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Theater Studies

The Department of Theater Studies combines cutting edge theater research with the creation and development of new works for the theater and offers new approaches to the study and interpretation of the riches of world drama.

Among our majors we create enlightened artists and scholars. The hundreds of students who take our courses each year gain an appreciation of the value of the imagination in their approach to their work and their lives. 

We are a strong force in the culture of Duke University, always searching out ways in which live theater can support and illuminate various types of intellectual inquiry. The interdisciplinary nature of our field is of central importance to us and we continually seek ways to be in productive dialogue with other disciplines.

Our highest goal is to represent the idea that theater is an art and a discipline that can explore and express the concerns and hopes of every type of human community.

Our unique role within the university is to marry theory and practice in both our research and teaching through scholarly and creative endeavors that earn national and international attention.


Alumni comments on why theater at Duke was perfect for them.

Michael Ayers (T'07) (in final year of medical school at Columbia)
I loved my Duke experience, and proudly tell everyone I know that there is no place on earth better than Duke. And the Theater Department was my home at Duke. Theater is a unique endeavor.  It pushes us intellectually, emotionally and physically in a way nothing else can. And when we are surrounded by other bright, driven individuals, all being pushed to the edges of their comfort zones, it provides an opportunity to make friendships that are forged of tougher stuff. My teachers and peers from Duke Theater know me better and more completely than anyone else, and those are still some of my most meaningful relationships. 

Davis Hasty (T'08) (professional actor in DC area)
I loved the personal attention and mentoring you receive in the Duke Theater Department. Unlike in a larger, conservatory type program, if you have the drive and desire, you can basically be in a show from the time you matriculate to the time you graduate. The professors I studied with were fantastic and always willing to spend extra time with a serious student - not to mention you are acting with very smart people, which always makes for a more interesting experience.

Dana Berger (T'05) (professional actress in NYC)
I loved my theater experience at Duke. I found the classes and acting training to be challenging and formative.  At Duke, I had many opportunities to act and be in shows: there were student-directed projects in addition to faculty-directed shows, and the theater faculty were very supportive and helpful when it came to us putting up our own work...I graduated feeling very confident in my abilities onstage, as well as my audition technique. This has served me well in the NYC theater scene, where I work as an actress.

Why Theater at Duke?