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Theatre (Associate of Arts)

Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: Theatre
Credits: 60.0
Length: Four semesters
Credential: Associate Degree
program overview

If you’ve always loved acting and can’t see yourself doing anything else, the two-year Theatre program at Douglas can get you started. In year one, you’ll take classes in speech, movement, acting, production and theatre history. You’ll also gain valuable experience working on the four major plays put on by second-year students as production assistant, working in the box office, setting up the opening night reception, as well as doing publicity and promotion.

In year two, you’ll continue with your classes and get on-stage acting experience working with professional directors, set designers and lighting specialists from the arts community, as well as students in the Stagecraft and Event Technology program. You’ll act in one major production each semester, applying the theory you learned in year one.

Theatre facilities

Our facilities, among the most modern in the province, provide an excellent teaching and learning environment. You’ll perform in the 350-seat Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre as well as a studio theatre, and will learn in other spaces such as the dance studio and theatre shop.

Transfer your credits to university

Graduates often transfer to complete a bachelor’s degree at universities both in Canada and abroad, such as UBC, SFU, University of Alberta, Circle in the Square (New York), Neighborhood Playhouse (New York), University of Wales (UK) and more.

curriculum framework

Graduation Requirements:

  • Successful completion of 60 credits as listed below
  • Require a minimum GPA of 2.00

(Specializations will be noted on the transcript and will not be noted on the credential)

Course Requirements:

To complete an Associate of Arts Degree with a Specialization in Theatre, students must complete:

  • 18 or more credits (of the 60 credits required for their associate degree) in Theatre
  • nine of those 18 credits must be considered second-year courses. To qualify as a second-year course, a course must transfer to one of the research universities (SFU, UBC, UBC-O, UVic, or UNBC) at the second-year level.

The following are the general requirements for an Associate of Arts Degree at any B.C. college:

  • 6 credits (2 courses) first-year English* electives
  • 6 credits (2 courses) Humanities** electives
  • 6 credits (2 courses) Social Sciences** electives
  • 6 credits (2 courses) Arts** electives
  • 18 credits (6 courses) second-year Arts** electives in 2 or more subject areas
  • 3 credits (1 course) Lab Science elective
  • 3 credits (1 course) Math, Statistics or Computing Science elective
  • 3 credits (1 course) Math, Statistics or Science elective
  • 9 credits (3 courses) other University Transfer electives

* English courses can include courses in written Communications and Creative Writing that transfer to one of the B.C. research universities (SFU, UBC, UBC-O, UVic or UNBC) as English credit. A maximum of 3 credits can come from such an equivalent; at least 3 credits must be earned in an actual ENGL course, so-named. For purposes of the Associate of Arts degree, English courses cannot be counted as Humanities courses.

** Arts courses are available in the Faculty of Languages, Literature, and Performing Arts, and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. To confirm whether a course is designated as "humanities" or "social sciences", check with an academic advisor. Courses in Economics and Mathematics also may be used as Arts electives toward an Associate of Arts Degree. 


A course is defined by the subject for which it is granted transfer credit at one of the research universities (SFU, UBC, UBC-O, UNBC, or UVic).

  • An Arts course is defined as any course in a subject area for which there is a Baccalaureate of Arts Degree at one of the research universities.
  • A Science course is defined as any course in a subject area for which there is a Baccalaureate of Science Degree or Baccalaureate of Applied Science Degree at one of the research universities.
  • The requirements specified above are intended to provide breadth of exposure to a variety of disciplines in both Arts and Sciences. In some instances there may be some ambiguity as to whether a course is in the Humanities or Social Sciences and is an Arts course or a Science course. Most Physical Geography and Mathematics would be designated as Science courses.
  • A course in an "other" area is defined as any course in a subject area for which there is a Baccalaureate Degree other than in Arts, Science or Applied Science at one of the research universities.
  • first-year course is defined as a course that has assigned or unassigned transfer credit at the 100-level at one of the research universities.
  • second-year course is defined as a course that has assigned or unassigned transfer credit at the 200-level or higher level at one of the research universities.
  • laboratory science course is one in which a substantial component of instruction involves the study of natural phenomena, either in the laboratory or in the field.

For detailed information you should meet with an Academic Advisor.

Co-operative Education Option:

Students enrolled in this program may be eligible for a Co-operative Education designation. Co-operative Education involves alternating full-time academic and work terms. For information contact the Co-operative Education Office.

admission requirements

Applicants must meet the admission requirements listed below:

program cost

You can get an average cost for your program - tuition and student fees, books, uniforms, lab fees etc - on the Program Cost page. 

