Patti & Rusty Rueff School of Design, Art, and Performance Department of TheatreCollege of Liberal Arts

Bachelor of Arts in Theatre - Sound for the Performing Arts

About the Program

The Sound for the Performing Arts Program at Purdue University seeks to expand the young sound designer/technician/engineer’s range of knowledge and expression through broad-based exposure to various careers related to sound for the performing arts. Sound designers enter this field with either a strong technical/engineering aptitude/background or extraordinary musical talent in composition and/or performance. Ideal candidates demonstrate strong aptitude in both.

Students receive a solid foundation in all aspects of sound as part of a well-rounded liberal arts education. Working individually and as part of many different types of teams, students learn to collaborate towards the realization of diverse auditory projects in the performing arts.

The program allows students to focus efforts more towards technology, artistry or both. The major consists of core classes, specialized training and related electives. Upon completion, students may choose to enter sound related fields or pursue further graduate study towards careers in the entertainment industry.

A newly upgraded audio production studio complements two theatres in Purdue’s Visual and Performing Arts
building, which  opened in 2005. The audio production studio is a fully equipped digital recording studio featuring over 400 square feet of recording space with additional isolation booths, and a similarly sized control room, storage and an adjacent sound shop. The Nancy T. Hansen Theatre, based around a 24 channel surround sound system is a proscenium house seating 300 people, while the Gordon Mallett Studio Theatre, based around a 16 channel surround sound system, features a flexible configuration and seats 105-155 people. These theatres complement additional, larger campus venues in which sound students can gain additional experience in sound for the performing arts. JaffeHolden designed the acoustics and
Auerbach•Polach•Friedlander designed the electronics for all of the sound facilities which feature a high degree of integration and cross-venue compatibility.

The study of sound for the performing arts includes both the classroom study and practical application of those studies. Therefore, the student is encouraged and expected to be an active member of our production community. In this laboratory setting, the student not only applies information and ideas learned in classes, but also learns the critical life lessons of responsibility, commitment, and cooperation, which are crucial skills needed for survival in the 21st century.

Degree Information for the Sound for the Performing Arts Major


Faculty Contact

For more information about the Sound for the Performing Arts major contact:

Professor of Theatre, Sound Design: Richard K. Thomas


Apply Online

Visit the Purdue Admissions page to apply. 


sound for the performing arts poster Recording Studio 

Audio Production Studio

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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