The Department of Theatre and Dance fosters compassionate, inclusive, and empathetic human beings. We challenge our students to become exceptional artists through the exploration of the dynamic relationship between art and the human experience.
To fulfill our mission, we are guided by seven Core Values, which reflect the student’s journey within our department.
Character: We practice deliberate and active empathy, kindness, and respect.
Inclusivity: We pursue radical inclusion of all voices, backgrounds, and perspectives, especially those marginalized by history.
Collaboration: We foster an environment of collaboration in all things artistic, academic, and interpersonal.
Critical Thinking: We emphasize a broad-minded liberal-arts mentality and the connection of ideas across disciplines and experiences.
Empowerment: We equip our students with a spirit of self-direction and independent vision for their art and their lives.
Innovation: We inspire our students to break new ground in their artistic and educational journeys.
Professional Excellence: We instill in our students the work ethic and discipline-specific skills, experiences, and connections necessary to succeed in the professional world.
The Theatre and Dance faculty and staff are committed to putting our values into action. In the summer of 2020, after the murder of George Floyd in Summer 2020 we adopted the following statement and action plan, which we have continued to execute and update:
Members of the Ball State University Department of Theatre and Dance family have listened to our black students, alumni, colleagues, and supporters about the pain, struggle, and frustration they have endured in this country due to systemic racism. We have researched and absorbed current and historical information that will allow us to be better allies and more actively anti-racist. We have watched and participated in many of the passionate protests happening across the country. Through this process, we have mobilized to create aggressive and tangible steps to be better story-tellers, artists, and human beings.
To this end, the Department has formulated a series of six action steps that will guide us as we continue the hard work of making a lasting and permanent change in how we do what we do. While our current Strategic Plan addresses many of the issues noted below in terms of increasing underserved voices in our student body, our curriculum, and our production season, we feel that increased student involvement and a renewed focus on making these action steps more visible to our external audiences and within the Department is vital to holding us accountable in becoming a program that is actively anti-racist and that advocates for social justice for all marginalized groups and voices.
The Department Production Committee has committed that at least 60% our University and Strother Theatre productions being authored by BIPOC, non-binary, gender non-conforming, LGBTQ, and female voices. All future seasons will adhere to this directive.
The Department’s Inclusive Excellence Committee will continue to annually assemble and analyze data about our departmental curriculum: plays, musicals, theorists, eras, cultures, styles, and every other aspect of what we teach. This data has been utilized by the general faculty and the Department Curriculum Committee to spearhead a substantial overhaul of our departmental curriculum. This overhaul, which will be implemented in Fall 2022, seeks to de-colonize and diversify our curricular offerings throughout a student’s four years as they major in Theatre or Dance, adding vital global perspectives to the study of the performing arts. These efforts will continue to be analyzed and updated.
The Department Inclusive Excellence Committee has since worked with the Department Chair to help facilitate two action steps: (1) With the assistance of a facilitator, we underwent a training session on anti-racism for all faculty and staff within Theatre and Dance during the Fall 2020 Retreat. This session will be updated and re-engaged in future retreats ; (2) To engage in a continuing series of conversations with our students of color led by Ball State’s Office of Inclusive Excellence. The Department will then work with that office and the Department’s Student Advisory Group to continue to execute an appropriate and clear action plan based on those discussions.
Our Department Recruitment and Marketing Committee took on the effort of creating a series of free online and in-person master classes to help prospective students prepare for auditions and interviews. These classes are primarily targeted towards students of color from high schools that lack sufficient instruction in theatre or dance. Students from our Theatre Education program receive mentorship related to these master classes so that they may be better educated as to how to prepare their future students for auditions and interviews in theatre and dance. The first of these classes was offered in the Fall of 2021, led by departmental alumni Kayla Davion and Evan Duff.
Our Ball State Theatre and Dance Alumni Society has created a fund in January 2021 that will be intended to support students with preference given to students of color who are either currently enrolled in the Department of Theatre and Dance or are auditioning for the Department. This fund provides emergency aid for those students who are struggling to make ends meet and was at the forefront of our One Ball State Day 2021 campaign to the end of creating both a permanent endowment and a flexible fund to be used whenever needed. We have also reexamined current alumni board membership to ensure that our representation is inclusive across all areas. Additionally, the Alumni Society created the Alumni Ambassadors Program, which facilitates the departmental
The Departmental Leadership Team has created a Theatre and Dance Student Advisory Committee that includes representation from all of our student organizations. This group was first convened over the late summer/early fall of 2020 to discuss the above action steps, and continues to meet on a monthly basis with departmental leadership and faculty to discuss a wide range of issues regarding inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility and the student experience in the department. Further, the newly established Student Advisory Group has partnered both with the Department’s Recruitment and Marketing Committee and the Department’s Option Coordinators to fulfill two distinct objectives: (1) improve our efforts in the area of recruitment of students of color (2) increase departmental retention rates by creating a more robust and established mentorship program to help all students adjust to the artistic and academic rigors of the collegiate environment.
Bachelor of fine arts (BFA) degrees are highly intensive professional degrees with 85 or more hours in the major area of study. Bachelor of arts or bachelor of science (BA/BS) degrees are still heavily focused on a particular area of theatre but have between 50 and 67 hours in the major, allowing you to add a minor or even double major.
Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees
We offer bachelor of fine arts (BFA) degrees in:
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science Degrees
We offer bachelor of arts (BA) or bachelor of science (BS) degrees in:
As a Theatre and Dance student, you will have opportunities to connect with alumni and other professionals through a variety of student-centered partnerships including senior showcases, theatre and dance festivals, workshops, and our new Alumni Ambassador program. Learn more.
The Department of Theatre and Dance houses multiple performance venues, rehearsal spaces, design labs, and production shops, all designed to give you a real-world training environment.
From our 400-seat University Theatre to our blackbox studio, and student-driven experimental spaces, you will have access to a variety of venues for rehearsals, performances, and classes. See our facilities.
The Department of Theatre and Dance offers a number of formal partnerships with community organizations that students may pursue for course credit as applicable:
Theatre Education students have directing and design opportunities twice a year at Northside Middle School (Muncie Community Schools) and Burris Laboratory/Indiana Academy.
A partnership between the School of Music, the Department of Theatre and Dance (headed by the Theatre Education Option), Interlock: The East Central Indiana Autism Society of America, and Sibshops (The Sibling Support Project) created the nationally recognized Ball State Prism Project. This project is a program that utilizes the performing arts as a medium to explore and develop social skills for children with exceptionalities.
DANCE! Muncie After School enables dance majors to learn tactics to teach dance, to create lesson plans, and to work with young creative minds (3rd and 4th graders). Many of these Muncie Community Schools students are introduced to dance for the first time through this immersive learning opportunity.