The Chair of the Department of Performing Arts Maya Roth calls it “one of the best kept secrets on campus.” Georgetown’s theater program is gaining national recognition through a recent post on Back Stage, a tabloid for career advice and casting information, that ranked Georgetown’s Performing Arts Department as one of the top five theater programs outside New York City.
The rankings focused on undergraduate theater programs. Georgetown is one of the only universities in the nation with a Theater and Performance Studies major for undergraduates. The major was introduced seven years ago.
The first place position went to Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After Georgetown came Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The other two universities ranked were Mason Gross School of the Arts in Rutgers University in New Jersey and University of San Diego in California.
The program has about 35 to 40 declared majors, with about 10 to 11 in each class, according to Roth. There are approximately 175 students total per semester who take courses in the performing arts department. Many students go on to some of the top major regional and experimental theaters in the country.
“Whereas many of the programs featured are BFAs [Bachelors in Fine Arts], ours is a BA with an equally rigorous critical and artistic profile,” Roth said.
Students in Georgetown’s Theater and Performance Major must take 12 courses including a production practicum. The courses in the major include Acting 1, Play Analysis, and a course in Technical Theater or Design. It is designed to broaden students’ knowledge of the theater and bring in aspects of social justice, cultural criticism, and civic engagement by “stressing the creation of new work, dramaturgy, and the history of performing arts,” according to the department website.
of Georgetown’s theater department who participated in theater programs on campus, before the creation of the Theater Department, include actor Bradley Cooper, comedian and actor Mike Birbiglia, producer, director and actress Brit Marling and writer for Saturday Night Live John Mulaney.
“I’m tickled to see this ranking,” Ross said. She added that the undergraduate program’s “creative rigor” and academic success is a distinctive feature that deserves this recognition.
Photo by Khadijah Qamar from The History Boys, Additional reporting by Morgan Manger