College of Arts and Communication


Bachelor's Degree Programs

In the UW-Whitewater Theatre and Dance program, everyone has a chance to learn everything from the front of the house to behind the scenes. We’re a highly hands-on, collaborative program offering an array of major, minor and degree options.

4-year plan

Meet the faculty

Season productions


Why study Theatre and Dance at UW-Whitewater?

At UW-Whitewater’s Theatre and Dance program, we’re:

  • Large enough to offer a five-production season while being small enough to offer hands-on learning-by-doing experience.
  • Inclusive: Anyone can declare a major or minor in our programs, and anyone can audition for a show.
  • Active in the local community: for example, we offer matinee performances for area high school students and an annual Arts Immersion Day for area talented and gifted middle school students.
  • Experienced: Our faculty members come from near and far, and many are well-situated in our regional theatre community.

We also offer about $40,000 of scholarships to Theatre majors and Dance minors each year.

Scholarship includes Incoming Freshman Scholarships.

What our Theatre and Dance students do

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Stage five major productions each school year

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Attend the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival annually

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Earn credit for roles in productions

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Attend the American College Dance Association Conference

Theatre and Dance: Major areas


Theatre and dance majors backstage during a performance at UW-Whitewater.

Whether you’re looking to major in theatre arts to pursue a career in a performance, education, production or a related area, you’ll be able to choose a path of study that fits your goals at UW-Whitewater. Here’s a brief overview of our degrees in theatre:

Theatre major: Get a broad education
Designed to give you a broad theatre education, the Bachelor of Arts option also allows you the flexibility to add a minor or even declare a second major.

BFA Theatre programs: Specialize your studies
Our BFAs are professional theatre programs that allow you to specialize in one of three areas:

  • performance
  • design/technology
  • stage management

These programs are in-depth, interdisciplinary and highly customizable based on your interests. For example, the management and promotion program offers courses from marketing, communications and business; and the performance major includes electives from broadcast journalism, English and dance.

Theatre Education major: Teach future teachers
UW-Whitewater provides a broad-based theatre education program that prepares our future high school theatre educators, often with a minor in English.

Dance minor: Add some movement to your major
This liberal arts program will expose you to several areas of dance, including ballet, contemporary dance, dance composition, choreography and dance history/criticism. "“As an actor, I always recommend dance classes to colleagues. It provides a person with a strong sense of spacial awareness and a strong understanding of blocking for the stage. I rarely need to be told how to block scenes and I attribute that to my involvement in the dance program.” - Alumnus Tyler King

Learn more about our majors, minors and degree requirements, below.

Student productions and practicum credit


Performance in the Young Auditorium on the University of Wisconsin Whitewater campus.

With five productions each year, Theatre and Dance majors will have plenty of behind-the-scenes and performance opportunities. Our season line-ups might include:

  • Musical theatre
  • Plays
  • Dance concerts
  • Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) performances

You’ll also have the chance to earn official course credit when you participate in various roles in student productions: acting, make-up, directing, sound, costuming, stagecraft, scenery, management/publicity, lighting and more.

Additional hands-on experiences


Regional festivals and beyond
We actively participate regionally in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and the American College Dance Association Festival. In fact, when we compete in dance competitions, other schools are always surprised to learn UW-Whitewater has “only” a minor.

On-campus employment
We offer work-study positions in our scene shop, our costume shop and our department office. This gives our students a chance to learn more about various aspects of theatre production and programming while working part-time and earning money.

Student organizations
Theatre, dance and other performance-related groups on campus include:

  • Theta Alpha Phi
  • Forensics Team

Setting the scene: Our facilities


UW-Whitewater’s Theatre and Dance program uses a variety of learning, rehearsal and performance spaces; most are located in the Greenhill Center of the Arts, a place always bustling with music, theatre and dance majors. Here’s a look at a few spaces:

Young Auditorium: This 1,300-seat venue holds dozens of national and university events each year, from concerts and comedy to theater and dance.

Barnett Theatre: With a fully trapped stage — including an orchestra pit — this 380-seat theatre hosts many of our major productions.


The final scene of a play by performers on the University of Wisconsin Whitewater campus.


Hicklin Studio Theatre: Our versatile black box theatre can be reconfigured to fit a variety of productions, and it is also used as a classroom and rehearsal space.

