Welcome

Bravo! You’ve raised the curtain on the McMurry University Department of Theatre. We’re theater veterans with diverse experience in our crafts — and we’re dedicated to helping you develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to excel in this age-old field that’s always dynamic and new.

With small class sizes, you can look forward to personal attention and encouragement. Bring unforgettable characters to life on stage in plays classic to contemporary. Gain mastery in production work. Delve deeper into the many elements that go into theatre as a business. Create your own original scripts. As you apply your studies and get hands-on practice, you’ll discover new strengths, new approaches and new possibilities.

As theatre people, we’re passionate about teaching the big concepts and small details that position you for success. During the academic year, we select productions that expose students to the widest range of theatre types and styles. The summer is all about box-office success — with shows selected to attract a solid audience. You’ll understand the balance between theatre as an art and as a business.

We’re committed to nurturing young playwrights and staging original scripts written by McMurry students. From one act to full-length plays, you’ll see creativity spring from page to stage each year.

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Areas of Study

The study of theatre is a vehicle for illuminating ideas, emotions and the range of human experience while in active engagement with a live audience. We offer degrees in two of the field’s key areas.

Theatre Arts Education

Take your passion for theatre beyond your personal roles in creating, directing or production. As a theatre arts education student at McMurry, you’ll learn what it takes to build successful arts programs, whether at the middle school, high school or community level. This program equips you to usher in the next generation of leaders in theatrical arts and in the arts community at large. Expect to pursue required and elective theatre classes and activities coupled with education-specific coursework. Individualized attention from accomplished faculty supports you in mastering the intersection of instruction, art and human expression. What’s more, numerous studies have demonstrated a correlation between involvement in drama programs and academic achievement. By the time you graduate, you will have a solid grounding both in theatre and in curriculum and instruction. You can earn a Bachelor of Arts in theatre arts education. Theatre Arts Education

Theatre

Enlightening, exhilarating and transformative, theatre is a millennia-old form of art and entertainment and a fundamental expression of humankind’s search for meaning. As a McMurry theatre graduate, you’ll be broadly prepared for a professional career in theatre arts through our production-oriented program. Expect to gain fundamental knowledge, practical skills and problem-solving confidence in all areas of theatre art. Through classroom instruction and practice, you’ll apply theory, history and analysis to theatrical design and performance technique. And you’ll bring it all together in live theatrical performances that entertain and enrich our audiences. By the time you graduate, you’ll have participated in a wide array of learning opportunities and step onto the broader stage with an impressive portfolio for postgraduate and professional endeavors. At McMurry, you can earn a Bachelor of Arts in theatre, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre or a minor in theatre. Theatre
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Student Opportunities

Do you like to aim high and achieve more? You may want to pursue departmental honors in theatre. If you achieve a GPA of 3.25 or higher, you’re considered an honors student. For a richer academic experience, take honors courses to graduate from the McMurry Honors Program. When you maintain a 3.25 GPA for your honors work and a 3.5 for all McMurry coursework, you are eligible for scholarship money.
The McMurry theatre program is growing! We have been successful in recruiting bright talent to bring light to our stage. Because of the surge in department size, we have relaunched the McMurry Summer Theatre Season, have revived the McMurry Theatre Homecoming Musical and are resuming our participation in the Christian University Theatre Festival. Our mission is to produce quality theatrical presentations in Abilene, Texas, that continue to keep our students in the spotlight and provide the best educational opportunities available. This explosive growth illuminates increasing financial need for our students. The donations we receive will go directly toward McMurry theatre students as they spend their time creating meaningful art that enriches, inspires, educates and entertains our campus, Abilene and the Big Country.

Your gift to the McMurry theatre department will offer enhanced opportunities for our students, support the production of all our shows, assist with travel expenses and enhance the student experience of each department member while keeping McMurry theatre productions accessible to all of Abilene.

Patron Program Details

You can help our students light up the stage by making your gift now through the Give button.
Incoming freshman and transfer students majoring in theatre may audition for scholarships toward tuition costs that are awarded over the course of four academic years. In addition to a sample performance audition, scholarship requirements include a portfolio and resume, interview, and letters of recommendation.

