Online Drama Courses Overview

Although drama is usually practiced in person, some colleges and universities are starting to offer some of their courses online, and several offer whole theatre programs online. Students wishing to earn a degree, or simply to learn about drama, can access courses in theatre history, screenwriting, acting and other dramatic subjects online.

Online Courses in Drama

Below are a few examples of online courses commonly offered in drama and theatre topics.

  • Introduction to Theatre Course: Students learn about the basic components that make up a dramatic production, such as acting, stagecraft, playwriting, directing, makeup and costume design. Readings of plays from various genres and of the history of theatre are included in the course.
  • Theatre History Course: Through this introductory course, students learn about the history of theatre and the roles it has played in society throughout the ages. Students learn about the various styles and forms of expression used in plays and performance. Some courses also address the history of theatre architecture.
  • Acting Course: This course is fundamental for those seeking a drama degree or interested in working in theatre. They learn how to channel emotions and experiences into their acting. This course can be taken online, but many courses require an on-campus practicum. Online students learn about body language, voice, script analysis, characterization and stage terminology.
  • Scriptwriting Course: In a scriptwriting course, students learn what it means to create drama, along with the creative process and theatre terminology. Students practice writing plays and study many genres. Considering scripts as if they are to be put on stage, students visualize the play with design, costume, direction, character and believable dialogue.
  • Business Theatre Course: Students use online lectures and reading materials to study theatre as a business. Bookkeeping, theatre management, human resource skills and finance are covered. Other topics in this course include fund-raising techniques, ticket sales, and production management.
  • Dramaturgy Course: In this course students will learn about the history and function of the dramaturg in theatrical production. Students will study principles of dramaturgical research, from the process of selecting a translation or adaptation of a classical play, to helping to interpret a contemporary playwright's vision. The course will also discuss how dramaturgs work with professional theatres on season development and programming, as well as marketing and audience outreach campaigns.
  • Research and Aesthetics in Theatre Course: Students in this course study the philosophies and methodologies of the theatrical arts. Research methods for the critical analysis of the theatre will be emphasized.
  • Text Analysis for Production Course: The methods and procedures of writing texts for drama will be examined in this online course. Focus is placed on identifying a script's main purpose and the characters in a story.

Program Information

Online drama courses are generally offered as part of bachelor's and master's degree programs in theatre. Some drama programs are hybrid programs, in which students take some courses online, while other courses have a required in-class component, workshop experience, or internship in a theatre. Other programs present the material mostly or fully online through video interaction. Courses in certain aspects of drama, such as playwriting, screenwriting and theatre history, lend themselves more easily to online study, but courses such as acting can also occasionally be found online.

Undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available online which include coursework in theatrical arts and drama. Some topics include scriptwriting, acting and the history of theatre.

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