The Department of Dramatic Arts, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, was the first institute in Thailand to offer a Dramatic Arts program at the undergraduate level. In 1964, H.R.H. the Prince Prem Purchatra was influential in establishing the theatre unit, which was initially included in the English Department. Sodsai Pantoomkomol created the Dramatic Arts curriculum and directed performances. At that time, productions were performed in English so that students could practice their language and theatrical skills. When the department was founded in 1971, Assistant Professor Sodsai was named the first head of the department. In 2006, the Department of Dramatic Arts established a Master of Arts program in Dramatic Arts, the first in Thailand. Plans are ongoing to establish a Doctor of Philosophy Program in Dramatic Arts in the near future. Currently, the Department of Dramatic Arts is the only institution in Thailand that is a member of UNESCO Chair International Theatre Institute (ITI) and Asia Pacific Bureau (APB) of Theatre Schools, and is a co-founder of ITI/UNESCO Network for Higher Education in the Performing Arts.
At present, the department has 7 full-time lecturers, experts in various fields such as acting, directing, playwriting, design, and management. In addition, experts from specific fields, part-time lecturers, and foreign guest artists are invited to classes each semester. Besides teaching, our department members produce academic works and pursue research funded by both government and private organizations. Those works, in the form of articles and productions, are consistently presented at national and international conferences. The department members also provide academic services in many areas, such as special lectures, training, being members of committees, as well as producing content both on stage and on television. Our courses cover various subjects, including dramatic literature, playwriting, acting, directing, design, and techniques for theatre. Each year, we produce shows in order to allow our students to have experience working in theatre along with their classes. We also manage the theatre festival where student showcases and senior projects are open to the public. Another project called “World Performance” brings world-class works to our theatre, the Sodsai Pantoomkomol Centre for Dramatic Arts, for students to experience different styles of theatre, and to work and exchange ideas with those artists. In each year, we have over 70 students in the undergraduate program, enrolling as a major or minor subject and coming from many faculties. In the master’s program, we have an average of 15 students. Our graduates from both degrees may go on to become professors, scholars, actors, advertisers, directors, designers, playwrights, or creative producers in theatre, television, and the movie industries. We take pride in our graduates taking on important roles in developing the dramatic arts in Thailand.