The Central College theatre program exposes students to artistic development through a broad and comprehensive curriculum including courses in, acting, directing, history, literature, theatre management, stagecraft and 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. Three or four 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, students attend conferences such as USITT and ACTF to see the latest technologies, be exposed to commentary from professional theatre practitioners and make connections for internships or advanced study.

of theatre graduates between 2007-2012 studied abroad while at Central College
of theatre majors are double majors. Popular second majors: art, communication studies, business management and and psychology
Students interested in theatre management have access to hands-on training with Central’s art management curriculum

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.

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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Devin McCain


Central offers theatre awards of up to $1,500 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. The adjustable main classroom space is equipped with a projection system and drafting tables to accommodate most of the theatre courses. 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.

A 10-station computer lab with 24/7 access is located in the Roe Center. This lab is shared with the art department and music department and is equipped with industry standard programs used in theatre including VectorWorks and Adobe Creative Suites.

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 College student

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

Central College theatre majors are employed in many fields—from teachers, arts administrators and lawyers to 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
Central College student


No matter what your interests are, Central has a student group for you!

  • Alpha Psi Omega
  • Improv Your Vision

Graduate Placement

  • Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
  • University of Glasgow
  • New York Film Academy
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Houston
  • Drake University Law School


Students are encouraged to find internships or employment in theatre through sources such as ArtSearch. Also the theatre department partners with the Union Street Players in Pella 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.

  • Little Angel Theatre, London, U.K.
  • Gate Theatre, London, U.K.
  • Polka Dot Theatre, London, U.K.
  • The Golden Hinde Trust, Living History Museum, London, U.K.
  • The Rose Theatre, London, U.K.
  • Iowa Science Museum
  • Union Street Players
  • Des Moines Metro Opera
  • Walt Disney World Resort
  • Pella Opera House
Central College student

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 two one-credit practicums. 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:

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
  • Senior seminar
  • Liberal arts studies capstone
  • Theatre electives


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.