Kachel Studio: This multipurpose space is home to tap and other dance classes.

Dance Studio: This 4,000-square-foot facility has a sprung Marley floor, warm-up spaces, locker rooms; and it is home to most of our dance classes.


Dance majors at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater learn a new routine in pairs.


Design Lab: Also a classroom space for our theatre tech students, the lab features drafting tables, a lighting lab and workstations with the latest production and design software.

Scene Shop:In this fully equipped woodshop , you’ll find a paint room, a tool room and a storage area with a large collection of props and furniture.


Theatre professor at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater showcases a set design.


Costume Shop: The shop is home to an extensive costume collection plus all the tools you’d need to costume a show: sewing machines, sergers, cutting tables, a spray booth, and dye facilities.

What our graduates do

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Professional actors, dancers and musicians

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Theatre educators

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Stage designers and creative crew professionals

Dance and Theatre jobs: Career success


Our Theatre majors and Dance minors are well-rounded, well-prepared practitioners who find work across the country, from New York to California, in theatre, entertainment and education.

You’ll find our graduates in regional theatres, national touring companies, various Shakespeare festivals, dance studios and production companies -- as well as teaching at schools and colleges. Here are just a few organizations:

  • American Players Theatre (Spring Green)
  • Milwaukee Repertory Theatre (or Milwaukee Rep)
  • Asolo Repertory Theatre (Sarasota, Florida)
  • Fireside Theatre (Fort Atkinson)
  • Goodman Theatre (Chicago)
  • Melk Music (New Berlin)
  • Universal Studios (University City, California)
  • Walt Disney World (Orlando , Florida)
  • Kenosha Unified School District

Many Theatre majors and Dance minors also pursue MFA (Master of Fine Arts) programs after graduation.

Our Theatre and Dance faculty

Performers. Directors. Stage Designers. Choreographers. Our Theatre and Dance faculty is cast with an array of professionals, many of whom are still active in the non-academic theatre world.

Meet all of our Theatre and Dance faculty »

Want to learn more about earning a Theatre and Dance degree?

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To apply, you’ll complete the UW-Whitewater application for admission and indicate your interest in theatre and dance.
Don't forget that there are scholarship funds for Incoming Freshman, learn more here.

Apply Now

Support our Programs

23/24 Productions

Wreckage by Sally Stubbs
Directed by Bruce Cohen
Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 7, 8 at 2 p.m.
Oct. 12, 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 14 at 2 p.m.
Hicklin Studio Theatre

Step into the shadowy underbelly of Vancouver with "Wreckage" by Sally Stubbs, directed by Bruce Cohen. Twenty-five years after Rose disappears from a horrible train wreck, her red suitcase mysteriously ends up in the hands of her daughter, Violet. With the aid of her mother's diary, Violet embarks on a search for the truth that reveals sordid and bizarre secrets from the past. With a host of dark, yet humorous characters including gangster chefs and a Puccini-singing ghost, "Wreckage" will have you eagerly awaiting each new revelation.

This play contains themes and theatricalized depictions that some may find troubling. It is intended for adult audiences and mature sensibilities. This play is not appropriate for children.

Wreckage is a hard-boiled, gangster play in the style of American Film Noir. The world of this style is dark and ominous, concerning itself with tales of crime and retribution in a gritty underworld. Potential content triggers include depictions of:

  • Sexual attraction and behavior (both spoken of and theatricalized) between consenting adults. This will include male and female characters touching each other in an intimate manner.
  • Sexual predation and assault (spoken of and theatricalized). This will include stage-violence depicting a choke and a male character touching a female character without consent.
  • Drug use (spoken of and theatricalized). This will include characters smoking an opium pipe and injecting heroin.
  • Alcohol consumption (spoken of and theatricalized).
  • Tobacco smoking (theatricalized).
  • Abortion (spoken of). A character describes the experience.
  • Murder (spoken of). Characters discuss and conspire.
  • Violence (spoken of and theatricalized). Threatening language is used and stage-violence depicts punches, kicks and falls (male on male); punches and slaps (male on female).

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
Directed by Sara J. Griffin
Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 11, 12 at 2 p.m.
Nov. 16, 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 18 at 2 p.m.
Barnett Theatre

In this enchanting adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing directed by Sara J. Griffin, step into the captivating world of 1935 New Orleans, where love, laughter, and deception intertwine against the backdrop of the Garden District and French Quarter. Set to the vibrant rhythms of jazz, this dazzling production will transport you to a bygone era of elegance and passion, and onto a journey where wit battles wit, villainy battles honesty, and love turns the most sensible into fools.

