Category:Theatre and Media Arts

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The Department of Theatre and Media Arts

The Department of Theatre and Media Arts is committed to both the mission of Brigham Young University "to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life," and the "Aims of a BYU Education" which "should be (1) spiritually strengthening, (2) intellectually enlarging, and (3) character building, leading to (4) lifelong learning and service." We work toward these ends by promoting literacy, spirituality, and creativity, and by exploring their interrelatedness, in the arts of theatre and media.

Literacy means for us the ability to "read"---that is, to apply the vocabulary and grammar of theatre and media arts to (1) uncover multiple meanings in works of art, and (2) appreciate, evaluate, and respond to them. Spirituality consists of discovering, exploring, and balancing the interrelationships among the individual, others, and Deity. Creativity means synthesizing in new ways, and illuminating human understanding through performance and production.

We promote literacy, spirituality, and creativity in the arts of theatre and media by emphasizing such central elements as:

  • The truths of human experience;
  • Generosity of soul;
  • A service orientation, and focus on others;
  • Commitment to developing infinite potential; and
  • Awareness

In promoting literacy, spirituality, and creativity in theatre and media arts, we balance the skills and demands of:

  • Thinking -- both creative and critical;
  • Collaborative mentored processes; and
  • Production

The Theatre and Media Arts Department hosts youth camps each summer for students in middle and high school to come to BYU and improve their skills. To learn more about the various summer camps, or to apply, click here.

Department History and Evolution of Department Programs

The disciplines of Theatre and Media Arts have a rich history at Brigham Young University. Theatre has been taught here since 1901, with Miriam Nelke teaching literary interpretation, Shakespeare, and oral expression. BYU was one of the first universities to create a formal department for the production of motion pictures, which was founded in 1953. In 1974, the Theatre and Media Arts departments were merged into one, forming a union which has fostered a healthy collaboration between these two artistic disciplines. Today, the department services more than 450 students and has 21 full-time and 54 part-time faculty members.

Students from the the theatre department have performed in Broadway casts of Mama Mia!, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Thoroughly Modern Millie and 42nd Street. Additionally, students have been with the Broadway national tours of Cats, Fosse, Footloose, Titanic, Sunset Boulevard, and Annie Get Your Gun. Graduates have also worked with the Boston Ballet, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, and the Sacramento Ballet.

Film students from our department have created several successful independent films, such as, Napoleon Dynamite, God's Army, Pride and Prejudice, Saints and Soldiers, The Singles Ward, Out of Step, Brigham City, and Charly. Our students have competed in prestigious film competitions such as the Sundance Film Festival and Slamdance. They've also been on the crews for national television programs, such as, Touched by an Angel and Everwood. This year a student film is receiving a Student Emmy award.

TMA graduates have gone on to pursue degrees at the Boston Conservatory, the Old Globe in San Diego, the University of California, San Diego; the University of Texas at Austin, New York University, the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Iowa; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the University of Nottingham, and many others.

In short, the Department of Theatre and Media Arts provides its students with an enriching environment in which they can pursue their creative, scholarly, and spiritual interests.

Department Chairs

"The First One Hundred Years", vol 2

Special Elocution

Miriam Nelke (1906-1907)
Laura Pearl Adams (1908-1920)

Public Speaking

T. Earl Pardoe (1919-1922)

Public Speaking and Dramatic Arts

Kathryn Bassett Pardoe (1922-1925)
Grace Stewart (1925-1929)


Alonzo J. Morley (1930)
T. Earl Pardoe (1931-1951)
Harold I. Hansen (1952-1953)

Speech and Dramatic Arts

Harold I. Hansen (1953-1961)

In 1961, the department split into the Dramatic Arts Department and Speech Department.

Dramatic Arts

Harold I. Hansen (1961-1965)
Lael Woodbury (1966-1968)


Morris M. Clinger (1961-1968)

In 1968, the two departments were again combined to form the Speech and Dramatic Arts Department.

Speech and Dramatic Arts

Lael Woodbury (1968-1971)
Parley Newman (1972-1974)

Theatre and Cinematic Arts

Charles Metten (1974-1979)
Harold Oaks (1980-1988)

Theatre and Film

Harold Oaks (1988-1993)
Eric Fielding (1993-1997)

Theatre and Media Arts

Eric Fielding (1997-1998)
Robert Nelson (1998-2004)
Rodger Sorensen (2004-2010)
Amy Jensen (2010-2015)
Wade Hollingshaus (2015-Present)

Community Outreach

The Theatre and Media Arts department annually teams up with the Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance. Students make short documentary films to promote social entrepreneur organizations. These documentaries are meant to highlight real people living real lives. In 2012 two teams created three such documentaries. Team KIVA put together two films about Kiva's domestic programs in the US. Their story features a hard-working couple who moved to New Orleans after hurricane Katrina in order to help in the rebuilding process. Kiva presented them with a loan to start a construction business that creates energy-efficient homes. This loan helped them effectively serve and give back to the community. The other team was Team GADCO. GADCO is a non-profit organization that works to revolutionize rice farming in Ghana. Team GADCO created a short film about a Ghanaian woman who works three jobs to support her six adopted children. In the film the woman was hopeful that the new GADCO program would provide a future to her children.


The department of Theatre and Media Arts is home to several student clubs, as well as local chapters of national organizations. To join a campus club of learn more, click here. Clubs in the Theatre and Media Arts department include:

  • Student Film Association

External Links


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