Wayne State University merges departments of theatre and dance

December 22, 2011

Wayne State University's Board of Governors voted at its December meeting to merge the departments of dance and theatre in the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts (CFPCA), effective Jan. 1, 2012. The merged programs will be called the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance.

The new department will serve as a nexus for performance, production and research in the fields of dance, theatre and performance studies. It will provide a wide choice of degree programs that allow students the flexibility to study these disciplines broadly or to concentrate more specifically in performance or management.

"This combined program allows the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts to achieve economies of scale, but more importantly allows us to bring two models of performance and academic excellence together in ways that will promote synergy," says Matthew Seeger, CFPCA dean.  "We can expect both our dance and theatre performances to reach even higher levels of artistic excellence and our students will have even more opportunities."

The Maggie Allesee Department of Dance, which has 93 undergraduate majors, is one of the oldest such departments in the U.S., tracing its beginning to Ruth Lovell Murray's founding of the Dance Workshop in 1928.

The Theatre Department, consisting of 176 undergraduate, 39 graduate and seven doctoral students, is internationally recognized as a training ground for theatre professionals. The Hilberry Theatre, in its 49th season, is the nation's premier graduate repertory company.

The two programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance and the National Association of Schools of Theatre, respectively.

Maggie Allesee, for whom the new department is named, is widely known for her volunteer service and charitable contributions to community groups and cultural institutions. At Wayne State, Allesee serves on the CFPCA Board of Visitors, Wayne State University Foundation and Hilberry Understudies. She has generously supported dance, music and theatre programs at the university and has established scholarship funds. In 2000, the Maggie Allesee Department of Dance was named in her honor.

Established in 1986, CFPCA is educating the next generation of visual artists, musicians, communication professionals, designers, art historians, actors and dancers. The college offers 16 undergraduate programs, 11 graduate programs and four graduate certificates.

CFPCA's alumni include a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and recipients of and nominees for the Grammy, Emmy, Tony, Golden Globe, Obie, Screen Actors Guild and Caldecott awards.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.