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Graphic with text: "Department of Contemporary Art, Communication, and Theater"

Welcome to Shepherd University’s Contemporary Theatre Studies (CTS) Program, the only contemporary theatre studies degree in the country offered by a public university. Our major is focused on the art of theatre-making in an ever-changing field and prepares students for success by promoting a content-rich curriculum steeped in practical application, experience, and exposure.  

Shepherd University offers an exciting variety of theater opportunities, including intensive classroom study, theory and practical application, and experience in theater productions both on and off the stage. Shepherd leverages its partnership with the Contemporary American Theater Festival to provide a unique theatrical education geared toward training the next generation of American theater artists. We are proud to promote anti-racist, pro-feminist, queer-affirming coursework and productions, and welcome all those who are dedicated to the creation and promotion of American Theatre to train with us.

The CTS program is designed to assist theatre lovers in finding their path as future artmakers. With the realization that successful theatre artists are multifaceted, flexible, and infinitely creative beings, the CTS program is designed to introduce all students to many areas in the theatre field. Through a series of mentor evaluations and end-of-semester dialogues, Shepherd faculty and staff, aided by Contemporary American Theatre Festival staff, guide theatre majors to focus on both primary and secondary areas within the field. (For example, a student may realize they are predominately a playwright, and also an actor; majors might discover they are a director with a passion for lighting design; others may declare that acting is their major focus, and arts management is a strong secondary focus, etc.)

Because the CTS program is committed to providing practical and equitable experiences for those dedicated to the art form, there are no auditions required for acceptance into the theatre program. We recognize that very few students who enter collegiate theatre programs know the full scope of their talents and potential, and we are committed to practical equity when working with all theatre majors. Students who wish to seek scholarship awards for their work should contact for information about availability and process for submission.

In Production Now: She Kills Monsters, by Qui Nguyen

She Kills Monsters Production Poster