In the Next Room

When they join a production team, theatre students might source fabric or furniture, design or sew period-appropriate costumes, construct scenery or work within an open stage, map out lighting schemes or control sound boards, or take the lead in running the show.

Department of Theatre, October–November 2017, Photo by Darrell Hoemann.

Michelle Benda

"The faculty members at the U of I allow you to be an active participant in your education."

Department of Theatre graduate Michelle Benda brought the entire faculty, graduating class, and audience to their feet when she walked across the stage in May 2015 to accept her diploma. For most students, that walk across the stage is a defining moment. For Michelle, it was even more profound.

Nick Offerman

Nick Offerman

Nick Offerman knows how to make a scene. When he was studying theatre at Illinois, he got paid to use his woodworking skills in the scenery shop. "That was a great supplement to allow me to earn my keep while I was learning to be a better actor," notes the star of the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation.

Class of2017

"The professors are amazing resources, and other artists bring so many ideas to the table. It takes a village to put on a production, and we have a strong one at Illinois."


Small and highly selective, the Department of Theatre seeks theatre makers serious about honing their craft and innovating in the performing and production arts. Students may pursue degrees in acting, design and production, and theatre studies.

  • BFA acting program
  • BFA and MFA design and production programs
  • BFA, MA, and PhD in theatre studies programs
  • MFA acting program


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