Theatre Arts

Program Philosophy

We embrace theatre as both a fine and applied art.

As a fine art, theatre provides a means of contemplating, comprehending, and sharing observations, emotions, and knowledge of the human experience.

As an applied art, theatre can be as simple as a single artist performing for a small audience. However, theatre production is most often a complex undertaking that requires the participaton of an ensemble of artists. Therefore we strive to model theatre production as a collaborative act that requires theatre artists to research and develop a vast range of knowledge, skills and techniques. This allows them to shape and blend their varied crafts into a unified artistic expression that is unique to each theatre production.

We acknowledge that theatre crafts have a rich history and understand the study of theatre history is the foundation for our own artistic endeavors.

We acknowledge that elements of theatre are and have been influential in almost all human societies; that the study of theatrical artifacts and practices, both past and present, informs our artistic choices and provides an opportunity to better understand ourselves and others.

Application of Philosophy through Scholarship, Teaching and Creative Activity

We endeavor to continue the development our own understanding and practice through research, involvement in professional organizations, and creative activities beyond our work in the department.

We endeavor to provide students with an academic understanding of theatre artifacts and practices that enables them to connect current practice with historic antecedents.

We endeavor to introduce students to a variety of theatre crafts and to provide ample opportunities for them to engage in supervised practice of these crafts.

We endeavor to nurture and cultivate each student's individual creative and critical thinking as they develop their unique artistic vision and voice.

We take pride in our alumni and invite you to read some selected, brief bios at ASU Playbill.


Theatre majors can earn a Bachelor of Arts in one of four concentrations:

Co-curricular Productions

Auditions for all productions, except First Year Showcase, are open to all ASU students regardless of major.

Annual productions:

  • A First Year Showcase of new students - freshmen and transfers.
  • 4 faculty directed mainstage productions. One show in each season is selected based on a rotation of historic periods. The remaining three productions are selected from proposals suggested by faculty and students.
  • A theatre for youth performance produced by Appalachian Young People's Theatre. The AYPT production is toured to elementary schools throughout Western North Carolina in the spring.

These annual productions may include :

  • New works - i.e. Mountain Memory by Romulus Linney, And Other Stories by John Crutchfield, The Pursuit of Mr. Rockerfeller by Jonathan Fitts, Promises by Joel Williams, and Holmes, The Art of Deduction by Derek Davidson.
  • Musicals - Every two years, the Department of Theatre and Dance produces a musical production as part of the mainstage season. Recent productions include Sweeney Todd, Avenue Q, Kiss Me Kate, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Bat Boy.
  • Studio productions - Faculty directed plays that are part of the mainstage season with smaller casts or production requirements; i.e. The Wolves, Love and Information, The Waiting Room, and Middletown.
  • Occasional co-productions with professional companies or guest artists.
  • Occasional Student Showcases and touring professional shows.