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).

News from the Theatre Building
Current Students across the US
History of Theatre at Iowa
Undergraduate Program in Theatre Arts
Graduate Programs in Theatre Arts
Our Current Season
Past Shows at Iowa
Downtown Iowa City

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
  • 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)
  • Norman Felton (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.)


Alice in Wonderland

Partnership in the Arts

Each year we bring together a team of America’s finest experimental writers and directors to create a new work that is presented on the mainstage season. The artists are in residence for 6-8 weeks and work with students on an ambitious project that may well go on to professional productions elsewhere.

Among the artists who have led projects are:

  • The Q Brothers
  • Paola Coletto & Matteo Destro
  • Darrah Cloud, Kim Sherman & Nick Demos
  • The Moving Company (Dominique Serrand, Steven Epp & Nathan Keepers)
  • Martha Clarke
  • Rinde Eckert
  • John Cameron
  • David Schweitzer
  • David Hancock
  • Anton Juan
  • Steven Sapp
  • James Hatch
  • The Gertrude Stein Repertory Theatre
  • Belgrad’s Dah Theatre
  • Erik Ehn
  • Karin Coonrod
  • Migdalia Cruz
  • Maria Irene Fornes
  • Theodora Skipitares
  • Anne Bogart

Go to past Partnership in the Arts Productions

Shadow Puppet from ONDINE, New Play Festival '12

News from the Theatre Building

Graduting Class of 2018

Graduation 2018


Graduating Class of 2017

Graduation 2017