Why Study Theatre and Communication Studies (TCS)?


Why Study Theatre and Communication Studies (TCS)?

Frequently, students are discouraged from studying the arts because of parental fears about post-graduation employment. However, many forget that “show business” is a billion dollar multifaceted industry.  A study conducted by the organization Americans for the Arts (AFA) analyzed the economic impact of the nonprofit arts organizations in the United States, and discovered $166 billion in economic activity. Nonprofit creative industries annually support 5.7 million full-time jobs.

Why study Theatre?  The study of theatre requires that students explore and analyze the world from multiple perspectives.  Theatre Majors and Minors are equipped with a critical lens that helps them master critical-thinking skills, creative problem-solving, and effective collaborative communication tools.  Students are trained to confidently express themselves, by creating meaning through narrative.

To train effectively within the theatre arts discipline students are required to study a broad knowledge base. TCS students receive a full range of instruction and experience in the theatre arts—practice, history, and theory—along with the full benefits of a liberal arts education.

Our faculty's expertise includes acting, movement, voice, directing, choreography, stage management, playwriting, storytelling, music theatre, children's theatre, devised theatre, theatre history and criticism, and costume, set, and light design.

Learning through a synthesis of research and practice, TCS students are trained not only how to analyze and make performance, but how to critique, reshape, and transform the world through performance. We create and examine theatre through three major lenses: performance as an object of analysis, as a lens for social/cultural phenomena, and as a research method. The Theatre Studies artist/scholar is taught to analyze, historicize, and theorize performance.  Graduating TCS majors are challenged to complete a project in the Senior Capstone Course that defines their understanding of performance: in order to deepen and inform a performance.

Why study Communication? 

The Department of Communication Studies explores the social, political, and cultural functions of communication as it occurs in diverse settings ranging from interpersonal interaction to global media. Drawing on both qualitative and quantitative methods, the department’s teaching and scholarship explore communication practices, media, and the arts as they shape agreement and dissent, competition and cooperation.

Topics taught in our classes include: new media, public culture, social networking, technology and social behavior, and so forth. They address both perennial problems and emergent phenomena in a context of interdisciplinary collaboration. Students have opportunities for direct involvement in scholarship. Additional programming ensures a rich academic environment for acquiring the understanding and skills that will be expected for leadership in the twenty-first century.

TCS Majors and Faculty Travel to the Tony Award Winning Alliance Theatre

Why Study Theatre and Communication Studies at Clark Atlanta University?

We create opportunities.

Clark Atlanta University has over 120 years of experience creating artistic opportunities. Did you know that Atlanta University was the first HBCU to offer drama courses in the United States?  Atlanta University Alumna Adrienne Elizabeth McNeil, wife of famed businessman Alonzo Herndon, served as the Director of Dramatics at Atlanta University from 1895 until 1900.  Professor McNeil understood the importance of the correlation between human development and the arts.  Clark Atlanta University has continued to serve as leader in the field of humanities education by expanding Professor McNeil’s vision for training students in Theatre and Communication Studies.


The Department of Theatre and Communication Studies expands our students’ possibilities with a comprehensive exploration of the communication arts that includes emerging areas of practice, such as educational outreach, research training, and new work development. Students learn the discipline of Theatre and Communication Studies by professionally interning at critically acclaimed theatres, Speech Pathology Clinics, Public Relations Firms, Talent Agencies, Film Studios, Radio Stations, and so forth.  CAU arts facilities enhances student learning with technologically advanced performance classrooms, and several performance venues throughout the Atlanta University Center. Opportunity extends beyond the campus as well, with community engagement, and international study.


TCS Majors and Faculty in NYC

Mentors are always close by.

At Clark Atlanta University, Theatre and Communication Studies majors are never far from an inspirational professional mentor. Theatre and Communication Studies professors are accomplished working professionals, published authors, and dedicated pedagogues with an equal commitment to the development of students’ artistic and social justice growth.  Both programs focus on the theoretical intersection of the arts and cultural identity, politics, sexuality, race, gender, class, and so forth.   With Clark Atlanta University’s focus on holistic education and mentorship as the norm, our students find their voice. Students work with faculty and award winning guest artists, as well as create student-generated projects.


Alumnus and Tony Award winning director Kenny Leon mentoring a TCS Major


We train Change Agents.

Clark Atlanta University Theatre and Communication Studies graduates play essential roles in their communities—performing and directing on Broadway, transforming classrooms, leading nonprofits and businesses, write for TV and Film, serving as innovators, creative forces and social justice champions. The Department of Theatre and Communication Studies prepares our students for careers in the Communication Arts and helps them cultivate transferrable skills that will serve a range of possible endeavors in life. Recent students have been accepted to respected theatre graduate programs across the nation such as Yale University, Emory University, and abroad. And others have put their theatre education to use in fields such as law, business and education. Others remain in the Atlanta University area and work in the TV and film industry.