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. Four main-stage productions and multiple student productions occur each year, including the student-run Fringe Festival. Each term an informal trip open to the entire student body is organized to see professional productions and visit artistic venues in Minneapolis, Kansas City or Des Moines.

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.

Ashton Mayer

Ashton Mayer

An art major, Ashton Mayer moonlights in hair and makeup for Theatre Central while creating mixed-media masterpieces in class.

Read More

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
  • Vandy Scoates, B.A., M.F.A., Assistant Professor of Theatre, interest areas include theatre, fine arts, global sustainability
  • 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.
  • Thomas Thatcher, B.F.A., M.F.A., Technical Director, interest areas include stagecraft, props construction, lighting, technical drafting and play production


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

Recent Productions

Central students participate in multiple productions each year. Recent shows include "The Ice Fishing Play," "Legacy of Light" and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Read more about recent productions

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. Click here for more information on portfolio, audition 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


The F Stands for Funny

The F Stands for Funny

Central's improv club seeks to have fun and bring more laughter to campus.

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Actors in Residence
Actors in Residence

New York theater company TE’A will perform “There’s Something About America” Oct. 1 and offer workshops for students.

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Summer Research Crew
Summer Research Crew

Twenty-three students turned full-time researchers this summer. They investigated bats, bees, polymers, criminal sentencing and more — and received research grants to do it!

Read More

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.