University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance

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University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance
Type Public
Established 1940
Director Jim Johnson
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 120
Location Houston, Texas, US
Affiliations University of Houston

The School of Theatre and Dance is a department under the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences (CLASS) at the University of Houston.[1] The School offers both Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts programs, including a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting, stage management, technical theatre, theatre education and a joint degree in both playwrighting and dramaturgy; all at the undergraduate level. Graduate programs are offered in: acting, theatre studies, theatrical design, technical direction, and theatre education. [2] The current Director of the School of Theatre and Dance is Jim Johnson, a position he has held since 2013.[3]


The School of Theatre & Dance (SOTD) is the drama school of the University of Houston. SOTD produces professional plays, dance concerts, studio productions, a new play festival, and school shows through the Theatre for Young Audiences program. The school performs in the Wortham Theatre and the Quintero Theatre. The Houston Shakespeare Festival is a professional project of the school, which is produced each summer at Miller Outdoor Theatre. The UH School of Theatre & Dance offers bachelor's and master's degrees in theater and teacher certifications in dance. Its graduate program consists of arts in theatre and masters of fine arts in theatre with specializations in acting, directing and design. Faculty includes Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Edward Albee,[4] Tony Award-winning playwright Mark Medoff,[5] Tony Award-winning producer Stuart Ostrow,[6] and Tony Award nominated designer Kevin Rigdon.[7] Among the greats who have taught at the school in previous years are Lanford Wilson,[8] Sir Peter Hall[9] and Jose Quintero.[10]

Theatre program[edit]

The mission of the UH Theatre Program is to educate and prepare students for successful and meaningful careers in theatre and related professions. Featuring the largest theatre department in the city of Houston, the school boast 120 full-time graduates and undergraduates. It is a high-energy program with dedicated and hard-working students. Their goal is to instill the skills and work ethic necessary to compete and succeed in the performing arts.


  • Study – To understand the foundations of theatre practice, theory and technique. Classroom work provides students with a context to discuss theatre and improve in their chosen specialization.
  • Application – To make theatre that builds upon classroom work.
  • Mentorship – To connect students with working professionals and build a network. Faculty and staff at UH get to know each student and provide guidance to prepare them for the job market.[11]

Dance program[edit]

The School of Theatre and Dance provides the only degree program for dance in Houston.[12]

School of Theatre and Dance


The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts includes the Wortham Theatre, a 566-seat proscenium stage,[13] and the Quintero Theatre, a 190-seat black box theatre.[14] A $4 million renovation by Austin-based architectural firm Lake l Flato was completed in 2005. This construction project enhanced the lobby space of the existing School of Theatre and Dance, added two new rehearsal spaces, and provided a second story office suite for the Mitchell Center for the Arts.[15]

The Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre was built in 1977. It features a trapped floor, a counterweight fly system and ample wing space that joins a shop area large enough to accommodate several production sets. The Jose Quintero black box theatre was also built in 1977.

The School of Theatre and Dance costume shop includes a dye area, spray booth, crafts area and numerous machines. The costume shop also features an extensive collection of wardrobe stock from all time periods.

The School of Theatre and Dance scene shop includes ample space for metalworking, painting, a prop shop, and general construction.


Recent collaborations include:

  • a co-production of Mickey Birnbaum's Big Death and Little Death with The Catastrophic Theatre, a local theatre company created by founders of Infernal Bridegroom Productions.
  • commissioning Houston's most unusual[clarification needed] string quartet, Two Star Symphony, to score and perform in the Bertolt Brecht play, The Good Woman of Setzuan.
  • commissioning playwright Nathaniel Freeman to write the 2008 season opening play "Katrina: The Bridge".
  • working with local theatre company Mildred's Umbrella to develop a new play by playwright John Harvey.
  • creating a new music/dance piece with AURA, the Moores School's contemporary music ensemble.
  • annual debuts of local choreographers' new work in the Spring Dance Concert.

The Alley Theatre[edit]

The Tony Award winning Alley Theatre and the School of Theatre and Dance have established a unique Collaboration. The Alley Theatre will be in residence within the School of Theatre during their 2014 season. Graduate students have the opportunity to observe Alley Theatre company members during their residency at UH, and have the ability to apply for internships.

Houston Shakespeare Festival[edit]

Each summer, the Houston Shakespeare Festival produces a season of two Shakespeare plays in repertory. Since its inception in 1975, HSF has entertained nearly a half million theatergoers with free performances in Hermann Park's Miller Outdoor Theatre. The Houston Shakespeare Festival has grown into one of the major events on Houston's summer entertainment calendar. HSF is a recognized Actors' Equity Association theatre.

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts[edit]

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston promotes collaboration, experimentation, and innovation in the arts. The Center supports the creation and presentation of new works, sponsors visiting artist residencies, and offers courses, scholarships, lectures, and symposia, all in a creative alliance with the School of Art, Creative Writing Program, Moores School of Music, School of Theatre and Dance, and Blaffer Gallery, the Art Museum of the University of Houston.

Big Range Dance Festival[edit]

Co-founded by the Head of the Dance Division, Karen Stokes, the sixth annual Big Range Dance Festival (BRDF) in summer 2008 featured new works by choreographers from Houston, Austin, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. BRDF is co-sponsored by the University of Houston's Center for Choreography.

BRDF usually takes place the first two weeks in June at Houston's best spot to catch performing arts, Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex.


The University of Houston, School of Theatre and Dance proudly boasts professionals working on stage, film, television as writers, actors, directors and producers.



Scholars and artists—such as Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Edward Albee, Tony Award-winning playwright Mark Medoff, and Tony Award nominated designer Kevin Rigdon.



  1. ^ School of Theatre & Dance (2016-09-08). "School of Theatre and Dance - University of Houston". Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  2. ^ School of Theatre & Dance (2016-09-08). "Undergraduate Curriculum - University of Houston". Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  3. ^ School of Theatre & Dance (2016-09-08). "Jim Johnson - University of Houston". Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  4. ^ Evans, Everett (2009-10-11). "Edward Albee's next act at UH - Houston Chronicle". Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  5. ^ BWW News Desk. "Mark Medoff is Uni. Houston's New Director School & Dance". Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ Wozny, Nancy (2011-02-28). "For August: Osage County, set designer Kevin Rigdon turns an Alley ... - CultureMap Houston". Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  8. ^ "lanford Wilson to join Albee on Houston faculty". 2004-01-21. Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  9. ^ [2][dead link]
  10. ^ "Quintero, José | University of Houston Libraries". Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  11. ^ School of Theatre & Dance (2016-09-08). "Theatre School - University of Houston". Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  12. ^ School of Theatre & Dance (2016-09-08). "Dance Program - University of Houston". Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  13. ^ "University of Houston Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre". Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  14. ^ "University of Houston School of Theatre Dance". Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  15. ^ [3][dead link]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°43′31″N 95°20′38″W / 29.725156°N 95.344017°W / 29.725156; -95.344017