportunity for your realized designs to be part of our production season before an audience.
In TECHNOLOGY classes and laboratories, you will learn how to translate the design to to the stage through the hands-on experience of actually making. This includes building, painting, and finishing scenery; creating props; cutting, sewing, and finishing costumes and accessories; hanging, focusing lights, wiring sound equipment, and operating control boards. These skills support our production season where you will see your projects on stage.
In PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT classes and laboratories, you will learn all aspects of leadership, responsibility for preparing for and recording all aspects of the rehearsal process, the role of each design and technology position, skills in collaboration and communication, preparation of detailed paper work and the development and execution of the production process from auditions through rehearsal, dress/tech and performance. Professional standards guide your laboratory work in fully realized production on our stages before an audience.
Through the art of theatre, we provide you every opportunity to fully explore creative problem solving that is the foundation of making theatre and developing strong leadership skills necessary for a successful future. Design, Technology, and Management.
Your faculty is ready and waiting to introduce you to the possibilities that await you, discuss your passions and enthusiasms, answer your questions and get you started.
SCENIC DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY: Tom Bloom, LaVahn Hoh & Steven Warner
COSTUME DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY: Gweneth West & Marcy Linton
LIGHTING DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY: Lee Kennedy
SOUND DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY: Michael Rasbury
PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT: Caitlin McCloud
Playwriting is an active and vital part of the Drama curriculum, and provides basic and advanced instruction in the craft. Playwriting I is open to all students and requires no past experience or training. This course provides an introduction to playwriting through guided exercises and culminates in a staged reading of selected scenes at the end of the semester.
For students who want to develop their playwriting skills, there are several advanced classes, and an undergraduate student may take as many as five playwriting classes while at U.Va. These advanced classes focus on the development of longer works and, again, culminate in staged readings of selected sections. Often these staged readings combine playwriting classes with directing or acting classes.
Beyond the classroom, there are many opportunities for the playwriting student to see his or her work on stage as part of our ongoing Lab Series of student productions. For those who want specialized training, independent study is also possible, where the playwright will work one-on-one with a faculty member to develop a longer work, a screenplay, or a teleplay.
The Playwriting program can thus provide a basic introduction to the craft as part of Liberal Arts studies, or provide advanced instruction for those who may want to pursue graduate study or professional work in the field.