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CSU vs. CU: Comparing arts and theater at rival universities

Collegian | Trin Bonner

With the Rocky Mountain Showdown just around the corner, all eyes are on the rival football teams, but the art department is another way to support your school of choice. 

Colorado State University’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance “empowers students to create, collaborate, innovate and inspire … through teaching, creative artistry, research, advocacy and service.”


Director of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance Dan Goble said the arts play an essential part in the development of a well-educated student. 

“Colorado State University is an important part of the artistic community of Fort Collins and the northern Front Range Urban Corridor, providing access performances, gallery exhibitions and guest artist appearances throughout the year,” Goble said. 

The University Center for the Arts provides students in search of an artistic degree with opportunities to work side by side with their faculty of internationally recognized artists, directors, designers, performers and scholars in a highly inspiring and professional environment.

Class sizes are kept small to ensure each student gets the individual attention and inclusive atmosphere needed to prepare students for performing arts careers. 

“CSU Theatre has more than prepared me to enter the professional world,” said Matthew Berman, a theater major and film minor at CSU. “As an actor, I feel like I’ve been given the toolset I need to be prepared and present in any theatrical setting and really any setting involving communication with others in a collaborative way.”

Colorado State University’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance offers degrees in dance, composition, music education, music therapy, performance, theatrical performance, musical theater, set design and design and technology, including lighting, projections and sound.

CSU offers various scholarships, performance opportunities and state-of-the-art facilities to their students while still providing over 250 performances, exhibitions and guest artist appearances open to the public in a year — many free of charge.

To attend a performance at Colorado State University, visit the the School of Music, Theatre and Dance’s website for more information about upcoming events.

However, if you find yourself in Boulder for a game, you can attend one of the University of Colorado Boulder’s shows found on their website.


CU Boulder’s theater and dance department has a 126-year-long history of supporting students’ artistic excellence through collaborative and creative processes as the core of education, according to their website

Although their department is split into just dance and theater, CU Boulder offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, minors and certificate programs to students in both of those arenas. 

Students in the program feel supported by staff and faculty. Rima Adepu, a captain of CU Abhinaya, the Indian-fusion classical dance team, emphasized CU Boulder’s diversity and inclusivity. 

“We perform at many different events for the school, like (South Asian Student Association) is held twice a year that we always perform at,” Adepu said. “Whenever we need money for the team, we talk to a board of faculty, and they usually support us because we are a diverse cultural team on campus.”

CU Boulder’s commitment to diversity and inclusion allows students to celebrate their cultural backgrounds while pursuing their artistic passions.

Director of Graduate Studies in Theatre & Performance Studies Beth Osnes elaborated on how she teaches theater to prepare her students for the community. 

“The kind of theater that I do is called applied performance or applied theater,” Osnes said. “It works with communities on issues that are important to the community to use performance-based approaches to work through problems and towards social justice.” 

Like CSU, CU offers various scholarships, performance opportunities, state-of-the-art facilities and a high-quality performing arts education at the relatively affordable cost of a public university. 

In the end, both CSU and CU Boulder offer excellent art programs to nurture students’ passion for the performing arts, but CSU focuses on providing a well-rounded education with a strong emphasis on community engagement, while CU Boulder encourages cultural collaboration and celebration.

Reach Sophia Masia at or on Twitter @sophie_masia.

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About the Contributor
Trin Bonner
Trin Bonner, Illustration Director
Trin Bonner is the illustration director for The Collegian newspaper. This will be her third year in this position, and she loves being a part of the creative and amazing design team at The Collegian. As the illustration director, Bonner provides creative insight and ideas that bring the newspaper the best graphics and illustrations possible. She loves working with artists to develop fun and unique illustrations every week for the readers. Bonner is a fourth-year at Colorado State University studying electronic arts. She loves illustrating and comic making and has recently found enjoyment in experimental video, pottery and graphic design. Outside of illustration and electronic art, Bonner spends her free time crocheting and bead making. She is usually working on a blanket or making jewelry when she is not drawing, illustrating or brainstorming.

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