This show contains a momentary suggestion of sex. Acceptable for children under 13, with parental guidance.

In order to suggest the characters will be physically intimate off-stage, the actors will kiss while embracing, then exit together. This physicality may adjust slightly depending on the actors’ comfort with the actions.

Pal Joey
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Book by John O’Hara
Directed by Bruce Cohen
Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 24, 25 at 2 p.m.
Feb. 29, March 1 at 7:30 p.m.
March 2 at 2 p.m.
Barnett Theatre

Set in the vibrant nightlife of 1940s Chicago, "Pal Joey" follows the captivating journey of Joey Evans, a charismatic yet flawed nightclub performer who is determined to make it big. With a dream in his heart and a knack for seduction, Joey embarks on a whirlwind adventure, navigating a treacherous web of romance, power struggles, and the pursuit of his own dreams.

This play contains themes and theatricalized depictions that some may find troubling. It is intended for adult audiences and mature sensibilities.

Pal Joey is a classic of American musical theatre’s Golden-Age. The story revolves around anti-heroes, femme fatales and villain protagonists populating the seamy, showbiz world of Chicago in the late 30s. This groundbreaking show consciously pushed the social boundaries of its time with a comic depiction of unscrupulous behavior at both ends of the social spectrum. Potential content triggers include depictions of:

  • Sexual attraction and behavior (spoken of and theatricalized) between consenting adults. Two characters kiss.
  • Alcohol consumption (spoken of and theatricalized).
  • Tobacco smoking (theatricalized).
  • Violence (spoken of and theatricalized). Threatening language is used and stage-violence depicts punches, kicks and falls (male on male); slaps (female on male).

DanceScapes ‘24
Artistic Director: Barbara Grubel
March 16, 17 at 2 p.m.
March 19, 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Barnett Theatre

Get ready to be thrilled by "DanceScapes ’24." This production, under the artistic direction of Barbara Grubel, includes a variety of original dance pieces choreographed by students, faculty, and guest artist Pate Nassalang. Nassalang is a professional Afro-Jazz and Lindy Hop dance instructor and choreographer originally from Senegal, West Africa who has danced with some of the largest African Dance Companies in the world outside of Africa. You don’t want to miss this captivating student performance!

Sweet Science of Bruising by Joy Wilkinson
Directed by Sara J. Griffin
April 19 at 7:30 p.m.
April 20, 21 at 2 p.m.
April 25, 26, 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Hicklin Studio Theatre

"The Sweet Science of Bruising" by Joy Wilkinson, directed by Sara J. Griffin, brings you into the world of women’s underground boxing in London, 1865. Follow the lives of four courageous women as they step into the ring to fight for their independence, dignity, and empowerment. With heart-pounding action, compelling characters, and a thrilling blend of athleticism and drama, this extraordinary production puts the fight for equality center stage. Don't miss your chance to witness the raw power of resilience and the triumph of the human spirit in this knockout theatrical event!


The Sweet Science of Bruising

Written by: Joy Wilkinson
Directed by: Sara J. Griffin
Stage Manager: Samantha Ness
Rehearsal Dates: March 8-April 18, 2024
Rehearsal Times: Mondays-Fridays, 6-9 p.m. and Saturdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Performance Dates:
Friday, April 19, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 20, 2 p.m.
Sunday, April 21, 2 p.m.
Wednesday, April 24 10 a.m. (student matinee)
Thursday, April 25 7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 26 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 7:30 p.m.

Production Information:
The play requires large amounts of stage combat, specifically boxing, and will require training above and beyond the established choreography. The required cast will work with a professional actor trained in boxing and martial arts to learn correct form and assimilate the necessary physicality into their bodies. External cardio training and yoga are recommended.

The show centers around women’s rights, and the treatment of women in the Victorian Era. The practices of this period and topics that occur in the play which may be challenging for some individuals are domestic violence, sex work, and female genital mutilation. There will be romantic partner on romantic partner violence, as well as kissing and sexually suggestive language. The roles required to perform these actions have been noted in the character descriptions below. If you are unwilling to be considered for these roles, please indicate so on the Audition Form. Auditioners are responsible for understanding and being familiar with the content they are auditioning for, and should read the play in its entirety before auditioning.

