The Theatre Arts Department at CSULB educates, nurtures, and inspires students to successfully embark as integrated, thoughtful, and culturally aware artists into the local and global professional arenas.
Since 1954, the Theatre Arts Department has offered an atmosphere where students are encouraged to explore theatre arts and related fields; and it is also a place where community members can gather to enjoy the art of theatre. The Department holds Division II membership in the National Association of Schools of Theatre and is also a member in good standing with the Theatre Communications Group, the United States Institute of Theatre Technology, the University/Resident Theatre Association, and the International Theatre Institute of the United States.
Currently, the Department operates five different producing entities, in addition to offering a wide variety of innovative undergraduate and graduate courses, workshops and guest artist lectures:
California Repertory Company is the professionally modeled graduate student theatre company founded in 1989.
University Players is the undergraduate theatre company founded in 1954.
Theatre Threshold, operating for more than twenty years, is the undergraduate student-run production company. This company produces new performances each week of the semester, which are presented as part of our showcase class.
The Affinity Series, an initiative launched in 2013, further enhances our students’ training and provides additional community cultural offerings through performances, workshops, master classes, and lectures. These events celebrate theatre arts’ engagement with the diverse, timely and important social issues within our local and global communities.
EPIC (Educational Performance in Community), also founded in 2013, ties directly into a course each semester where the students form a community-based ensemble. The mission of EPIC is to train our students in the myriad skills necessary to build bridges within the campus and the larger greater Long Beach community across ethnic, generational and social boundaries. This objective is achieved by our students’ facilitating workshops with our community partners which serve as the catalyst for performance pieces that tour local organizations and schools in addition to being produced for our CSULB community.
All of these educational producing entities are operated and maintained through the CSULB Theatre Arts Department. Each year, the department hosts over 1,000 community members and trains approximately 275 BA students and 40 MFA students in acting, design, directing, playwriting and theatrical management. The department also exposes over 2,800 new general-education students to the art of theatre each year. Since its first production in 1954, the department has served over 60,000 community members and trained more than 16,000 graduate and undergraduate students.
Since 1989, California Repertory Company (Cal Rep) has been among the foremost educational theatre companies in Southern California. The company is comprised of graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff from the Theatre Arts Department at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) in addition to nationally and internationally acclaimed guest artists. Cal Rep is dedicated to nurturing artists and challenging audiences by developing exciting, relevant, and thought-provoking work.
Cal Rep’s alumni are dispersed throughout the United States and abroad, working as professional theatre and entertainment artists, technicians, managers college deans, chairs of theatre departments, heads of acting and design programs, and theatre faculty. Those working in the field have been hired at institutions including South Coast Repertory Theatre, The Guthrie Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, La Mama Experimental Theatre Club, Center Theatre Group, The Old Globe Theatre, LA Opera, Disney, Universal Studios, and many more. Those working in academia have found homes at such prestigious schools as Tulane University, Vanguard University, California State University Fullerton, Chapman University, St Louis University, Point Park University, University of the Pacific, Eckerd College, Santa Fe University of Art and Design, Montreal College, Irvine Valley College,Case Western, and Orange County High School of the Arts. Our alumni are also actively working in the TV and Film Industry.
In 1998, the University, in partnership with Edison International and community members, raised over $500,000 to transform a vacant storefront in downtown Long Beach into a 99-seat theatre for use as Cal Rep’s performance space. During its tenure in the venue, Cal Rep won several major Los Angeles theatre awards, including four Ovation Awards, numerous Drama-Logue Awards, six LADCC Award nominations and the prestigious Polly Warfield Award for an outstanding season for a small repertory theatre.
In the fall of 2006, CSULB entered negotiations with the City of Long Beach to purchase the Edison Theatre. In order to satisfy the University’s stringent standards, several studies were conducted, and a seismic study indicated that the space was not in compliance with newly issued CSU safety standards. Cal Rep was compelled to vacate the Edison mid-season and relocate to an on-campus theatre. One year later, assisted by a dedicated alumna, Cal Rep soldiered on and found a home in the National Guard Armory in the Long Beach East Village. After a two-year residency, Cal Rep moved again, this time to the Royal Theatre aboard the Queen Mary. From 2009 – 2015, Cal Rep produced evocative and exciting work in the unique venue located in downtown Long Beach. In Fall 2015, Cal Rep moved back to campus producing once again in the large and recently technologically upgraded proscenium stage University Theatre.