Other scholarship opportunities within the theatre department are available to extend support to students for the duration of their education at McMurry. These include scholarships rewarding outstanding academic performance within the department and those offered in the form of faculty awards. Faculty awards recognize stellar students in the categories of Best Actor and Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Most Promising Freshman/Newcomer, Outstanding Junior, and the Golden Mask Award, which goes to the outstanding graduating senior.

Students majoring or minoring in theatre also may interview for hourly paid positions working at the Amy Graves Ryan Fine Arts Center on campus. Available opportunities include four student leader positions: scene shop foreman, costume foreman, properties manager and box office manager. Interviews for these work-study theatre jobs are held by appointment.
Hone your acting chops in McMurry theatre productions. Casting preference goes to theatre majors and minors, but auditions are open to all McMurry students. Expect at least three faculty-directed productions each academic year, plus two to four full-length plays serving as senior projects. You can also try out for one-act plays staged each spring by the directing I class.
McMurry’s theatre program turns up the heat each summer with up to three plays. Presented in conventional or dinner theatre formats, these productions regularly engage outstanding guest directors, designers and actors. This gives our students invaluable exposure to varied approaches in staging a play.
Join a theatre department dedicated to producing new work. Every other year, we stage original plays crafted by students in the previous year’s playwriting class.
Love to see youngsters’ faces light up? You’ll want to become a member of Out of a Trunk. The company enriches educational arts experiences in area public schools by presenting theatre programs and conducting workshops throughout the school year.
Each spring, McMurry and other small Christian university theatre departments in Texas come together to present plays over the course of a weekend. This gives our students the opportunity to network with others who share their art, field of study and love of theatre in a Christian setting. The festival rotates among the campuses, and typically the host school selects a critic judge. Festival awards are presented at the end.
Our theatre students get abundant hands-on experience with their own directorial and design projects, which are presented to the public. Typically, directorial projects and design work related to sets, lighting and costumes are part of the senior capstone requirement, along with acting and stage combat presentation.
Well-prepared McMurry theatre students earn accolades! Numerous McMurry playwrights have been recognized statewide with awards during the annual Texas Educational Theatre Association’s TheatreFest. Within the space of four years, six of the eight playwriting awards bestowed at the university level went to McMurry students, and 14 of our playwrights earned TETA PlayFest awards. In 2020, the work McMurry presented during the annual Christian University Theatre Festival earned Best Actress and All-Star Cast awards.
The Global Learning Endorsement provides an opportunity for students to highlight academic achievement in global/international studies on their transcript. This endorsement will provide helpful documentation of the student’s expertise for employment in an increasingly globalized world.

Beyond McMurry

Careers

An undergraduate education in biology is an excellent foundation for a broad range of careers and advanced study.
  • Acting
  • Arts Management
  • Costume Construction
  • Costume Design
  • Creative Drama
  • Creative Writing
  • Dramatic Literature
  • Fundraising
  • Improvisation
  • Lighting Design
  • Literature
  • Musical Theatre
  • Playwriting
  • Production Management
  • Public Relations
  • Scenery Construction
  • Scripting
  • Social Media
  • Technical Production
  • Theatre Arts Education
  • Theatre Criticism
  • Theatre History
  • Theatre Management
  • Video Production
  • Voiceovers

Join the Ranks of Accomplished Alumni

You’ll find McMurry theatre grads under the bright lights, bringing characters to life in a script, running shows, mastering all the moving pieces behind the curtain, rocking the box office and sparking the imagination of youngsters in schools. Our theatre alumni are currently working or have worked as:
  • Performers in television shows, at theme parks and on cruise ships
  • Theatre arts educators
  • Executive directors of theatre companies and historic theatres
  • Freelance directors and published playwrights
  • Auditorium curator
  • Lighting technician touring with recording artists and on independent assignments around the world

Faculty and Staff

Ms.
Neena McLain Department Chair / Assistant Professor of Theatre
Dr.
Charlie Hukill Professor Emeritus
Mr.
David Ainsworth Professor Emeritus