Celebrating over 40 years of professional theatre, the Clarence Brown is one of the oldest LORT theatres in the country. The University of Tennessee's Theatre program grew out of its English Department when Dr. Paul Soper was appointed as Theatre Director in 1939 by the English Department Head, Dr. John Hodges. Decades later the Department has a full-time faculty of 12, and offers a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre and Master of Fine Arts degrees in Acting and Theatre Design. More importantly to those who love watching a good play, the Department of Theatre operates the Clarence Brown Theatre, located on the university's campus. The Clarence Brown Theatre is a 581-seat proscenium theater that was built in 1970. The facility is named after acclaimed film director and university alumni Clarence Brown, who was nominated for six Academy Awards for Best Director during the 1930s. The Clarence Brown Theatre Company produces a variety of plays each season, many of which feature nationally and internationally known guest artists.
The theatre is located near the center of the University of Tennessee campus, about three blocks south of Cumberland Avenue. Besides the Clarence Brown Theatre, the University of Tennessee's Department of Theatre operates two other performance theatres: the Ula Love Doughty Carousel Theatre and the Clarence Brown Lab Theatre. The Carousel Theatre is a smaller, more intimate 400-seat arena space. Located just next door to the Clarence Brown Theatre, the venue features flexible seating and staging. The Clarence Brown Lab Theatre is a 100-seat black box venue housed inside the Clarence Brown Theatre. The Lab Theatre's productions tend to be more experimental and avant-garde. The theatre is the home of the undergraduate student group All Campus Theatre.