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Theatre (General)

Photo of Anna Davis.



Anna Davis learned about the many positions in a theatre company and the skills necessary to fill those roles while interning with The House Theatre of Chicago and Chicago Youth Shakespeare. Read more here.

Majoring in Theatre

The student receives a solid foundation in all aspects of theatre as part of a well-rounded liberal arts education. Working as part of a team, the student learns to communicate and collaborate in a creative environment toward the realization of a theatrical production. Students participate in numerous departmental productions to gain practical experience, develop portfolios, network, and apply ideas and theories from their coursework and life.

Two theatres in Purdue’s Pao Center for Design, Art, & Performance Building opened in fall 2005. The Nancy T. Hansen Theatre is a proscenium house seating 300 people, while the Gordon Mallett Studio Theatre features a flexible configuration and seats 105-155 people.

Upon completion of the program, students majoring in Theatre may choose to enter a field directly or indirectly-related to their studies. Possible careers include:

  • Light Designer
  • Theatre Manager
  • Costume Designer
  • Actor
  • Scenic Artist/Designer
  • Director/Producer
  • Graduate or Professional School

Average Starting Salary: $42,041

All Purdue University College of Liberal Arts majors prepare students with the skills identified as contributing to professional success: communicating and listening well, an understanding and appreciation of diverse points of view, creative thinking and problem solving, a collaborative mindset, the ability to synthesize complex ideas and communicate them clearly, and a Boilermaker work ethic.

Theatre majors develop skills that are applicable to many different careers. These skills may include, but are not limited to:

  • Preparing drafts and scale working drawings of sets, including floor plans, scenery, and properties to be constructed.
  • Developing set designs, evaluating scripts and budgets, and researching information and available locations.
  • Time management/deadline-oriented with a “the show must go on” mentality.
  • Social media savvy having cultivated an online presence using platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
  • Understanding of multiple computer-aided software and technology.

Theatre majors may choose to enter into the workforce using the skills they have acquired at Purdue or to attend graduate school upon completion of their degree. Past graduates have gone on to: 


  • Arena Sports
  • Arts Center of Coastal Carolina
  • Elliott Hall of Music

Graduate School

  • Stanford University
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Missouri - KC
  • University of California, Irvine

CLA Career Center