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Why OU Drama?

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Why Choose OU Helmerich School of Drama?

Race Ricketts and Julian Walker in Twelfth Night, 2019. Costumes: Ciara Smith; Lighting: Joshua Robbins; Set: Nathan Hatfield; Props: Tony Wilkerson; Photo by Wendy Muntz.
  • We train students for professional careers in Acting, Design, Dramaturgy, and Stage Management.

  • We offer theatre training in a conservatory-style environment while still offering the advantages of a liberal arts education from a nationally renowned university.

  • As the producing organization for the Helmerich School of Drama, the Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre, and the OU Schools of Dance and Music, University Theatre produces between 9 and 11 shows a year.

  • Each main stage production plays at least six performances and often up to eight.

  • Our shows play to a diverse audience from Norman and the Oklahoma area, often to sold-out houses, and create box office returns that subsidize our program.

  • We have four fully-equipped performance spaces: the Elsie C. Brackett Theatre, a 600-seat proscenium house; the A. Max Weitzenhoffer Theatre, a 225-seat state-of-the-art flexible house; The Gilson Lab Theatre, an 80-seat proscenium house; and, the Studio Theatre, an intimate blackbox.

  • Auditions for all productions, including musicals, are open to students of any year or discipline. Freshmen and transfer students are frequently cast in mainstage and graduate-directed productions during their first year at OU.

  • We have a strong and supportive alumni base now living and working in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and around the country.

  • Members of the OU Drama family include A. Max Weitzenhoffer (Tony Award-winning producer and OU Alumnus), James Garner, Alice Ghostley, (two-time Tony Award winner), Ed Harris, Ronnie Clair Edwards, Van Heflin, Dennis Weaver, Rance Howard, Larry Drake, Lonny Chapman, Lou and Jim Antonio, as well as many recent graduates with successful careers in film, television, and theatre.

  • We continually adapt our program to meet the needs of the professional entertainment industry.

  • We offer stage combat training in hand-to-hand and armed and edged weaponry as well as classes in acting for the camera and a class in career development and professional preparation.

  • Our faculty consists of theatre artists with distinguished careers, who regularly return to the professional industry and work as actors, directors, designers, dramaturgs, and stage managers, bringing the fruits of their experience into the classroom, rehearsals, and production.

  • Each year artists from all over the United States and many foreign countries visit the campus to work with our students. These include internationally famous actors, voice and movement teachers, designers, technicians, dramaturgs and playwrights. Past guest artists have included Lou Antonio, Wayne Rawley, Lou Diamond Phillips, John Cullum, Larry Drake, Jane Boston, Ian Ricketts, Jade McCutchen, Mark Meinart, Gillyanne Kayes, Andrew Wade, Louis Broome, Tina Packer, Willa Kim, Ken Kercheval, A. Max Weitzenhoffer, Paul Mason Barnes, Russel Treyz, and Mark Medoff.

  • Generous contributions from School of Drama Alumnus A. Max Weitzenhoffer have allowed us to enhance our inventory of intelligent lighting instruments. Mr. Weitzenhoffer is a highly acclaimed independent producer of New York and London theatre productions and has won numerous Tony, Olivier, Evening Standard and Drama Critics awards. He graduated from The University of Oklahoma with a BFA in Drama, and has served many professional organizations including the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, President of New York's Circle Repertory Company and is a member of the league of New York Theatres & Producers. He is an active patron of the arts at the University of Oklahoma and has been generous in providing opportunities in five of his West End theatres. Awards from the University include the 1992 Regents' Alumni Award, the 1988 Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Citation and an Honorary Doctorate at the 2000 Commencement ceremonies. In 1994 he was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

  • The University of Oklahoma is a nationally renowned research university with one of the lowest tuitions in the Big 12.
  • Our low faculty-to-student ratio ensures that students get the personal attention they need. Supportive, professional faculty and encouraging fellow students create a nurturing environment in which all can learn and develop their craft.
  • Norman is a traditional college town with easy access to the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, with a safe and friendly community. Due to the diligent work of previous OU president David Boren and Molly Shi Boren, the OU campus and surrounding grounds have enjoyed many recent renovations, additions to facilities, and present a setting of unparalleled beauty in grounds and landscaping. The historic OU campus has been restored and beautified with many gifts from companies and private donors.
  • The OU campus offers many rich historical and cultural resources, including the Weitzenhoffer Collection in the Fred Jones Museum of Art (the largest donation of impressionist art ever given to a public university), the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History, and the Peggy V. Helmerich Great Reading Room.