Only programs approved for student loan funding are listed on the Program Cost page. For all other programs, refer to the Tuition Fee page.

curriculum guidelines

Program Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this program and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the program, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

How and when do I apply?

Enrolment in Douglas College's Theatre program is limited and competitive. Students are advised to apply as early as possible to ensure that there is enough time to prepare for the required program audition

To enter the Theatre Program, you must:

  1. Apply to Douglas College. When your application is accepted you will receive a student number (followed by instructions on how to book an audition).
  2. When you have a student number you must book an audition with Krista Brown, the Performing Arts Assistant by emailing: performingarts@douglascollege. Please include your full name, Douglas College Student ID number, mailing address and a phone number you can be reached at. You will be sent a package of information that is required for your audition. No students are admitted to the Theatre Program without an audition.

Is there an age limit for students entering the program?

No, but applicants must have completed secondary school graduation or equivalent.

What financial assistance is available?

Douglas College has a number of scholarships, bursaries and awards available as well as other financial aid for students. See Financial Aid for details. There is also a performance-based, full tuition scholarship available to Theatre students through the Theatre Department. This scholarship is awarded at the end of the first term.

What happens at an audition?

The audition has two parts: a group workshop and an individual audition. It is important that you prepare in advance. For more information, see Auditions.

Why do I have to sing a song as part of the audition?

The auditors are better able to assess your vocal qualities and your showmanship when you sing a song. Remember: the song need only be 30 or 40 seconds - a verse and a chorus is plenty!

What does university transferable mean?

University transferable means that you can take the credit from many of the courses you take at Douglas College and apply it towards a university degree at another institution. Our program is transferable to many universities including UBC, SFU, University of Victoria and University of Alberta. Although the entire 60 credits will not transfer directly, you will be able to start, for instance, at both SFU and UBC in the second year of the Faculty of Arts leading to a BFA degree in Theatre. (NOTE: You must audition for these programs - university transfer does not mean your acceptance is automatic).

How many people are in the program?

The Theatre Department accepts 22 people into the first year of the program each September. There are a maximum of 44 students in the program at any given time.

Can I take other courses while I am in the program?

Not during the first year. You will already be taking a full course load. However, during the second year you will take two elective courses (one in each term) unless you take these courses during the summer term or you have appropriate transferable credits from another post-secondary institution (or from previous study at Douglas College).

What about part time jobs and working outside of school?

Because the Theatre Program is intensive it is recommended that you do not work during the term. However, many Theatre students do need to have part-time work while they are at school. It is very important to note that attendance is extremely important and absence can be grounds for removal from the program. The Theatre Department expects 100 percent commitment to the course and production needs of the program. Students with talent agents are asked to inform them that they are available for auditioning and working during the school term.

I am very interested in acting for film and television. Is Douglas College the place for me?

The Theatre Department recognizes the opportunities in film and television that are available in the Lower Mainland. A critical part of the training at Douglas College is the fourth term acting course THEA 2410 that focuses on acting for the camera. Instructors for the course are respected professionals in the field with credits from producing to directing and acting in feature films, episodic television, and TV movies as well as documentaries, and radio. Students leave Douglas College ready to approach talent agents and casting directors. You will be familiar with the special needs of acting for the camera and will be well prepared to handle the business of acting in film and television.

Other than being a professional actor, are there additional benefits to taking an acting program?

The value of studying acting is comparable to the value of study in any area of the liberal arts - with the additional benefits of working on the physical and emotional aspects of the actor's creative life. You will gain knowledge about yourself through the physical work on speech and movement as well as through the exploration of various people and cultures, both contemporary and historical, required for the rehearsal and production of plays. You will gain skills in communication and in working as part of an ensemble -- skills which are greatly in demand in every workplace. You will gain confidence in your own abilities and capacity to express yourself clearly. Your study of human behaviour and motivation in relation to characters and plays may provide you with an understanding of other people, including your family, friends, and co-workers. As in other liberal arts, the study of acting will give the student insight into the customs, mores, and values of a wide variety of societies and thus encourage the expansion of the student's world view. The results can include a sense of liberation, an increase in compassion, and an enhanced appreciation and understanding of the world as a whole.

Do you do musicals?

No. Sometimes we do plays that have music, singing, or dance as an element of the production but we do not specifically do musicals.

Who teaches in the program?

Our faculty is made up of professional theatre, film, and television artists. They have credits as actors, directors, and producers from across Canada and internationally. See Faculty for more info on instructors.

Where can I get more information?

Theatre (Associate of Arts) Chelsea Stamp-Vincent Theatre student Chelsea Stamp-Vincent comes back strong after a devastating car accident. Read more