Why Theatre & Film?

What is theatre & film and why should I study it?

The UAF Department of Theatre and Film offers a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Performing Arts (FLPA) with concentrations in Theatre or Film. All FLPA majors have  foundational core  courses which prepare them for working professionally behind the scenes or performing for the theatre or film industries. Our program provides  unique opportunities for creative artists in the North, including an integrated focus on Alaska Native and Indigenous content production, working with diverse communities across Alaska, and relating our perspectives in the Arctic with our International neighbors.



Film & Performing Arts majors take a shared core of three classes (Fundamentals of ActingFilm Set Production I, and Introduction to Production Design) and then choose a concentration in either Film or Theatre.


Film Concentration students find their career paths in a variety of applied media arenas, from video editors, camera operators, production managers, sound recordists, and writers/directors. Our alumni are often working in network television produced within Alaska before graduating from our program. 


Our Theatre Concentration prepares students for both stage and screen performances, and provides opportunities to develop skills as designers, stage managers, and directors. Many of our majors decide to pursue acting as a career path. Our students and graduates are cast in national film and television productions, featured in national and international film festivals, and cast in local and statewide theatre productions. 81% of our actors who auditioned for highly competitive MFA graduate schools at University/ Resident Theatre Association national auditions, received graduate school offers. Our technical design students often work professionally or pursue Masters degree programs.


What can you do with a degree in theatre & film?

All of our students gain practical professional experience by working on film sets, participating in main-stage productions, and interacting closely with faculty advisors and mentors.

Recent student successes include:

  • Chinoye Chukwu (2007). Writer/Director. Winner of Feature Film, Juror’s Choice. Sundance Film Festival 2019. Director of the feature film, TILL (2022).
  • Joe ('Wáats'asdiyei) Yates (2017) owner of Alaskanfilms.com. Emmy nominated writer for Molly of Denali. Winner of Diversity in Editing award at Cannes Film Festival 2023.
  • Molly Wilson (2013): Nominated for an Emmy Award for Deadliest Catch 2019.
  • Fischer Knapp  (2020). Actor


Nicole Cowans, left, Marley Horner, center and Katrina Kuharich, cast members in Theatre UAF's production of "Tartuffe" are interviewed by local media  after performing a live teaser in Wood Center a couple of days before opening night.

Some careers theatre & film majors go on to pursue are...


... and more!

  Universal Skills
Film and Performing Arts majors are natural collaborators, team leaders, and thrive at public speaking, presentation development and design, and creative problem-solving. From social media and marketing to event management and planning, FLPA majors acquire skills that set them apart from other programs in that we produce content for the public every semester, and students learn to work collectively toward a common goal.



Theatre & Film at the University of Alaska Fairbanks




Our program is highly experiential and hands-on. We do offer alternative online options for film studies, writing, and technical production courses. Students can complete approximately 50% of our courses online. 

We also offer unique intensive semesters, which allow students to “fast-track” the in-person courses into several weekends. The next intensive semester is Spring 2023 with FLPA 231, 271, 431, and 381 all being offered in intensive format.



Caleb Thompson takes a light reading on the talent before shooting a scene during the 2013 Wintermester cinematography class in the UAF Fine Arts complex. | UAF Photo by Todd Paris

Our core courses include Fundamentals of Acting, Production Design, and Film Set I. Actors work with a variety  of dramatic literature, directors, designers, and production styles, while developing stage production skills. Designers have similar opportunities in lighting, sound, costume, and scenic design. Indigenous Media students apply their cultural knowledge into content creation for both stage and screen, in front of and behind the scenes. Film students learn production techniques for dramatic and documentary filmmaking, while establishing the core skills of camera operation, editing, sound recording, screenwriting, producing, and directing for film.



UAF offers professional spaces for you to hone your craft, including the Lee H. Salisbury Theatre and the Charles Davis Concert Hall. 


Aside from working within the department for our upcoming productions, UAF FRAME Film Production services provides year-round opportunities for film students to produce content for clients. FRAME students have been camera operators and editors for Molly of Denali and had work screened internationally on Public Television stations and in film festivals.

CLA offers funding opportunities for students Wood Talent Grant scholarship for talented students in Art, Music, or Theatre/Film.  Additionally, the Adrina Knutson Memorial Film Production Grant is offered each year for a student to fund a film production.


How can I get involved?

FLPA majors run three clubs on campus. All of our clubs are opportunities for students to direct and produce their own content, outside of classes or work obligations. The UAF Department of Theatre and Film also hires students to work for the department in the box office, scene shop, costume department, and for FRAME Film Productions as filmmakers/editors. On-campus job opportunities in other departments (radio stations, student activities, geophysical institute media productions, marketing and communications) also provide excellent opportunities for students to begin to work in their field of interest.


(from left) Carrie Baker, Professor and Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts, Dept. of Theatre and Film, Maya Salganek, Director of FRAME and Associate Professor, Film/Video Arts, and Da-ka-xeen Mehner, Professor of Native Art and Department Chair, take a photo before the faculty processional during the University of Alaska Fairbanks 2023 Commencement Ceremony at the Carlson Center Saturday, May 6, 2023. | UAF Photo by Eric Engman

With our small class sizes, diverse course offerings, and incredible hands-on experiential learning opportunities, UAF Department of Theatre and Film delivers an exceptional personalized education to every student. On stage, behind the screen, and in all positions in-between, we train our students to be adept and versatile in the dramatic performing arts, technical theatre, and film production. Our students have unique opportunities to practice their craft from the beginning of their student career, and we provide all the tools and equipment necessary to get you started as a filmmaker, stage/screen actor, lighting designer, set builder, or production manager. We work with our community to develop content which is culturally relevant and rooted in the traditions and experiences of the people of the North. Our partnerships fan from New York to LA; New Mexico to Finland. Theatre and Film UAF is defining the story that Alaskans tell the world.




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