USC Upstate Theatre

Theatre Program

The mission of the Department of Fine Arts and Communication Studies is to enhance the intellectual, ethical, cultural and professional development of fine arts and communications students. The faculty is committed to preparing students to become competent professionals in music, art, theatre, communication studies, journalism and mass communications. The Department of Fine Arts and Communication Studies offers Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre with concentrations in performance and production as well as a minor.  

Opportunities and Experiences Await

Recognized both nationally and internationally, an assortment of opportunities and experiences are made available in the USC Upstate theatre program. Practice and learn theatre arts first hand by playing a role in a campus production, designing scenery for a play, directing, playwriting, or studying the history and literature of modern and classic theatre. Bodies, voices and the actor’s technique are developed to the maximum potential through a variety of performance classes, which train students in classical, traditional, and experimental styles of theatre. Theatre students learn production and performance skills that enrich their lives and prepare them for careers in professional, educational or community theatre.

  • The Shoestring Players, the theatrical producing entity on the USC Upstate campus, began in 1975 as a student group with grand ambitions. Performing in a variety of venues, none of which could be called theatres, the Players worked tirelessly to expand the horizons of the newly-formed campus. As those horizons expanded, so did the Players, the support of campus and the community. Today the Shoestring Players, an organization with 30-plus years “on-the-boards” experience, reside in the Department of Fine Arts and Communication Studies with three full time faculty members, a technical director, a box office manager and several adjunct instructors. Future developments are underway for the theatre program, so, not only have we come a long way, but we are also still growing! Our performance facilities include the 450-seat Proscenium Theatre, and the Studio Theatre for more intimate productions.

  • The theatre course of study includes classes in history, theory, writing and literature; technical and production; and performance. For more details, view the course catalog.

  • Financial Assistance

    • $12,000 scholarships in acting
    • $8,000 technical assistantships
    • Lou Vigneaulty Acting Scholarship
    • Out-of-state tuition vouchers available  

    Study Abroad

    • Foreign Study in London (Kingston University)

    Professional Affiliations

    • SCSTA (South Carolina Speech and Theatre Association
    • KCACTF (Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival)
    • SETC (Southeastern Theatre Conference)
    • SCTA (South Carolina Theatre Association)
    • USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology)
    • Alpha Psi Omega


    • In 2010, a special agreement was signed allowing for students to intern at The Rose Theatre in Kingston Upon Thames, London during a five-week summer term. The current Rose Theater is based on the Elizabethan-era Rose Theatre in London, where the plays of Christopher Marlowe and early plays by Shakespeare were staged. 

    Master Classes

    • Taught by Stephen Unwin, world renowned director, thespian and author
  • 2017 - 2018 Prospective Student Scholarship Auditions

    The Shoestring Players have many ways to supplement your study financially at USC Upstate. In order to be considered for acting scholarships or technical assistantships, students and their families are encouraged to attend a scholarship audition day.

    Audition Dates

    • Nov. 18, 2017
    • March 3, 2018

    What to expect

    Each day will include:

    • Meetings for parents and students with financial aid, admissions, and housing
    • A theatre facilities tour
    • A private audition/interview
    • Free tickets to an Upstate theatre production

    Audition information and requirements

    • Two contrasting monologues or one song and one monologue
    • CD Player will be provided 
    • Three three minutes maximum length

    For more information, please contact:

    Lee Neibert