Bachelor of Arts in Theatre one of several new degree programs to be offered by UAH

UAH Theatre

Last season, UAH Theatre productions included "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" (pictured), and "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying." The 2015-2016 season will feature "The Laramie Project," the Italian opera "La Serva Padrona," and "Eurydice," a modern retelling of the story of Orpheus.


This fall, The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) will award its first Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre. It's a milestone moment for the university's Theatre Program, which has experienced solid growth since its inception under the oversight of David Harwell, associate professor of communication arts and the director of UAH Theatre.

"It's the culmination of many years of hard work by members of the UAH family and the community at large, and I believe it will offer students from many of the strong high school and community college theatre programs attractive options for further study," says Harwell.

Like all degree programs, the theatre major requires students to complete a core curriculum of general education requirements as well as additional credit hours specific to the discipline. "These cover theatre performance and design, as well as dramatic literature, history, and criticism," says Harwell. The student will then have the option of choosing from one of three areas of specialization: performance, technical, and dramaturgy.

As with the current theatre minor, students also will be required to participate in UAH Theatre's main stage productions throughout their academic career. "Every semester, they have to take one credit hour of practicum," says Harwell. "They have the opportunity to do anything and everything depending on their area of interest – acting, design, fabrication, managing the box office, lighting, marketing, stage managing, and more!"

By the time they graduate, they will have a solid foundation in theatre that encompasses every aspect of the industry, enabling them to find rewarding employment as an emerging professional in the field.

David Harwell
Associate Professor of Communication Arts, Director of UAH Theatre

Productions for the 2015-2016 year will include "The Laramie Project," a play by Moises Kaufman about the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming; "La Serva Padrone," a comic opera by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, and "Euridyce," a modern retelling of the story of Orpheus by Sarah Rhul. "People know they can come to UAH for quality theatre," he says. "And our repertoire this year will be no exception."

As the program continues to grow, so too will the faculty and the course offerings. "We're hiring a lecturer in video production this spring and a full-time tenure-track faculty member to teach performance beginning in the fall of 2016," says Harwell, who already works closely with fellow Theatre faculty members Karen Baker, Johnna Doty, and Dr. Chad Thomas. Plans are also underway to add courses on advanced acting, movement, and management, among others.

"By the time our students graduate," he continues, "they will have a solid foundation in theatre that encompasses every aspect of the industry, enabling them to find rewarding employment as an emerging professional in the field." And that's not all. "They'll also be able to fully produce a theatrical production in almost any setting."

His confidence is not unfounded. Already, UAH graduates who minored in theatre are making a name for themselves. "We have one who is working at probably the best Broadway fabrication facility in the country up in New York City," he says. "And we have several others who are pursuing graduate degrees in theatre performance."

And even those who don't end up in the theatre world benefit, thanks to the soft skills they gain as a result of their theatre experience. "Whether it's becoming a stronger public speaker or improving their presentation skills, theatre leads to the kind of well-rounded students that employers value most," he says. "It just cross-pollinates beautifully with all the other disciplines."

UAH's new theatre degree program actually joins several more added to the university's undergraduate and graduate offerings over the last two years. These include the following:

Bachelor's Degrees

  • Aerospace engineering (College of Engineering)
  • Economics and computational analysis (College of Business Administration)
  • Kinesiology (College of Education)
  • Secondary education (College of Education)

Master's Degrees

  • Business analytics (College of Business Administration)
  • Cybersecurity (Interdisciplinary: Colleges of Business Administration, Engineering, and Science)
  • Earth system science (College of Science)
  • Education (College of Education)
  • Human resource management (College of Business Administration)
  • Space science (College of Science)
  • Supply chain and logistics management (College of Business Administration)

Doctoral Degrees

  • Space science (College of Science)


David Harwell


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