Theatre Technologies and Design

    • The theatre program regularly participates in the International Collegiate Theatre Festival, in conjunction with the Edinburgh (Scotland) Fringe Festival, an annual gathering of more than 20,000 performers.
    • Students in the theatre program practice their craft–onstage or backstage–in the numerous public productions at the Schuster Theatre.
    • Located in the School of Communication and the Arts, the program has access to the resources of all of the University’s communication, media and arts faculty and technology under one roof. Students benefit from the synergy this co-location provides.
    • Gannon University’s student-operated radio station, 90.5 WERG-FM, won several awards at the annual Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) Conference in 2015 and the Abraham & Borst Award for Best College Station in the Nation.

    You Will Learn

    Students who have a passion for the creative human spirit and want to study theatre within a vibrant, liberal arts curriculum will find numerous possibilities in Gannon University’s theatre program. Here students can develop technique and craft, learning to promote as a professional artist or a student of further study.

    Focus in the performance track includes acting and directing; or the design/technical track for scenic, lighting or sound design; or the criticism/literature track that includes history, criticism and playwriting for graduate study. Students can create their own hybrid of courses to satisfy their personal interests.

    Many theatre graduates migrate to metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles, which provide the best exposure to the job market, and some graduates have even explored international connections to start their careers. 

    You Will Experience

    The theatre program takes advantage of the University’s urban location to provide students with internship opportunities that are right around the corner from the campus, including:

    • Erie Art Museum  
    • Erie Arts & Culture  
    • Erie Civic Center’s Warner Theatre  
    • Erie Philharmonic Orchestra  
    • local broadcast affiliates of national networks – ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, and NPR  
    • local radio stations – with formats including country, contemporary hits, mainstream rock, top 40  
    • marketing departments  
    • nonprofit entities  
    • public relations firms  

    You Will Achieve

    Career opportunities for theatre graduates can be found locally and abroad in a variety of media, including the stage, film, education, television, radio and online media. Theatre graduates can also be found in arts advocacy organizations, human services agencies, advertising and marketing. Such opportunities include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • actors   
    • advertising communicators – public relations professionals and copywriters  
    • arts managers – promotion and management of theatre and related fine arts  
    • designers – scenic, lighting, sound, digital animation  
    • educators – K-12 and college theatre instructors and professors  
    • entertainment law – lawyers for the entertainment industry  
    • nonprofit administration  
    • voiceover artists  
    • writers – for stage and/or screen   

    You will Study

    Students in the theatre program choose from an array of various subjects to fill their curriculum. Theatre majors take various core and elective courses including:

    THEA 252: Costume and Makeup Techniques    

    This course is designed to introduce the basic materials and techniques of theatrical stage makeup. Emphasis will be on basic application of two-dimensional makeup, analysis of character as it relates to physical appearance, the development of a makeup portfolio and morgue and exposure to more advanced three-dimensional techniques. An examination of costume as part of the character mask completes the overview.

    THEA 340: Improvisation 

    This laboratory course stresses basic performance skills such as focus, teamwork, mime, character development, status work, story development and scene work. Students develop a number of practical skills, including creative problem-solving, quick-thinking skills, spontaneity, interpreting non-verbal communication, resolving conflicts and holding a place while working within a group dynamic.

    THEA 360: Production and Performance in Theatre 

    A laboratory course investigating the rehearsal and performance process in creating a mainstage production. Students assume various roles, both on production crew and cast, and are evaluated on the quality of their participation in the work. The course culminates in public performance and post-performance evaluation, by students and directors.

    Liberal Studies Core

    The Liberal Studies Core Curriculum is one reflection of Gannon University's commitment to its Catholic identity. The Core's design offers students a defined, integrated, shared experience as the foundation for their undergraduate program.

    You Will Earn

    Salaries in the field vary depending on the location and type of organization.

    • Starting salary: $36,200
    • Mid-career salary: $58,600
    All salary information is compiled from data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( and/or PayScale (