The Central College theatre program exposes students to artistic development through a broad and comprehensive curriculum including courses in:

  • acting
  • directing
  • history
  • literature
  • arts management
  • stagecraft
  • design and technical production

Independent study is encouraged, and students have the opportunity to work on their craft under close mentorship by faculty and staff.

The production-oriented department presents a wide range of classical and contemporary theatre. In recent years, students have worked with playwrights in residence to develop and write exciting new works for the stage. Several main-stage productions occur each year, as well as student productions. Informal trips to Minneapolis, Kansas City, Omaha, Milwaukee or Des Moines are organized by faculty and staff to see professional productions and artistic venues to supplement coursework. Also, you’ll be able to attend conferences to see the latest technologies available and make connections for internships or advanced study. 

of theatre graduates between 2007-2012 studied abroad while at Central College
  • 42% of theatre majors are double majors. Popular second majors: art, communication studies, business management
  • Central's arts management curriculum is available to theatre majors who are interested in gaining theatre management experience

The Real World


Successful Careers

Central College theatre majors are employed in a diversity of fields—from teachers to arts administrators, and in the fields of finance, publishing and health care.

  • Director and actor, New York City and Chicago
  • Managing director, University Theater, University of Chicago
  • Costume designer, Sacramento Playhouse, Sacramento, Calif.
  • Associate professor, Department of Theatre Arts, Ithaca College, Ithaca, N.Y.
  • Actor, photographer and videographer, Chicago, Ill.
  • Film actor and Second City cast member, Chicago, Ill.
  • Sound designer, Arizona Theatre Company, Tucson, Ariz.
  • Costume designer, Des Moines Community Playhouse
  • Marketing director, South Bend Civic Theatre, South Bend, Ind.
  • Arts and entertainment columnist, Cedar Rapids Gazette


  • Alpha Psi Omega
  • Improv Your Vision

No matter what your interests are, Central has a student group for you! Learn how you can get involved with groups and organizations at Central.

Devin McCain

Devin McCain

"Every theatre professor has tons of experience and can answer any questions I have — and I have a lot."

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Graduate Placement

  • Purdue University
  • Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Students are encouraged to find internships or employment in theatre through sources such as ArtSearch, and the department partners with the Pella Shakespeare Company to provide summer experience in acting, directing and stagecraft. The study abroad locations all offer internships, as do the Chicago and Washington, D.C., programs. Find more information on internships.

  • Little Angel Theatre, London, U.K.
  • Pella Shakespeare Company 
  • Des Moines Metro Opera
  • Walt Disney World Resort
  • Pella Opera House

Courses & Faculty

Theatre majors complete required courses in acting, directing, design, stagecraft and theatre history/literature, any of which can become the starting place for further exploration and study. Students also have the opportunity to earn practicum credit through acting or design/technology and pursue independent study projects in any of the areas of study.

Practical experience in theatre complements the classroom experience, so each theatre major is required to complete a two-credit practicum. The practicum is designed so a student can demonstrate leadership skills as a crew head, in a major role on stage, or as a designer or stage manager.

Learn more about theatre in the course catalog.

Meet the faculty:
  • Charles Adamson, B.F.A., M.A., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Theatre, interest areas include musical theatre, arts administration, acting and directing
  • Kate Kanne, Lecturer of Theatre
  • Mary Jo Sodd, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Theatre, interest areas include directing, classical acting, history and literature, and introduction to the fine arts.


Theatre photo

Sample Schedule

First year
  • Introduction to Theatre
  • Acting I
  • Introduction to Theatrical Production
  • Stage Management
  • Core courses and/or electives
Sophomore year
  • Directing I
  • One course from theatre history sequence
  • Practicum in theatre
  • Costume Design and Construction or Scene Design or Lighting Design
  • Core courses and/or electives
Junior year
  • Practicum in theatre
  • Theatre electives
  • Core courses and/or electives
  • A semester studying abroad is recommended
Senior year
  • Practicum in theatre
  • Theatre electives
  • Core courses and/or electives

The Central Difference

Take the Stage

Central students participate in multiple productions each year. And each spring, theatre students help to put on the Fringe Festival, a four-day arts extravaganza that connects adventurous artists with adventurous audiences and functions as a showcase for all of the performing and visual arts.


Central offers theatre awards of up to $2,000 for all students (majors and non-majors) who have a passion for theatre. The awards are renewable for four years. Learn more about portfolio, auditions and interviews.


The Kruidenier Center houses two flexible theatres with up-to-date computer-controlled lighting and sound systems. The main-stage theatre seats approximately 200 audience members and has a full rigging system. The Mr. B studio theatre, which seats 50, is an experimental stage utilized for both productions and acting classes. These flexible facilities permit a wide variety of staging opportunities and an excellent teaching space. The main classroom is media-savvy, with a projection system and computers for research and computer-assisted drafting for design classes. A smaller seminar room provides a cozy space for discussion classes. Large, well-equipped costume and scene shops, dressing rooms, a green room and a makeup alley complete the support facilities. 

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to study abroad with Central College to enhance their development as global citizens. Academic opportunities and internship programs also are available in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.

Central Theatre Students


From Central to Cirque du Soleil

From Central to Cirque du Soleil

It only took a little charisma on a Central theater trip for Cat Rebelskey ’16 to land the internship of her dreams.

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Central Presents “Steel Magnolias”
Central Presents “Steel Magnolias”

Central College presents “Steel Magnolias” March 1-4 at the Pella Opera House.

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Central Students Compete in Theatre Festival
Central Students Compete in Theatre Festival

Three students will compete in the Kennedy American College Theatre Festival Jan. 22-28 in Des Moines.

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Learn More

Want to find out more about theatre at Central? Contact us to learn more about this major and our other strong academic programs. Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.