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.
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.
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.
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 $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.
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.