Chair: David Levin, Wieboldt 122, 773.702.8532

The undergraduate Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS) program seeks to animate the intersection of theory and practice in the arts. From its inception, the program has experimented with form, thought, and process, and has capitalized on the tremendous commitment of our undergraduates, the passionate engagement of a remarkable cross-section of Chicago-area theater artists, and the diverse interests of our faculty. The opening of the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts in 2012 enabled ideas to spring to life in state-of-the-art theaters, labs, and design studios.

The program is comparative in multiple ways, requiring students to acquire facility in the practice of two media (e.g., theater, film, video, dance, music, creative writing) while learning to analyze those media critically. Students work closely with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to shape an individual course of study that reflects the student’s interests while fulfilling the program’s interdisciplinary and comparative requirements.

Today, TAPS students produce work that encompasses classic and contemporary drama, dance, circus, improv, and site-specific installation. In addition to more than thirty student initiated productions produced annually, the TAPS program offers an Acting Studio every autumn directed by the founder of Black Box, Chicago’s leading actor-training institution. Every spring, TAPS premieres an original performance work developed by students in a winter course with a professional Chicago performance company. Past productions have gone on to appear at festivals and theaters around the city, including the Studs Terkel Festival and the Steppenwolf Garage Repertory.  

The TAPS program draws lecturers from a variety of Chicago’s professional companies, including A Red Orchid Theatre, Goodman Theatre, The House Theatre of Chicago, The Hypocrites Theater Chicago, The Inconvenience, Lucky Plush Productions, The Neo-Futurists, Northlight Theatre, The New Colony, The Second City, Steppenwolf Theatre, and Victory Gardens Theater. Every year, more than 800 students enroll in TAPS courses ranging from the university’s arts core to advanced courses in acting, directing, playwriting, devising, and design. The program boasts approximately twenty graduating majors and minors per year, many of whom go on to work in leading theaters, found theater companies, and enroll in prominent PhD and MFA programs across the country.

Learn more about the program requirements for a Major or Minor in Theater and Performance Studies.