The 5 Most Underrated Theatre Colleges for 2018 - West

Here at OnStage Blog, we spend months compiling, researching and comparing college theatre programs to come up with what we feel are the very best colleges in the country. While names like Tisch, Juilliard, Emerson and Baldwin Wallace get plenty of attention, there are a ton of schools out there with incredible programs that deserve more.

So we wanted to highlight some of these underrated programs. Whether they are programs that have amazing facilities and curriculum or have a ton of value when it comes to their cost, these are schools that are doing tremendous things in theatre that might not be known on a national level. 

Remember, we're talking about schools we feel are underrated. If you don't see certain programs here, it's more than likely that they're already getting a ton of credit.

Because this list is so massive, we're going to break it down region by region using this map. So, no particular order, here are our picks for the five most underrated theatre colleges for 2018. 

Yesterday we covered the NortheastMidwest, Southwest and Southeast. Today we're moving onto the West. We'll be using this map to divide the regions. 

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University of Denver - Denver, CO

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Fast Facts: The Department of Theatre presents two fully-realized productions each quarter: one in the Byron Flexible Theater, and one in either the JMAC Studios of the Byron Studio Theater. Since 2002, the theatre program has used the Byron Flexible Theatre and Byron Studio to perform many of its productions. The Newman Center gives students access to a 79-seat rehearsal space, a shop and a 350-seat performance venue.

Pacific University - Forest Grove, OR


Fast Fact: School offers an interesting program titled "Applied Theatre". Students build a strong foundation in the liberal arts, study traditional theatre, and put their talents and training to work in residencies with underserved populations and service settings. The applied theatre program has a strong future focus, offering students a network of professional pathways, as they connect to the professional theatre world, local social service organizations, and the community. Students intern with senior centers, youth centers, arts administration organizations or other non-profits.

Azusa Pacific University - Azusa, CA 


Fast Facts: The theater department produces four main stage productions per year, ranking among the leaders in providing students with opportunities to practice their craft. In addition, students can participate in ongoing projects such as the Fringe Festival, Azusa Renaissance, and the 24-hour playwriting festival. Theater Arts students may also take advantage of study abroad opportunities, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Pomona College - Claremont, CA


Fast Facts: Surrounding a beautifully landscaped courtyard, the award-winning Byron Dick Seaver Theatre Complex houses a 335-seat thrust-proscenium theatre, the 125-seat Virginia Princehouse Allen “black box” theatre, and two performance-ready studio classrooms. The main theatre was designed to enable audience-actor integration with runways, overhead galleries and adaptable caliper stages for flexibility. Performance facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art lighting, sound and projection equipment.

California State University, Fresno - Fresno, CA


At California State University, Fresno students have a variety of production organizations, each providing a different kind of experience. University Theatre produces five major productions a year, cast and crewed by students. The Experimental Theatre Company (ETC) and the University Dance Theatre (UDT) are student organizations that produce their own plays and dance concerts. The Black Theatre Contingent (BTC) focuses on drama of the African-American experience. Playwrights Theatre is dedicated to the exploration of original plays. Theatre for Young Audiences produces plays for young people and tours throughout the Valley. Students also have the opportunity to work with their resident dance company, the Contemporary Dance Ensemble.