For nearly the entirety of Rice University’s history, theatre has been a part of the fabric of the institution. The Rice Dramatic Club, founded in 1921 – just nine years after the university was established – paved the way for a vibrant theatrical tradition. Student demand for theatre is evidenced in the numerous campus groups that have grown up since the Dramatic Club (such as the Rice Players, Baker Shakespeare and college theatre.

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Small Mouth Sounds

In 1963, Sandy Havens was hired as a professor of theatre in the Art and Art History Department. Since that time, theatre as a discipline has been variously associated with the Department of English, the Department of Art & Art History, the Department of Fine Arts and then finally the Visual & Dramatic Arts Department.

The Program in Theatre has now been transformed into an interdisciplinary minor housed in the School of Humanities. Program faculty will come from the current theatre program, as well as faculty from the English Department and the Department of Modern and Classical Literatures and Cultures.

Theatre minors concentrate their focus of study with an emphasis in theatre that includes acting, directing, stage management, costume design, stage and lighting design, and theatre technology. Through coursework focused on inquiry-based learning, coupled with production experience where students utilize practical experience, theatre students deeply engage theory and practice. Theatre minors take a broad-based approach to understanding the facets of theatre-making through classes in stagecraft (costume construction or theatre technology), acting or design, history of theatre, and a required production practicum.

The Rice Program in Theatre produces two full stage productions annually (one in spring and one in fall). Theatre minors participate in the productions to receive hands on experience as an actor, designer or technician. Our program has strong ties to local theatre companies and encourages students to participate in the wider Houston theatre world. Our students have held internships and fellowships with such companies as the Alley Theatre, Houston Shakespeare Festival, and Theatre Under the Stars, among others.

On average, over 800 students enroll in Rice Theatre courses during the academic year. The theatre minor offers seven to eight courses per semester. Students who enroll in theatre courses represent a wide range of disciplines and serves as a bridge between the Humanities and other schools.

Unconventional Theatre at Rice