College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Theatre Arts

The Theatre Arts Division was founded in 1969 as part of the Department of Speech and Drama.  

The genesis of the Division dated to 1898, when Mrs. Susan B. Dudley (1865-1933), wife of the then A&T president James B. Dudley, founded the A & M Players (until 1915, the University was called the Agricultural and Mechanical College).  As her first production, Mrs. Dudley wrote, produced, and directed the Commencement play “How Shall I Go Up to My Father?” 

She persuaded her husband in 1923 to hire the celebrated actor Richard B. Harrison.  He directed a play and taught the course “Expression and Dramatic Art” each summer until 1930, when he left to star on Broadway in Marc Connelly’s The Green Pastures.  

As a tribute to Harrison, the A & M Players adopted his name in 1932.  And today are called the Richard B. Harrison Players. 

Professors in the English Department directed The Richard B. Harrison Players and Dr. John M. Kilimanjaro who taught in the department added Theatre courses and turned the Players into a disciplined theatre group, which traveled throughout the U.S. 

Kilimanjaro continually lobbied to separate Speech and Drama from the English Department.  After his petition was granted in 1969, he completely redesigned the curriculum. 

He oversaw the design and the construction of The Paul Robeson Theatre in 1970.  He retired in 1981.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Professional Theatre and Dance: 



The mission of the Theatre Arts Program is to provide excellent educational opportunities, culturally enriching activities, diverse and life-changing artistic experiences for our students, the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University campus community, Greater Greensboro, and the N.C. Triad Region.

Vision Statement

The vision of the Theatre Arts Program is to create theatre that reflects the human experience from, though not limited to, an African American perspective and to become a premier training program in acting and theatre technology that uses theatre arts as a means to impact local, national and international communities.

Thgoals of the Theatre Arts Program are:

  • to teach students how to use theatre as a means of self-expression, awareness and discipline,
  • to acquaint students to the great works of theatre through reading and producing them,
  • to prepare students for professional careers in acting and technology and/or admission to graduate schools,
  • to convey the skills necessary to promote theatre as a means of enhancing culture in the community, and
  • to assist students in developing the skills necessary to participate in global theatre opportunities through studies of the histories and cultures of selected peoples, participating in plays, and meetings with dramatists, actors, artists, and intellectuals from other countries and cultures.

  • Donald Eugene Coffey Scholarship Fund
  • Eric Raye Wooten Memorial Scholarship

In addition, the Theatre Arts Program offers a limited number of out-of-state waivers, as well as small scholarships

The Richard B. Harrison Players and Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honorary Society

The Theatre Arts Program in Acting and Theatre Technology has been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) since 1981 and is one of the oldest accredited theatre programs among the nation’s HBCUs. 

For the 2022-2023 academic year, there were 75 theatre majors and 12 theatre minors. The below chart provides a view of the number of theatre majors over the last five years.

Number of Theatre Majors over the last five years
School Year Number of Theatre Majors
2018-2019 64
2019-2020 79
2020-2021 65
2021-2022 56
2022-2023 75


The Theatre Arts Program is ranked the No. 1 theatre program among HBCUs in North Carolina, and out of 34 HBCUs with theatre programs in the U.S., the program is ranked #3 in the nation, according to