Theatre program

MUndergrad major mUndergrad 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


  • Actor
  • Technical, artistic or music director
  • Business or box office manager
  • Choreographer
  • Lighting, sound, costume or special effects designer
  • Costume shop supervisor or technician
  • Drama coach
  • Dramaturg
  • Director
  • Makeup artist
  • Master carpenter or electrician
  • Playwright
  • Producer
  • Production, house or stage manager
  • Pyrotechnician
  • Scenic designer or painter
  • Stage crew
  • Theatre consultant, critic or instructor

What distinguishes UWL's Theatre 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

Arts Administration Emphasis

MUndergrad major mUndergrad minor View a sample plan for Arts Administration Emphasis

Design/Technical Emphasis

MUndergrad major mUndergrad minor View a sample plan for Design/Technical Emphasis

General Emphasis

MUndergrad major mUndergrad minor View a sample plan for General Emphasis

Musical Theatre Emphasis

MUndergrad major View a sample plan for Musical Theatre Emphasis

Performance Emphasis

MUndergrad major mUndergrad minor View a sample plan for Performance Emphasis

Stage Management Emphasis

MUndergrad major mUndergrad minor View a sample plan for Stage Management Emphasis

Sample courses