The Theatre Department’s mission is to educate students in the practice and study of theatre and to encourage students’ creative and critical development. It supports the application of theatre skills in lasting, strong, and meaningful ways throughout their lives. 

Our urban setting provides access to a thriving professional arts community with opportunities to engage with the region’s many cultural groups and institutions through service learning, internships, and fieldwork. These experiences support students interested in developing as artists, educators, and scholars and by actively encouraging them to be theatre makers.

The Theatre Department offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Practices. We also offer a Theatre Minor.

Degree Programs

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Theatre offers two tracks: Performance and Production. Performance majors focus on either Acting or Musical Theatre. Production majors explore a broad curriculum in Costuming, Stage Management, Technical Production, and Design.

The Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Practices (BA) offers two tracks: Theatre Practices and K-12 Theatre Education. Theatre Practices focuses on playwriting, performing and devising new works, directing, community engaged practices, theatre and social justice, and dramaturgy. BA students also have an opportunity to earn a Cultures and Communities (C&C) Certificate. The Theatre Education track in the BA is a professional program that leads to a Wisconsin Theatre Educator license.

Theatre study, in all degree programs within the department, begins with a common core of course experiences designed to provide learning opportunities encouraging participants to engage with theatre as a way of seeing, understanding, and communicating culture.


All programs and tracks in all undergraduate programs within the Theatre Department require a capstone experience. The capstone serves as a laboratory for students and provides a framework for application of developing skills and knowledge. Depending on semester, program, or project, capstones are executed and evaluated within the following courses:

BA in Theatre Practices Degree

THEATRE 465Theatre Capstone: BA Theatre Practices3
THEATRE 472Performance Capstone in Musical Theatre3
THEATRE 485Elementary Level Student Teaching in Theatre2-6
THEATRE 486Secondary Student Teaching in Theatre2-6

BFA Acting Degree

THEATRE 571Acting 63

BFA Musical Theatre Degree

THEATRE 472Performance Capstone in Musical Theatre3

BFA Production Degree

THEATRE 675Advanced Studio1-6
or THEATRE 685 Internship in Professional Theatre

Capstone evaluations are used to assess student outcomes and program goals.  

Theatre Courses

NameRankDegreeSchoolGraduate FacultyEmeritus Faculty
Jessica Berlin Senior Lecturer MBA Alverno College Yes No
Christopher Guse Associate Professor BFA University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee No No
Rebecca Holderness Professor MFA Columbia University Yes No
Ralph Janes Senior Lecturer MFA University of California-San Diego Yes No
Raeleen McMillion Senior Lecturer MFA Ohio University No No
Robin Mello Professor PhD Lesley University Yes No
Sheri Williams Pannell Assistant Professor MFA University of Wisconsin-Madison Yes No
Corliss E. Phillabaum Professor PhD No Yes
Alvaro Saar Rios Associate Professor MFA Northwestern University No No
Dana Rochester Lecturer MFA University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee No No
LeRoy Stoner Associate Professor, ex-Chair MA Indiana University No Yes
Sandra Strawn Professor BSE Emporia State University No Yes
James Tasse Senior Lecturer BFA University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee No No
William Watson Associate Professor MFA University of Washington No No
Stephen White Assistant Professor MFA Northwestern University No No