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Seaver students on stage

Theatre Arts Major

The Theatre Program delivers rigorous training in the performing arts within the liberal arts setting of Seaver College. With high production values onstage and frequent master classes taught by professional guest artists, our students experience firsthand the excitement of becoming theatre professionals.

Our theatre arts majors become intellectually and artistically prepared for careers in acting, directing, media production, music, and production design by teaching students the professional skills needed for real-world application. Our students help enrich the cultural environment at Seaver College by participating in University productions in our state-of-the-art facilities.

Theatre Arts Degree

Our core curriculum is guided by the reasoning that, before theatre students are actors, designers, directors, singers, or dancers, they are theatre artists who will benefit from developing their appreciation and understanding of the art form. Through core classes in design, dramaturgy, stagecraft, history, and art as social justice, our theatre students learn about fundamental principles that will become a bedrock of understanding whether they intend to stay in theatre or to navigate to other fields within the entertainment arts such as film or television. At Pepperdine, we believe that a strong theatre core builds grit within our theatre students and prepares them to become well-rounded, resilient theatre makers once they graduate from our program.

Theatre and Screen Arts Degree

The theatre and screen arts major is a hybrid major that combines courses within the Fine Arts Division and the Communications Division.  The theatre and screen arts major with an emphasis in acting is ideal for those students who desire to study both acting as well as the behind-the-camera techniques of film and media production such as screen producing, editing, and screen directing. The theatre and screen arts major with an emphasis in directing is ideal for students who want to combine stage directing skills with the behind-the-camera techniques listed above.

Students in the bachelor of arts in theatre and screen arts program combine on-screen performance with behind-the-camera skills, and apply them to the production, business, and artistry of filmmaking. Taking advantage of our geographical proximity to Hollywood, students study real-life productions and then put these skills into practice in the classroom and in University productions. 

 

Acting Emphasis

Theatre acting majors at Pepperdine receive training in acting, voice, movement, and text. Our acting curriculum gives our majors the opportunity to work on foundational skills such as relaxation, storytelling, creative risk, and listening, intermediate skills such as building characters through research and study, personalizations, exploration of actions and objectives, and advanced skills such as the application of foundational and intermediate skills to classical text and verse. Through movement and voice study, which is grounded in the Linklater Voice technique, actors in our program learn to release physical and vocal restrictions that block creative impulses and to engage in whole-body communication. Our theatre-acting majors are encouraged to practice professionalism by engaging in deep study of their text, by rehearsing regularly outside of class, by warming up their voices and bodies before rehearsals and performances, and by conducting themselves in a manner that encourages productive and inspiring collaboration with others. Acting majors have regular interactions with working actors, directors, writers, and producers, and they conclude their time at Pepperdine with a masterclass series that draws industry professionals from the greater Los Angeles area.

Production Design Emphasis

Production design majors learn the skills and techniques required of all the major areas of theatre production including lighting, scenic, sound, costume, hair, makeup, and video design, and stage management. From the beginning of their time at Pepperdine, in addition to acquiring skills and knowledge through their coursework, production design students learn through practical application on mainstage productions. Before graduation, production design students complete a thesis project on a mainstage production in the area that most closely matches their artistic and career goals. So that they are well prepared for what lies ahead after graduation, production design students regularly meet with industry professionals on a myriad of industry topics such as resume and portfolio building, new technologies in theatre, and career pathways within the field.





Directing Emphasis

Our directing students take select courses in all areas within the major, including acting and voice, design and technology, stage management, and art history. The centerpiece of the directing training is the year-long directing course, during which student directors direct, first, scenes and, then, a workshop production of a one-act play. Directing majors take the assistant directing practicum, where they work alongside a faculty director on a mainstage production, at least once during their time at Pepperdine. Finally, the directing course of study culminates in a directing thesis, which is a workshop production of a fully staged full-length play in our studio theatre.




Musical Theatre Emphasis

Musical theatre majors take classes within both the theatre and the music programs. The major is structured so that musical theatre majors are working on two of the three essential skills (acting, singing, dancing) during every semester during their time at Pepperdine. Our majors have the unique opportunity to work with singing faculty who have backgrounds in classical singing training. Because of this special partnership with our classical singing faculty, our musical theatre students are given a foundation in proper singing technique grounded in vocal health and career longevity. Musical theatre students audition for our annual musical, but they can also audition for our non-musical mainstage plays and our annual opera. Students are expected to take private singing lessons for at least four semesters, but there is no limit to enrollment in private singing lessons and they may be taken over the entire four years.

 

What Fine Arts Division Grads Are Doing

 

65.5%

Employed Full-Time or Part-Time

17.2%

Admitted to Graduate School

3.4%

Full-Time Volunteer or Other Activity

13.9%

Seeking Employment or Grad School

Why Study Theatre at Pepperdine


Pepperdine Seaver College is consistently recognized among the top-ranked universities in California and the United States. We are a Christian university where students grow in knowledge and character. As a liberal arts institution, we focus on providing rich opportunities for intellectual and spiritual exploration for students with a diverse community.

 

Four Mainstage Productions Per Year

 

Scotland Summer Abroad Program

 

12:1 Student:Faculty Ratio

 

3 Performance Spaces

Student Opportunities

Our Program

Our focus is on undergraduate training, and we keep our program small by design. We have approximately 75 theatre majors currently enrolled. We offer a bachelor of arts in theatre arts and a bachelor of arts in theatre and screen arts. Students may also pursue a secondary teaching credential through the Humanities and Teacher Education Division.

Our theatre program faculty are committed to training, encouraging, testing, and ultimately challenging our students to achieve a higher level of artistry. We do so because we understand the potential for live theatre to serve as an agent of social change. Our students leave Pepperdine aware of their purpose as theatre artists, ready to serve their communities through meaningful, high-caliber performances, and prepared to lead their peers in creating art that has the power to change lives, hearts, and minds.

Productions

We stage four major productions each year, provide the technical support for a fully-staged opera, and sponsor a season of student-directed projects. Beyond the performance/design opportunities in our main stage season, student-led organizations like Pepperdine Student Players, the Pepperdine Improv Troupe, and Dance in Flight provide additional creative outlets.

Classes

The average class enrollment is 12 students. Small classes allow more time for in-class projects, personal attention, and faculty feedback, while building camaraderie among the students. The theatre department also hosts master classes featuring professionals in the industry. 

Our Alumni

Graduates from our program have had lasting success over the years.



Edinburgh Summer Program - Pepperdine Scotland

Since 1985 our theatre program has proudly performed new and existing plays at the International Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland. We offer a biennial summer program that begins in London, England, and concludes in Edinburgh, Scotland, at the renowned Festival Fringe.

Our Facilities

Our University Center for the Arts hosts over 250 public events every year. Explore our state-of-the-art facilities, entertainment labs, theatres, and recital halls that serve as classrooms and performance spaces for our students.

Scotland Theatre Program

 

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Contact Us

Fine Arts Division
Pepperdine University
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
Office: CAC 200

310.506.4462

Fine Arts Recruitment Office
310.506.4111
fineartsrecruit@pepperdine.edu
FA Recruitment Office: MB 301

Bradley Griffin
Divisional Dean & Professor I of Theatre

Cathy Thomas-Grant
Program Coordinator

Danah H. Sanders
Office Manager

Hannah Arkie
Administrative Assistant Finances

Inga Dahlstedt
Administrative Assistant Support

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