Bachelor of Arts with a major in Dramatic Literature

“A play is…a way of creating and rewriting history through the medium of literature.”
—Suzan-Lori Parks, American Dramatist

  • How does drama work as art?
  • How does drama work as politics?
  • Can better research make better plays?
  • Can better plays make a better world?
  • How can asking questions make our experience in the theatre more meaningful?

If you care about these questions, consider a major in Dramatic Literature, an interdisciplinary program of the Department of Theatre & Dance and the Department of English.


Who are Dramatic Literature Majors?

Dramatic Literature majors are lovers of both literature and performance. They are writers and actors, though not necessarily in the traditional sense of either activity. They may aspire to write plays, or they may aspire to write analysis and criticism of plays and productions. They may prefer to interpret a single character on stage, or they may enjoy the backstage role of the dramaturg, interpreting between actors and directors, between directors and designers, between the production team and the audience. Above all, they are connectors, bringing together texts and performance, literature and history, theatrical past and theatrical future.

Acclaimed author Margaret Atwood and GW dramatic literature and theater students perform a special reading of her novel The Year of the Flood to a packed Lisner Auditorium, Oct. 30 2009. Performances were held around the country to promote the book. GW was the first and only university to participate.

What are some of the core courses Dramatic Literature majors take?

ENGL 1830-40: Tragedy / Comedy
ENGL / TRDA 2250: Fundamentals of Dramatic Writing
TRDA 1214: Introduction to Acting
ENGL / TRDA 3240: Introduction to Dramaturgy
ENGL 3440-41: Shakespeare
TRDA 3248: Theater Criticism
ENGL 3630-3631: American Drama
ENGL 3710: Contemporary Drama
TRDA 4275: Directing for the Theater