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Department of Performing Arts


Performing Arts - Theatre

The Bachelor of Arts in performing arts - theatre degree allows you to create your own future in the performing arts.  Our innovative theatre concentration is a hands-on program that encourages students to focus on specific areas, including acting, technical theatre, theatre management, writing, directing or a personalized combination of several skill sets. We help our students become well-rounded theatre artists ready to create and collaborate. Students have the opportunity to work with faculty and visiting professionals on department productions, as well as professional environments in Greenville, Atlanta and the surrounding area, to build their networks while completing course work. Theatre students collaborate with audio technology and music students and get hands-on experience in our professional roadhouse, the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts, our on-site living laboratory.  Students also have the opportunity to participate in masterclasses, develop connections with professional artists and work alongside dynamic faculty who are leaders in their field.   Most importantly, our students are prepared for today’s highly competitive job market after graduation.


We’re excited that you’ve decided to audition to study theatre at Clemson University! Our Bachelor of Arts degree is a versatile program that can be uniquely tailored to your strengths and interests to prepare you for a number of different careers in the field. If you happen to have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Matthew Leckenbusch, director of theatre, at

  • Resumé, Headshot and Letters of Recommendation

    All students auditioning for the theatre concentration are required to bring a resumé, headshot and two letters of recommendation to their audition. The letters of recommendation should speak to the student's ability to succeed in the performing arts program and can be written by a director, teacher, principal, music teacher, etc.

  • Interview

    Students should be prepared to answer the following questions:

    • What attracted you to this degree program? 
    • What are your career aspirations? 
    • What are your experiences and background in the arts? 
    • What other (non-arts) activities were you involved with in your school and/or community during your high school career? 
    Understanding that this degree requires collaborative teamwork with students of varying performing arts backgrounds: 
    • How do you see yourself fitting into this curriculum? 
    • What previous experiences have you had in collaboration?
  • Acting Emphasis

    Prepare and perform two contrasting monologues (approximately 60 seconds each).

    If students would like to showcase their vocal skills, a 16-32 bar excerpt may be performed in place of one monologue. Students who send a copy of their music with the excerpt clearly marked to, no less than two weeks before their audition, will be provided an accompanist.

  • Design/Technical Emphasis

    Bring a portfolio and/or photographs of their creative work, including scenery, lighting, costume or any backstage or design examples.

    Applicants should be prepared to discuss their backstage work (E.g. stage management, running crews, design, etc.).

    Bring samples of any artwork (E.g. drawings, paintings, etc.).


The theatre program at Clemson combines exciting aspects of performance, design and playwriting in an academically challenging environment. While our majors do specialize, they are introduced to every aspect of a theatrical event. Students experience a department intent on exposing them to a wide variety of performances and plays - from classical to contemporary - emphasizing rich production values and thematic/structural diversity of new works. Students learn the traditional curriculum, but also delve into subjects such as the history of musical theatre; "page-to-stage" adaptations or original ensemble-based created work; color theory; Japanese theatre; and language-based study of dialects.

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Student spotlight

Alumni Spotlight

Devario Simmons

Devario D. Simmons, a performing arts graduate, began his costuming journey in 2010 costume-technology class taught by Kendra Johnson, Clemson Associate Professor of Theatre. As a Clemson student he designed costumes for several Clemson University productions, including Euripides’ “Medea.” Simmons was the co-costume designer with Toni-Leslie James for Keenan Scott II’s play “Thoughts of a Colored Man,” which debuted on Broadway in October 2021. Among his professional credits, Simmons is also an assistant professor teaching costume design at Ithaca College.

Learn more

Alumni Spotlight

Liz Haynes

Liz Haynes '17 serves as Assistant Professor of the Practice at Vanderbilt University where she created and teaches a class on sustainability in the arts. She also serves as the department's technical director and is a freelance theatre artist and fabricator.

Student spotlight
Student spotlight

Alumni Spotlight

Christopher Joel Onken

Christopher Joel Onken '11 is an actor based in NYC. His regional credits include Blue Barn Theatre, Bridge Street Theatre, Opera House Arts, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, LEAN Ensemble, Warehouse Theatre, Colorado and Nashville Shakespeare Festivals, ZACH Theatre, Bridge Street Theatre, Rubber City Theatre, Theatre at Monmouth, and Greenbrier Valley Theatre. Onken made his Broadway debut in The Inheritance in 2019 and is a member of the Actors' Equity Association.

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Contact Us

Matthew Leckenbusch
Director of Theatre
Linda Dzuris
Department Chair
Department of Performing Arts
Department of Performing Arts | 221 Brooks Center, Box 340525, Clemson, SC 29634