Department of Theatre Arts

We are pleased and excited about your interest in Theater Arts at Gardner-Webb University! We believe that our program is one of the best in the region with a specific focus on creating original dramatic works. We have a dynamic and active theater program here at Gardner-Webb University and we hope that you will want to be a part of it.


The Gardner-Webb University Theater program, within the School of Performing and Visual Arts, offers academic training in both Performance and Technical/Design areas. With the small class size, you’ll have excellent access to your professors. We produce six theatrical events each year (not including summers), so there are constant opportunities for you to get involved in co-curricular activities both onstage and backstage. GWU boasts excellent facilities with two performance halls. Whether you wish to pursue a career as a theater professional, a drama teacher at the secondary level, or even the leader of a drama ministry, the theater program at Gardner-Webb University is concerned with developing in our students the life skills to succeed beyond the college years.


Your major in theater arts will help you explore and pursue opportunities for creative expression and artistic outlet. As you study theater at Gardner-Webb, you'll discuss the significant historical developments and accomplishments of theater and dramatic literature; you'll acquire concrete skills in performance and stagecraft, increasing your competence as a performer; and you'll even get the opportunity to help create a theatrical event for a live audience, applying your theoretical learning hands-on. The Gardner-Webb Theater Arts program produces six theatrical events each year, offering plenty of opportunities for you to get involved and apply your talent and skills.


You can choose from four concentrations in the field of Theater Arts.


Your options include:


  • Performance
    As a major in Theater with a Performance concentration, you’ll take classes focusing on aspects of artistry on the stage, from make-up and stage combat to acting styles and directing.
  • Tech & Design
    As a major in Theater with a Tech & Design concentration, you’ll learn about the technical aspects of bringing a production to life, including stagecraft, make-up, and theater management
  • Directing
    As a major in Theater with a Directing concentration, you’ll focus on performance from a director’s perspective with advanced courses in acting as well as directing.
  • Playwriting
    As a major in Theater with a Playwriting concentration, you’ll explore the unique conventions of writing for the stage and screen with courses in scriptwriting and playwriting as well as acting and directing.


All concentrations include a required course on Theater and Christianity, which encourages students to analyze the relationship between their faith and their interest in theater arts.


When you graduate, you'll have the creative skills, confidence and training to pursue lots of different paths: professional acting, directing, or theater management; high school drama teaching; or education and ministry through creative performance.


If you would like to visit Gardner-Webb during the school year, let us know and we will arrange a tour of our facilities, a visit with a faculty member, and the opportunity to sit in on a class. If you visit during the run of one of our shows, we will be happy for you and your parents to be our guests. Dawg Days are an ideal time for you to see the campus as a whole, while meeting our students and faculty in Theater Arts.


Mission Statement

In support of the university mission, the GWU Theater will strive to integrate excellence in traditional scholarship and artistic creativity with a Christian worldview, in order to fulfill its mandate to be a cultural laboratory engaging the university, the larger community of artist scholars, and the world.


Webb Spinners

Webb Spinners is Gardner-Webb’s Student Theater Society and is open to all students regardless of major or minor. Some activities include:


  • singing telegrams and sonnets: “to order” poetry delivered by actors on holidays like Valentine’s Day,
  • The Black Widow Ball: an end-of-the-year costume banquet celebrating the work the department has created throughout the year,
  • Concessions: the student society takes charge of the concessions sold at intermission of main stage performances,
  • Production documentation: the students take responsibility for documenting department activities throughout the year and compiling them in a scrapbook and slideshow at the Black Widow Ball,
  • T-shirts: perhaps the most important aspect of any group is the identification of its members with the organization. By developing logos for display on t-shirts, hats, and other items, the society builds camaraderie and identification with the Theater Program
  • Campus Tours: Aiding in student recruitment, the Webb Spinners give tours to potential theater students, teaching them “the ropes,” and making sure you feel at home.


Alpha Psi Omega

The honor society for drama, Alpha Psi Omega is an invitation-only organization for outstanding students recognizing their achievement and encouraging an appreciation of theater.



Your degree in theater arts will train you in a variety of useful talents: creativity, communication, expression, performance, people skills, and more. You can pursue rewarding careers in many fields including acting, casting, directing, playwriting and scriptwriting, stage managing, marketing, public relations, education, therapy, arts management, community programming, arts fundraising, tourism, television, and more.



Our recent alumni are pursuing graduate studies in stage directing and acting at institutions such as Baylor University and Regent University.