Theatre program

Undergrad major Undergrad minor

Dim the lights. Step on stage. Begin your future.

Discover your future in theatre whether performing, directing, designing, managing or working behind the scenes. Theatre students also gain skills that transfer to a wide range of professions beyond the stage. A dance minor offers opportunities for students to broaden their creative skills.

UWL's Theatre and Dance Department is nationally-recognized with multiple honors from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and the American College Theatre Festival Irene Ryan Competition. It is also named one of the best college theatre programs in the U.S., according to OnStage Blog.

Students receive one-on-one attention from faculty, gain a tremendous amount of production experience, and join a positive, collaborative and artistically-stimulating environment. 

Theatre jobs

Theatre and Dance provides great training to build career skills such as creativity, problem-solving, collaboration, meeting strict deadlines, and more. All of these skills are fully transferrable to nearly any career within or outside of theatre.

Graduating students will also leave with experience that opens doors to graduate school and careers within the theatre world. Careers in theatre include, but are not limited, to

What distinguishes UWL's Theatre Arts program?

National recognition

UWL Theatre and Dance students and productions have been nationally recognized for excellence and professionalism by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). Faculty and students have been recognized for their production work in the American College Theatre Festival (ACTF) Irene Ryan Competition, as well as design/tech/management certificates of merit.

Top program in Wisconsin

A national theatre blog placed UWL's Department of Theatre and Dance as the best theatre program in Wisconsin in a listing of top programs in all 50 states. OnStage editors say identifying top college programs begins with finding those doing “amazing things and giving their students fantastic preparation for their various industries.”

Classroom learning + practical, production experience

In UWL's program the stage is a natural extension of the classroom where students demonstrate, refine and expand skills. They gain a well-rounded education with an emphasis on the collaborative and creative process. Other hands-on experience includes classroom projects, senior recitals and designs, undergraduate research grant-funded productions and more.

Hands-on involvement in productions

UWL students work on six, fully-produced shows each academic year. Students are involved from the start of their academic career whether as backstage crew, technicians, designers, stage managers, performers or front of house staff. Through involvement, students are able to gain a network of peers in the department. Participation in theatre and dance productions is open to all UWL students regardless of major.

One-on-one student attention

The student-to-faculty ratio in the program is smaller than many comparable programs, allowing for more individualized attention. Each student receives regular feedback on their progress and development as a student and artist. Department faculty and staff know who students are and how they’re performing academically and artistically. 

Global perspective

The department provides a diverse and global perspective by teaching coursework in a cultural context from various cultures/geographic regions worldwide, maintaining non-traditional casting whenever possible, and linking with other organizations to provide culturally-rich programming. Students in the program have studied in locations such as Italy, Spain, Vietnam, London, Russia, India and more.

Reputable faculty and guest artists

UWL Theatre and Dance faculty have a wide range of professional experiences including designing for the American University in Cairo, Egypt; performing with the Boston Lyric Opera; technical direction for the Great River Shakespeare Festival; directing and performing for The Alternative Truth Project; authoring The Stage Manager’s Toolkit; and leading study abroad opportunities in London. The department also frequently brings guest artists to campus from professional and educational theatre.

Choose your path

Students can choose to major in one theatre emphasis area while minoring in another thus enhancing their educational opportunities and professional marketability. Note: Musical Theatre is the only emphasis area offered as a major only; no minor is available.

Areas of study


Theatre involves using live performers to present a story — real or imagined — in front of an audience. Theatre is a broad field with many avenues to pursue whether on stage or behind the scenes.

View a sample plan for Theatre Catalogfor Theatre Learn more for Theatre

Arts Administration Emphasis

The Arts Administration emphasis prepares students for leadership roles in theatre, dance, opera, and other arts organizations. Students will gain an understanding of the organizational structure and legal requirements of nonprofit organizations, along with hands-on projects in marketing, fundraising, and financial management.

Undergrad major Undergrad minor View a sample plan for Arts Administration Catalogfor Arts Administration

Design/Technical Emphasis

The Design & Technology emphasis allows students to specialize in a single area or to become well-versed in multiple aspects of theatre production. Areas of specialization include scenery, costumes, lighting, sound, and technical direction. Students will learn both in the classroom and through hands-on experiences in the shops and on productions.

Undergrad major Undergrad minor View a sample plan for Design/Technical Catalogfor Design/Technical

General Emphasis

This emphasis allows students to experience every aspect of theatre including acting, design, management, history, and directing. Students combine classroom study and practicum activities in a range of topics.

Undergrad major Undergrad minor View a sample plan for General Catalogfor General

Musical Theatre Emphasis

We combine the best theatrical training with solid musical technique in the Musical Theatre emphasis. This competitive program requires an audition, rewarding students with an array of classes in theory and technique. It combines acting, voice, and dance classes with multiple production opportunities, enabling students to develop their "triple threat” potential.

Undergrad major View a sample plan for Musical Theatre Catalogfor Musical Theatre

Performance Emphasis

Solid training in acting, voice, and movement will prepare you for a career in theatre, film or television. The Performance emphasis is complemented by a background in literature and history, as well as elective courses from all areas of theatre to create a well-rounded professional.

Undergrad major Undergrad minor View a sample plan for Performance Catalogfor Performance

Stage Management Emphasis

Students will focus on both the art and craft of stage management, refining their skills in personnel management, communication, blocking, cue calling, paperwork and more. Stage management courses are complemented by courses in lighting, sound, and directing, and paired with assignments on department productions.

Undergrad major Undergrad minor View a sample plan for Stage Management Catalogfor Stage Management

Sample courses