The Department of Theater and Dance was established in 1964 under the leadership of Dr. Theodore W. Hatlen with the assistance of Dr. Stanley L. Glenn when it separated from the Department of Speech. In 1967, Dr. William Reardon expanded the graduate program to include the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, and in 1983, the Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting was added. UC Santa Barbara is one of the few schools in the country to offer this B.F.A. program. The department enrolls approximately 240 undergraduate theater majors and 25 theater graduate students who reap the benefits of a department committed to excellence situated in a large university.
Dance is an integral part of the Department of Theater and Dance at UCSB, which affords it the advantage of operating within an ongoing atmosphere of theatrical endeavor. Two degree programs, the Bachelor of Fine Arts and the Bachelor of Arts, are offered for students interested in pursuing a career in dance. The size of the department's faculty and their active involvement presents the student with excellent faculty mentorship.
In a typical year, the department produces five main stage drama productions and two modern dance concerts. The productions represent the various periods and styles taught in the academic programs, ranging from the classics to contemporary dramas and comedies to original works. Additionally, the department offers graduate and undergraduate directed one-act plays, and dance studio presentations.