Mission & Overview

Vision Statement

We make art. The arts make us. The arts sustain life.

Diversity Statement

The Department of Theatre & Dance believes diversity, equity, inclusion and access are foundational values in both education and artmaking.  The faculty and staff collectively realize our need to develop new awarenesses and re-examine past practices in order to better manifest these values.  Therefore, we commit to embracing diverse perspectives, re-evaluating our assumptions and lenses, and making responsive change within our department.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Appalachian State University is to facilitate transformative experiences for students and the public, which cultivate compassionate, creative and collaborative communities through theatre and dance.

Program Overview

Theatre and Dance is one of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts at Appalachian State University. The Department of Theatre and Dance endorses the university's mission is to provide "a well-rounded liberal education and the opportunity to pursue a special field of inquiry" and "to promote the intellectual, cultural and personal development of its students" and "to serve as a center of cultural and professional activity within its state and region."


The fundamental purposes of the Department of Theatre and Dance are:

  1. To serve the needs of and provide for the education and preparation of students in theatre and dance in three distinct populations: students who wish to become public school teachers, students who wish to pursue theatre or dance as a vocation, and students who wish to pursue theatre or dance as an avocation;
  2. To provide leadership and collaborative ensemble training and skills in support of a broad liberal arts education for students who elect graduate training or vocations in other fields;
  3. To provide the Appalachian student with opportunities for exposure to theatre and dance productions and to encourage in that student an appreciation of theatre and dance as art forms basic to a liberal arts education;
  4. To provide theatre and dance experiences of high quality for departmental students, the wider University community, and the region;
  5. To continually evaluate and adapt course offerings and degree programs as student interest demands and as faculty and staff become available; and
  6. To participate in and be supportive of interdisciplinary collaborations that result in creative experiences.

To achieve these purposes the Department of Theatre and Dance engages in an academic program that provides course work and programs leading to a B.A. in Dance Studies or Theatre Arts, a B.S. in Teaching Theatre Arts leading to licensure, minors in either discipline as well as offering courses to meet general education requirements. The academic program is enhanced by a strong co-curricular production program that requires the faculty to engage in creative activity encompassing fully mounted theatre, dance, and touring productions that serve as an outreach component to the region and the state. Student-produced, faculty-supervised laboratory productions also provide co-curricular learning experiences.

Co-curricular productions are an important and integrated part of academic learning in Theatre and Dance. Annual productions include:

  • 4 faculty directed mainstage productions in the Valborg Theatre. Currently, we offer 2 mainstage dance concerts and 3 mainstage theatre shows in the Valborg Theatre. While the dance program typically showcases original choreography, the theatre productions are selected from proposals proposed by faculty and students.
  • Several studio productions; these are faculty directed plays that are appropriate for a small black- box venue. 
  • 1st Year Showcase: This production is only for freshman students and offers an opportunity for all students interested in Theatre or Dance to create a performance together in the early fall.
  • Theatre for youth performances produced by Appalachian Young People's Theatre. The AYPT spring production is toured to elementary schools throughout Western North Carolina. BEANS TALK: A Cow, Some Beans, and a Boy Named Jack.
  • Playcrafters, the student theatre club produces The New Play Festival, featuring 2- 3 original, student written, one-act plays each year.
  • Momentum, the student dance club, produces a concert to raise the profile of dance on campus; their original choreography showcases contemporary student dances each winter.
  • Occasional co-productions with professional companies or guest artists, i.e.
  • Every two to three years, the Department of Theatre and Dance produces a musical production as part of the mainstage season; these are often done in collaboration with the School of Music. 

Faculty and students are involved in many professional organizations that promote additional training and professional growth opportunities. The list includes but is not limited to the following:

  • National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD)
  • North Carolina Dance Alliance (NCDA)
  • Body Mind Centering® Association
  • Conference for Research on Dance
  • American College Dance Festival Association
  • National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST)
  • The United States Institute for Theatre Technology
  • The United States Institute for Theatre Technology-Southeast Section
  • Association for Theatre in Higher Education
  • Southeastern Theatre Conference
  • North Carolina Theatre Conference
  • American Alliance for Theatre and Education
  • Alexander Technique International
  • Kennedy Center - American College Theatre Festival ---- Region IV

Degree Offerings


Bachelor of Arts, Dance Studies

The BA degree is designed for the student who seeks a liberal arts education and plans a career in dance or is preparing for graduate school. Many students in dance choose to double major, combining their love of dance with their passion in another field of study.


The mission of the Dance Studies major encourages students to take an integrative approach to dance training while making cross-disciplinary connections between dance and other fields of study.


The vision of the Dance Studies curriculum is to prepare dance students to pursue to the following interests related to dance: teaching dance, performing, pursuing graduate work in dance or related fields and/or to pursue dancing as an avocation.

Program Goals

  • Technique: Students demonstrate the physical understanding of dance movement.
  • Theory: Students demonstrate the ability to identify and work conceptually within the discipline of dance.
  • Integration: Students can recognize and apply the choreographic process and aesthetic properties of dance.
  • Synthesis: Students engage in independent thinking and learning through self-motivated research and performance.

Bachelor of Arts, Theatre Arts

The BA degree is designed for the student who seeks a liberal arts education and plans a career in theatre or is preparing for graduate school. Further training is recommended beyond this degree such as a graduate school, studio work, study in England, NYC or an internship with a professional theatre or dance company. There are four possible Theatre concentrations: General, Performance, Theatre Education or Design /Technology.


The Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre Program is to prepare students for careers in theatre and related fields and/or to prepare students for graduate studies in theatre. 


Within the vibrant tradition of the liberal arts, the Theatre BA program's vision is to provide students with a solid foundation in three major elements of theatre: 1) the text and the ideas it expresses; 2) the stage environment, including all the major visual and aural elements; 3) the actor's body that conveys the ideas of the text within the stage environment. Each student has the freedom to further their individual goals and interests by taking advanced, specialized theatre courses and participating in co-curricular activities.

Program Goals

Both inside and outside the classroom, theatre faculty and staff foster student learning and development by focusing on three active-learning competencies – the ability to:

  1. Analyze – Students are expected to develop and demonstrate their abilities to:
    1. Analyze scripts and texts critically and methodologically.
  2. Create – Students are expected to develop and demonstrate their abilities to:
    1. Students will be able to analyze texts using methods specific to purpose.
    2. Students will be able to create theatrical products utilizing appropriate methodologies.
    3. Articulate their rationales for choices made in creative processes.
  3. Collaborate – Students are expected to develop an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of theatre and demonstrate their abilities to:
    1. Students will be able to solve creative challenges within collaborative frameworks.