The Department of Drama at The Catholic University of America is a nationally recognized program that offers training and preparation for professional careers in theatre. Renowned since its founding in 1937 by the famous “show-biz priest,” Reverend Gilbert Hartke, the drama department has grown over many decades to produce some of the leading theatre artists of our time.
Many stage, film and television stars got their start at Catholic University's Drama Department. Philip Bosco, Ed McMahon, Susan and Christopher Sarandon, John Slattery and Jon Voight all trod the boards here. Outstanding directors trained here, such as the Tony Award winning Walter Bobbie, and the Artistic Director of Arena Stage, Molly Smith. Several Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights started here, including Michael Cristofer (The Shadow Box), Jason Miller (That Championship Season), Paula Vogel (Indecent, How I Learned To Drive), in addition to the groundbreaking Mart Crowley (The Boys in the Band), Joseph Walker (The River Niger), John Pielmeier (Agnes of God) and Jerome Ragni (Hair). Walter Kerr, the Pulitzer-prize winning critic and playwright, was also one of our distinguished alumni.
Our professionally-oriented faculty trains students how to collaborate and create new and classical work that easily competes with the best theatres in the Washington D.C. region. The rich theater community of the area includes some of the country’s leading professional stages like Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Roundhouse Theatre, Folger Theatre, Signature Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Center Stage, just to name a few. Our location provides opportunities for students through residencies, auditions, and internships.
Season productions at Catholic University – staged in the Hartke Theatre, as well as the Callan Theatre – consist of classic works for M.F.A. actors and undergraduates, and thesis productions created by the M.F.A. directors and playwrights. Directors and designers from the D.C. theatre community are hired to helm these projects and contribute to the professional training of Catholic University's drama students.