Theatre Program Overview

Undergraduates: How to apply
Graduate Program: How to apply

The Theatre program at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa is renowned for its Asian theatre productions and course offerings, as well as programs in Western and Hawaiian theatre (acting, directing, history, theory), design, playwriting and TYA (theatre for young audiences).  Coursework goes hand in hand with productions staged in the 600-seat Kennedy Theatre and the intimate Earle Ernst Lab Theatre.

The Theatre program includes 14 full-time faculty members who teach over 40 courses per semester. The theatre program has approximately 50 undergraduate majors, 38 masters candidates, and 12 enrolled PhD students. Students come from around the globe to study theatre at UHM.

Degrees: BA, MA, MFA, PhD

Focus Areas: Asian, Hawaiian, & Western Theatre (Acting, Directing, History, Theory); Design; Playwriting; TYA; Performance Studies

Focus Areas

Asian Theatre

The program’s centerpiece is our yearly training residency, in which students have the exciting opportunity to undergo long-term, intensive training in a traditional Asian theatre form with renowned master artists of the genre, who provide rigorous training in semester-long movement, voice, and instrumental courses, as well as individualized instruction in the performance of specific roles and instruments.

Hawaiian Theatre

Original productions reflect and honor the language, traditions, history and values of the Hawaiian community.

Western Theatre

Coursework in the Western Theatre program combines the academic disciplines of theatre history, theory, performance studies, and dramaturgy with the production specialties of acting and directing.


The Acting program at UHM allows the serious acting student to study forms and methods from the broadest array available at any university.


The Directing program at UHM is designed to give students the practical and theoretical tools to not only stage productions but to conceive whole worlds that will not soon be forgotten.

Theatre Design

The Design Program at UHM is a small, personalized, multi-cultural program that emphasizes hands-on training, varied design and teaching opportunities, individualized mentoring with professionally active faculty, and design prospects with area theatres.


While learning dramatic structure, dramaturgy and collaborative play development, students in our program are encouraged to find their own individual voice as upcoming playwrights.

Theatre for Young Audiences

The TYA program encourages the development and pursuit of wonder, combining a foundational emphasis in drama education and curriculum development with the bold theatrics of puppetry, mask, clown, and dance.

Performance Studies

Performance Studies, though situated within the Department of Theatre and Dance, is a hybrid program that intersects with other UHM departments as regards course offerings as well as research and artistic collaboration.



Both the academic program and the full season of productions in the beautiful Kennedy Theatre complex aim to expose students and audiences to works from each of these focus areas. The program provides the opportunity for a broad theatre education but also provides the ability to focus intensely in a specific focus area.