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Earn a Degree in Theatre

Theatre Arts

About the Program

The primary objective of the Theatre Program is to provide a curriculum for the student interested in working in the professional theatre, attending theatre graduate school, or teaching theatre. A major in theatre offers the student a comprehensive understanding of the theatre arts with the opportunity to specialize in acting, directing, designing, costuming or playwriting. The program emphasizes student initiative, creativity, and responsible involvement. Classes are structured to provide a solid philosophical and practical approach to theatre.

See the Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes for Theatre.


Southwest Minnesota State’s outstanding theatre facilities include a 300-seat recently renovated proscenium theatre, an experimental Black Box Theatre, which holds up to 200, and well-equipped scene and costume shops. The makeup and dressing rooms surpass what is found in many professional theatre houses.


Successful careers in theatre, film, and television require many skills. Communication is most important, but the other primary skills include self-discipline, collaboration, creative thinking, and problem solving. Theatre majors are required to take specific courses that enhance these skills.

Majors & Minors

Clubs & Organizations

Theatre Arts Students Performing

Current Theatre Season:

Check out our current season to the right.  Information to follow about dinner theatre, school matinees and more.

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Career Opportunities

SMSU theatre graduates currently work in all areas of theatre, film, and television. Isiah Whitlock, Jr. has appeared in HBO’s The Wire and Law and Order, in the films Goodfellas and Enchanted, on Broadway in The Iceman Cometh, and has toured nationally in August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson.

William DuWell is the technical director of the American Players Theatre in Spring Green, WI. Jayme McGhan received a full fellowship to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in playwriting - only 3 students out of hundreds of applicants were accepted - Director of Western Carolina University's School of Stage and Screen. Dawn D. Gilger graduated with an MFA from the Professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Delaware, and has worked on touring shows and in Broadway scene shops. Rien Schlecht is a costume designer in New York and for the Weathervane Theatre in New Hampshire. Alex Holmes has appeared in Nickelodeon’s iCarly, in national commercials, and professional musical productions. Stand-up comic Joe Keyes has been featured on network sitcoms. Bruce Aune is an Emmy-winning head TV anchor in the quad Cities. James Merchant is the author of Fragments of a Dream, the outdoor drama based on the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Several SMSU grads teach in high schools and universities across the nation. In addition to being prepared for a wide variety of theatre-related careers, students are equipped with skills useful in many other fields.

  • Theatre
  • Film
  • Television
  • Stand-up comedy
  • Design
  • Technical Direction
  • Teaching
  • Talent and Casting Agencies
  • Production Companies
  • Theme Parks and Cruise Ships
  • Arts, Cultural, and Historical Organizations
  • Publishing
  • Event Planning


Auditions for all productions are open to the entire student body as well as to the community. Each semester productions occur both on the Mainstage and in the experimental Black Box Theatre. Southwest Minnesota State’s Theatre Program is active in The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Regional Festival held every January throughout our seven-state region, and has been honored several times nationally and regionally by KCACTF. Students are active in several theatre organizations, including: Drama Club, one of the most active student organizations on campus; Alpha Psi Omega, the national theatre fraternity; and Take 2 Improv, an improv and sketch comedy troupe. The Theatre Program offers special projects and trips throughout the year. A Spring Break theatre tour to New York, and a London theatre tour in May every other year. In the summers, theatre students are encouraged to pursue internships and professional theatre opportunities.

Thank you for your support!

Help Support the SMSU Theatre Program:

Your generous support can help with the advancement of the SMSU Theatre Program. Join our Friends of the Theatre Program and receive different ticket packages and other offers while supporting the SMSU Theatre Program with a generous donation!

Corporations are also welcome to sponsor part of the SMSU Theatre Season, if you or your business is interested, please contact us at (507) 537-7103 .

more information

Contact Information

Theatre Arts Program - Office

FA 207, Southwest Minnesota State University
1501 State St.
Marshall, MN 56258


  • Complete Application
  • $20 Non-refundable Application Fee
  • Official High School Transcript(s)
  • ACT or SAT Test Scores

Schedule Your Visit Today!


  • Rank in the upper half of graduating class
  • or
  • Score a composite of 21 or above on the ACT or 990 on the SAT

Last Modified: 1/22/24 11:41 AM | Website Feedback