The Department of Theater and Dance fosters a vibrant and stimulating environment that encourages creative self-expression and critical thinking. Undergraduate programs include intensive, conservatory-style training for actors and dancers, as well as general degrees with a focus on Dance, Design, Directing, Playwriting, Theater and Community and Theater and Performance Studies. The department's nationally recognized and highly ranked graduate program offers a diverse array of interdisciplinary approaches to performance research within a global orientation. The department provides a lively forum for faculty to integrate teaching and research, at the cutting edge of their areas of expertise.

The Department of Theater and Dance was established in 1964 under the leadership of Dr. Theodore W. Hatlen with the assistance of Dr. Stanley L. Glenn when it separated from the Department of Speech. In 1967, Dr. William Reardon expanded the graduate program to include the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, and in 1983, the Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting was added. UC Santa Barbara is one of the few schools in the country to offer this B.F.A. program. The department enrolls approximately 240 undergraduate theater and dance majors and 25 theater graduate students who reap the benefits of a department committed to excellence situated in a large university.

Dance is an integral part of the Department of Theater and Dance at UCSB, which affords it the advantage of operating within an ongoing atmosphere of theatrical endeavor. Two degree programs, the Bachelor of Fine Arts and the Bachelor of Arts, are offered for students interested in pursuing a career in dance. The size of the department's faculty and their active involvement presents the student with excellent faculty mentorship. There are three dance companies in residence as part of the curriculum and artistic reach of the Dance area. Santa Barbara Dance Theater is a professional company directed by faculty member Christopher Pilafian. Dancers in this company are a blend of paid professionals and student apprentices. UCSB Dance Company is a touring and performing company comprised of senior dance majors. Each year they travel to Europe to perform in the spring. Ballet Opus One is a contemporary ballet company whose repertory is primarily new modern ballet works, often performed in unusual site specific locations.

In a typical year, the department produces five main stage drama productions and four modern and ballet dance concerts. The productions represent the various periods and styles taught in the academic programs, ranging from the classics to contemporary dramas and comedies to original works. Additionally, the department offers graduate and undergraduate directed one-act plays, and dance studio presentations.

Photos by David Bazemore