About the Department
In the Performing Arts Department, rigorous instruction in theater, dance, and performance enriches our students creatively and intellectually. We showcase the artistic and scholarly achievement of our faculty and students, and give students the opportunities for personal growth that only a performing arts education can provide.
Our dance and drama events put students center stage, enhancing the cultural life of the Washington University community with vibrant productions and scholarly events that reach thousands of audience members each year.
Our faculty are award-winning artists, scholars, and educators widely recognized for excellence in their fields. We offer rigorous instruction in modern and classical traditions of dance, and in every major discipline of theatrical art. With our accomplished faculty, students can take multiple levels of classes in acting, directing, playwriting, scenic design, costume design, and theatrical lighting. Our scholars bring expertise in the literature, history, and theory of performance from Antiquity to the twenty-first century. Across all these diverse specialties, we are unified by a commitment to fostering independent creative thought, and to equipping students with what they need to thrive artistically and intellectually after graduation.
Washington University graduates its first class of students in prison
“We’ve created this liberal arts environment in the middle of a prison,” said Robert Henke, professor of drama and comparative literature and director of the program. “You get your books and it’s Homer’s Odyssey and you start talking about the text. You’re the professor and they’re not criminals, they’re not inmates, they’re college students.”Read more
David Dorfman ('77), named a 2019 United States Artists Fellow
2018 - 2019 Season
At a time of shaken faith in familiar national ideals, our drama season explores American themes, and our dance events take inspiration from the realms of the unconscious and formal experimentation.2018-2019 Production Season