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 in to action and adopted the following statement on June 18, 2020:
Over the past several weeks, 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. And finally, 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 our work over the next few months as we re-gather on campus and begin 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 voices of color 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.
The Department Production Committee will re-convene in August to formulate a 2021-2022 season of ten theatre and dance offerings (on our University and Strother Theatre stages) with a commitment that at least 60% of those offerings will be authored by BIPOC, non-binary, gender non-conforming, LGBTQ, and female voices. Further, it is our intention that all further seasons (starting with 2022-2023) will adhere to this directive.
The Department’s Inclusive Excellence Committee has spent the last year gathering data about our departmental curriculum: plays, musicals, theorists, eras, cultures, styles, and every other aspect of what we teach. The committee will hand their data and recommendations over to the Department Curriculum Committee, who will implement curricular revisions to ensure a true level of cultural inclusion in what we are teaching. The Curriculum Committee will also create at least four new courses that focus on the contributions of previously marginalized voices, populations, and cultures with the goal of integrating at least one of these courses into the Departmental Core Curriculum starting in the fall of 2021.
The Department Inclusive Excellence Committee will work with the Department Chair to help facilitate two action steps: (1) With the assistance of a facilitator, create a training session on anti-racism for all faculty and staff within Theatre and Dance to take place during the Fall 2020 Retreat; (2) To engage in a series of conversations with our students of color led by Ball State’s Office of Inclusive Excellence during the fall semester. The Department will then work with that office and the Department’s Student Advisory Group during the spring 2021 semester to develop an appropriate and clear action plan based on those discussions.
Our Department Recruitment and Marketing Committee will be accountable for the creation of a series of free online and in-person master classes to help prospective students prepare for auditions and interviews. These classes will be primarily targeted towards students of color from high schools that lack sufficient instruction in theatre or dance. Students from our Theatre Education program will 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.
Our Ball State Theatre and Dance Alumni Society will create a fund 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 will provide emergency aid for those students who are struggling to make ends meet and will be at the forefront of our One Ball State Day 2021 campaign in the hopes of creating both a permanent endowment and a flexible fund to be used whenever needed. We will also look at current board membership to ensure that our representation is inclusive across all areas.
The Departmental Leadership Team will create a Theatre and Dance Student Advisory group that will include representation from all of our student organizations. This group will be created and convened over the late summer/early fall of 2020 to discuss the above action steps. Further, the newly established Student Advisory Group will partner 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 for the 2021-2022 school year; (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:
Every year we produce multiple events that give our students the chance to share their work with professionals and learn from working professionals from around the country. We host showcases in New York and Chicago, a Los Angeles Experience, the Discovery Festival for new plays and musical works, Playwriting Week, and Theatre Education Week. 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 410-seat, mainstage University Theatre to small, Cave laboratory theatre used for more experimental performances and classes, you will have access to a variety of venues to perform, rehearse, and learn. 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 each of the following: Muncie Civic Theatre, 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.