In the early 1960s Erdahl-Cloyd Union decided to improve the university’s cultural offerings. The union hired novelist and playwright Romulus Linney to serve as writer-in-residence and to conduct small theatre workshops in Pullen Hall. The union deemed Pullen Hall inadequate for a theatre, but Thompson Gymnasium had been vacant since 1961. Thompson Theatre’s first season, in which local actors and students produced the shows, opened in 1964. In 1972, Talley Student Center opened, and its administration decided it was time for a more stable student theatre program. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, theater participation and enrollment in new theater classes soared. In 1998, staff at Thompson and Stewart Theatre combined to form University Theatre, which opened its first season with performances in both spaces. A more in-depth look at University Theatre’s history is located on UT’s History page
- 15 professional staff
- University Theatre utilizes students on technical and house crews, and as assistants.
University Theatre operates Frank Thompson Hall and Stewart Theatre. With 759 seats, Stewart Theatre is the largest theatrical space on campus, and it is booked for over 200 days each year. The Frank Thompson building closed in 2007 for extensive renovation and in 2009, reopened as Frank Thompson Hall with two completely updated theatre spaces, Titmus Theatre and the Kennedy-McIlwee Studio Theatre. In addition to two theaters, Thompson Hall spaces include production shops, a rehearsal hall, classrooms, and storage.
- Productions – UT will produce three Producing Series productions, one in the Studio Series, the Out Loud script reading Series, The WRIGHT Way script development series, and the QuickSCRIPTS 10-minute play festival. The season concludes with TheatreFEST during the month of June. Under the direction of full-time professional staff, these volunteer productions are open to all NC State students.
- Academics – Students may take theatre courses focusing on stagecraft, design, acting and directing. A fifteen credit-hour minor in theatre is available.
- Event Operations – University Theatre operates all three of the campus performance venues, providing production and logistical support to student, campus and public renters.
- Students – University Theatre engages hundreds of students a year through onstage, backstage, production shops, classes and other activities.