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History of Theatre and Dance at TCU*


The School for Classical and Contemporary Dance


In 1949, Texas Christian University became the first university in the United States to offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.  The department established its mission to balance dance training with academic achievement.   In 1968 the department created a BFA in Modern Dance and by 1976, a Master of Fine Arts in both Ballet and Modern Dance was added to the curriculum.


The dance faculty strives to bring depth to a growing program by blending artistic integrity and technical excellence with academic challenge. Comprehensive and progressive, the newly renamed School for Classical and Contemporary Dance at TCU is rewarded with a national reputation for graduating dancers who possess excellence in both professional dance training and academic success.  The School for Classical & Contemporary Dance at TCU believes that dance education begins in the studio with equal emphasis on classical and contemporary dance training.


Department of Theatre


theatre logo.tifSince its founding at Thorp Spring, Texas, in 1873, Texas Christian University has embraced performances in the Fine Arts as adjuncts to regular studies in the Liberal Arts. In the earlier years, play performances were extra-curricular activities, not courses of study, presented by student groups.  When the university moved to Waco in 1895, performances by dramatic clubs took on greater importance with more frequent presentations, usually under the direction of a faculty member in Oratory or Public Speaking.  When TCU moved to its present site in Fort Worth productions resumed in the new Administration building.


When the School of Fine Arts was established in 1943, it was decided to organize a regular curriculum in theatrical studies.   Although plans were under way for the construction to house studies in the Fine Arts as early as 1929, it did not become a reality until the Fine Arts Building, now known as Ed Landreth Hall, opened its doors in 1949.


In 1958 the Division of Theatre separated from the Speech Department and became the Department of Theatre Arts. At that time, the department was offering courses to support five academic degrees: BFA in Theatre, BFA in Theatre Education, BA in Theatre, MFA in Theatre, and MA in Theatre.


*From the websites for TCU’s Department of Theatre and College of Dance.  For more information about theatre and dance at TCU, vist the College of Fine Arts.