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.

The Soul of Christmas

“The Soul of Christmas” is a finger-snapping, foot-tapping, hand-clapping holiday musical for the whole family. Join the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Theatre Arts Program as they journey into the world of joyful music that will lift spirits and feed souls. Enjoy holiday favorites such as “Handel’s Messiah,” “O Holy Night,” “This Christmas” and “Go Tell It on The Mountain” performed by the national award-winning Richard B. Harrison Players.

 Directed and conceived by Visual and Performing Arts Department chair Gregory J. Horton, this high-energy production is destined to become the holiday gift that keeps on giving.

 Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the department could not perform the musical live, but the recording of the 2019 production in Paul Robeson Theatre is available on the university’s YouTube channel until Dec. 26.

Media Contact Information: dbbradby@ncat.edu

 

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Professional Theatre with two Options:

  • Acting
  • Technology

Our Mission

…to provide excellent educational opportunities, culturally enriching activities, diverse and life-changing artistic experiences for our students…the Campus Community, Greater Greensboro, and the NC Triad Region.

Our Vision

….to produce theatre that reflects the human experience from, but not limited to, an African American perspective inclusive of supporting new works and experimental theatre. To become the premier training program in acting and theatre technology that uses the arts as a means to impact local, national, and international communities.

The goals of the Theatre Arts Program are to:

  1. teach students how to use theatre as a means of self-expression, awareness, and discipline
  2. enlighten students to the great works of theatre through reading, research and producing
  3. prepare students for professional careers in acting, technology and admission to graduate school
  4. provide students with the necessary skills to promote theatre as a tool for community engagement, economic growth and cultural inclusion
  5. inspire students to create theatre that is informative, innovative, progressive and meets the needs of an ever-changing global society

  • 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 National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) accredited the Theatre program in 1987, making it the first accredited BFA at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in North Carolina and only the second in the nation.  NAST re-accredited the program in 1996, making it in 2000 the only accredited BFA at an HBCU.

Our average enrollment is 45 – 65

We are ranked the #1 Theatre Program for African Americans in North Carolina. Out of 34 HBCU’s with Theatre Programs in the US we are ranked #3 in the country.