Theta Alpha Phi

Theta Alpha Phi National Theatre Honors Fraternity (ΘΑΦ) is an American honor society that accepts members who achieve excellence in the art of theatre. Membership is available to undergraduates and graduate students at member institutions.

Theta Alpha Phi
The Crest of Theta Alpha Phi.jpeg
FoundedDecember 22, 1919; 102 years ago (1919-12-22)
Oklahoma State University–Stillwater
EmphasisTheatre, 4-year schools
Motto"The purpose of playing is [...] to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature"
Colors  Purple and   White
SymbolComedy and Tragedy masks
PublicationThe Cue
Members22,800+ lifetime
Nickname"Thetas," "Thetans," "TAPs," or "Taffies."
HeadquartersTheta Alpha Phi National
c/o Kitty Laurich, Sec-Treas
500 E. Beechwold Blvd

Columbus, OH 43214
WebsiteOfficial website

The History of Theta Alpha PhiEdit

The first chapter, referred to as Oklahoma Alpha, was formed on December 22, 1919 at Oklahoma A&M College, now Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Since the dissolution of the National Collegiate Players/Pi Epsilon Delta (ΠΕΔ) National Theatre Honor Society, Theta Alpha Phi is the oldest honor society for theatre in the United States. Other theater honor societies include Alpha Psi Omega (ΑΨΩ) and Delta Psi Omega (ΔΨΩ), the latter designated for 2-year schools.[1][2]

Theta Alpha Phi National Theatre Honors Fraternity is an honors society rather than a recognition association or activity club. It confers nationally recognized honors on graduate and undergraduate students who earn a specified high level of quality in theatre study and production at over 30 selected, accredited colleges and universities.

Theta Alpha Phi is restricted to four-year or graduate colleges and universities on a highly selective basis. It has no junior college branches or subsidiaries, and admits to membership only students of sophomore standing or above. Students become eligible after having successfully met a prescribed minimum of experience in directing, writing, acting in, or managing plays.[1]

Theta Alpha Phi is the only independent theatre honors organization with standards and functions established solely by its own constitution without regard to requirements of other organizations. It is not a member of any association whose member societies are concerned with areas other than theatre, but which nevertheless control the standards and hence the functions of members. Theta Alpha Phi is the only national organization which honors graduate and undergraduate students for quality as well as quantity of work and study in theatre arts alone. Unlike some organizations which demand that students achieve a certain level in all studies, most of which are unrelated to theatre, Theta Alpha Phi demands excellence only in theatre. Hence, Theta Alpha Phi believes a student can be outstanding in theatre and deserving of honor in theatre without comparable achievement in all areas of study.[2]

Theta Alpha Phi is democratic in organization. There is no secrecy, no "blackball," and no chapter or member discrimination on the basis of race, color or creed. The constitution, initiation ceremony, financial statements, and other records are available for inspection to any responsible person or organization. Throughout its history, Theta Alpha Phi has retained a consistent and dynamic "fraternalist" policy of mutual aid among members and member schools.[2]

Symbols and traditionsEdit

The fraternity explains that pronunciation of its name can be either "Thay-ta Al-fa Fye" or "Thay-ta Al-fa Fee". The latter is closer to the original Greek pronunciation.[2]

The official colors of Theta Alpha Phi are Purple and White.[2]

The gold badge of the Fraternity displays prominently a form of "Sock and buskin", more commonly known as the Comedy and Tragedy masks, long associated with the theatrical arts. It is crowned with four rubies and bears the black enameled letters Θ, Α and Φ on the left eye, nose and right eye, respectively.[1]

The motto of Theta Alpha Phi is "The purpose of playing is [...] to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature" (a reference to the "advice to the players" speech in Hamlet).

Members are referred to as "Thetas," "Thetans," "TAPs," or "Taffies."[2]

Theta Alpha Phi presents a national award called the Medallion of Honor, which it purports is the highest national tribute made in educational theatre.

Theta Alpha Phi's magazine, The Cue, was established in 1922 and is oriented distinctly and solely to students of theatre in higher education. With articles, pictures and other features relevant to mature college students rather than to younger readers or faculty. The Cue provides a useful and important service not only to members, but to all students of theatre.[1]


Chapter information from the national website, or Baird's Manual (20th, reprinted from the 19th ed.) Active chapters noted in bold, inactive chapters noted in italics.[1][2]

Approximately 50 dormant chapters are not listed, which may be re-activated with faculty sponsorship.

State City University Chapter Status Installed Date and Range Reference
Arkansas Arkadelphia Ouachita Baptist University Arkansas Beta Active
California Stockton University of the Pacific California Gamma Active 1922
Florida Deland Stetson University Florida Alpha Active 1919
Florida Winter Park Rollins College Florida Gamma Active 1938
Illinois Elmhurst Elmhurst University Illinois Iota Active
Indiana Franklin Franklin College Indiana Beta Active 1923
Indiana Terre Haute Indiana State University Indiana Delta Active 1936
Kentucky Morehead Morehead State University Kentucky Alpha Active
Louisiana Grambling Grambling State University Louisiana Gamma Active
Michigan Albion Albion College Michigan Epsilon Active 1929
Michigan Adrian Adrian College Michigan Zeta Active 1921-1934, >1960
Missouri Warrensburg University of Central Missouri Missouri Delta Active 1926
Missouri Canton Culver–Stockton College Missouri Gamma Active 1923-1940, >1960
New Jersey Hoboken Stevens Institute of Technology New Jersey Alpha Active 1960
New Jersey Montclair Montclair State University New Jersey Gamma Active
New York Ithaca Ithaca College New York Beta Inactive
Ohio Delaware Ohio Wesleyan University Ohio Alpha Active 1919
Ohio Ada Ohio Northern University Ohio Epsilon Active 1924
Ohio Mansfield Ohio State University at Mansfield Ohio Eta Active
Ohio Bowling Green Bowling Green State University Ohio Iota Active 1945
Ohio Granville Denison University Ohio Kappa Active
Oklahoma Stillwater Oklahoma State University Oklahoma Alpha Inactive December 22, 1919-1934 [3]
Wisconsin Whitewater University of Wisconsin–Whitewater Wisconsin Delta Active

National OfficersEdit

National President - Kathleen DeVault (Ohio Northern University) 2017-Current [2]

Notable membersEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Anson, Jack L.; Marchenasi, Robert F., eds. (1991) [1879]. Baird's Manual of American Fraternities (20th ed.). Indianapolis, IN: Baird's Manual Foundation, Inc. p. VII-57. ISBN 978-0963715906.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h From the National website, accessed 8 Aug 2021.
  3. ^ This was the first chapter of Theta Alpha Phi.
  4. ^ According to the school's Cayugan yearbook. The Cayugan. Ithaca College. 1948. p. 108.

External linksEdit