Historic Highlights


Department of Speech and Theatre is founded; it later moves into the Boutwell Dramatic Arts Building, named for founding chair, Lane Boutwell. The department remains in this location.

Chairs have included Larry Lowe (1968-1981), Jim Brooks (1981-1998), Russell Church (1998-2006), and Rebecca Fischer (2006-2010); Jeff Gibson currently serves as Chair. 

Original majors offered by the department were Public Address (with an emphasis in Broadcasting), Theatre, and Communication Disorders. After the Public Address major moved to the new Department of Mass Communication, degrees were combined into a single major with concentrations in Communication Studies, Theatre, and Communication Disorders.


The department adds the interdisciplinary major in Organizational Communication. 

  • MTSU Forensics/Debate Team has won over 500 awards in national competition, including three berths in the National Debate Tournament. 
  • MTSU hosted the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in 1997 and 2010. Theatre students have won over a dozen regional awards in playwriting, and one national award. Two students have also won the National Critic's Institute Award (aligned with O'Neill Playwrights Festival in Connecticut). 


The department has its first study abroad course, to London. Communication Studies has offered classes in France, Italy, and Great Britain; Theatre continues an annual London Winter program through the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad (CCSA), and has taken performance tours to Russia, Finland, Latvia, Honduras, Guatemala, and Ireland. 


The department adds the Dance program, including a minor as well as an area of study within the Theatre concentration.


Tucker Theatre is rededicated after extensive remodeling and renovation.


Studio Theatre is renovated into a true black box theatre.


Costume studio facilities are renovated and expanded. Dance studios are relocated from Fairview building to Murphy Center and the Dance suite is completely renovated. 


Design Lab is relocated to the 2nd floor and expanded to include a new 1 to 6 scale theatre production lab.


B.S. in Theatre is approved and begins accepting students. 


Speech and Theatre splits and the new Department of Theatre and Dance is formed. The National Association of Schools of Theatre grants accreditation to the Department for the Theatre Program. The studio theatre is renamed, The Deborah K. Anderson Studio Theatre.

The department currently consists of over 100 Theatre Majors and many more minors in Theatre, Dance, Musical Theatre and Entertainment Arts Design.

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