A Scene from CRESCENDO

About Us

The University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts is one of the oldest and most respected theatre programs in the country. We offer students the opportunity to earn an undergraduate BA degree, or an MFA degree with an emphasis in acting, directing, design, playwriting, dramaturgy, or stage management.

New work and collaboration are the hallmarks of our department. For more than 90 years, we have supported the development of new plays by students, faculty, and distinguished guests. We recognize that every play, whether new or old, is brought to life through the complex collaborative effort of a writer, director, dramaturg, designers, actors, stage managers, and technicians. In order to support this process, we seek to create an atmosphere of passion for the art and generosity of spirit.

The Department of Theatre Arts is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST). It is a member of the University/Resident Theatre Association (URTA).

Quick Facts about our Undergraduate and Graduate Programs


Commitment to New Work

Since its founding, the Department of Theatre Arts has been committed to new work. Early in our history, many plays transferred directly to Broadway, and in recent years, numerous plays have gone on to be produced in New York and in regional theatres.

We are deeply engaged in play development. Each year at least 15 new works by graduate and undergraduate students are produced and another 25 new plays are presented as readings. The MFA Playwrights Workshop provides an intensive three-year study, and the undergraduate program offers four playwriting courses and many opportunities to present ten-minute and full-length productions. Link to a video about the creation of our mainstage production of The Imaginary Invalid.

MFA Playwrights Workshop
Partnership in the Arts
Iowa New Play Festival

Hundreds of writers have had their start at Iowa, as have 1000s of actors, directors, and other artists who still work in new play development.

Among the best known writers are: Tennessee Williams, Lee Blessing, Naomi Wallace, Rebecca Gilman, Keith Huff, Sherry Kramer, David Hancock, David Adjmi, Kirsten Greenidge, and Robert Alexander.

Hollywood writer-producers include: Rick Cleveland (West Wing, Six Feet Under), Mark Johnson (Rainman, Chronicles of Narnia), Barry Kemp (Coach, The Newhart Show), and Norman Felton (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.).


Graduating Class of 2019

Class of 2019 Department of Theatre Arts at University of Iowa

Graduting Class of 2018

Graduation 2018