The show takes place in 1869, at various locations throughout London, specifically Islington and Southwark areas. Actors will be required to perform in a dialect as specified in the character descriptions. Dialect coaching will be part of the rehearsal process, but actors must be prepared to work on their own. For auditions, actors are asked to give their best effort for the specified dialects.

Audition Information:
READ THE PLAY! As stated above, auditioners are responsible for understanding and being familiar with the content they are auditioning for, and should read the play in its entirety before auditioning.

Auditions will take place Sunday, Jan. 28, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., in person at The Hicklin Studio Theatre
Greenhill Center for the Arts
950 W. Main Street
Whitewater, WI 53190

Actors should arrive by 11:00, and be available to stay as long as needed. If this does not work for your schedule, please email director Sara J. Griffin, to make special arrangements. Actors need to bring a recent 8x10 headshot, and an acting resume stapled to the back of your headshot. You will be asked to complete an Audition Form upon arrival. The completed form should be given to the director with the headshot and resume.

Please prepare a monologue that is age appropriate, gender appropriate, and race appropriate, and familiarize yourself with the sides provided for callbacks. Hard copies will be available for you at the audition. You can indicate which characters you are interested in playing on the Audition Form. BFA Performance Students: Your headshots must be in color, with a matte finish, and your resume cut down to 8x10, stapled to the back of the headshot. Monologues must also be from a play, written by a British author, and require an RP (Received Pronunciation) or Cockney dialect.

Callbacks will take place immediately after initial monologue auditions. Actors should be prepared to move if called back, and stay through the end of callbacks. Actors may bring a change of clothes for the movement portion of callbacks.

Character Breakdowns and Available Roles:
POLLY STOKES (F, early 20’s) Cockney; poor, abandoned as a child but taken in by Stokes family. Paul is her adoptive brother and their closeness suggests they are or could be more than siblings. Role requires boxing, domestic violence choreography, and pregnancy.

VIOLET HUNTER (F, mid- late 20’s)
RP; well-bred and raised by her wealthy Aunt George. A nurse, but wants to be one of the first women doctors of the world, and fiercely passionate about progress for women. Role requires boxing, fencing, and discussion of genital mutilation.

ANNA LAMB (F, late 20’s)
RP; lady of society, married to Gabriel and has two daughters. Cares deeply about her children, her maid and friend Nancy, and suffers her husband’s ill treatment in silence. Role requires boxing, and domestic violence language and choreography.

Irish; woman of many trades, including sex work, a hustler. Bored with her routine, seeks out life and adventure, relying often on her feminine wiles to get by. Role requires boxing, sexually suggestive dialogue and physicality.

RP; a devotee to the “science” and “art” of boxing, but could never participate due to his poor health. A promoter and trainer, owns the Angel Amphitheater, closeted homosexual. Role requires shadowboxing.

GABRIEL LAMB (M, early 30’s)
RP; gentleman of society, married to Anna. Firmly believes women must be kept in check, physically and socially, even wielding his children as weapons. Participates in extra marital affair with Matty, and forces his wife to undergo genital mutilation surgery. Actor also plays LORD CAVENDISH in the play within the play scene. Role requires domestic violence choreography and language.

PAUL STOKES (M, mid 20’s)
Cockney; poor, adoptive brother of Polly. Makes his living as a boxer, desperately trying to become a champion. Actor also plays CAPTAIN DANBY in the play within the play scene. Role requires boxing and domestic violence choreography.

AUNT GEORGE (F, late 50’s)
RP; well-bred, wealthy lady, older sister to Emily and aunt to Violet. Has raised Violet and paid her way, and has promised to Violet leave a large inheritance. Role requires fencing.

NANCY (F, mid 20’s)
RP; lady’s maid to Anna, close friend and confidant, afraid of Gabriel. Actor also plays EMILY.

EMILY (F, late 30’s- early 40’s)
RP; well-bred, younger sister to Aunt George, wealthy, but doesn’t have access to her own money. Member of the women’s suffrage movement, and feels writing a tragic novel is the best way to change minds and affect change. Actor also plays NANCY.

DR. JAMES BELL (M, late 30’s)
RP; Violet’s boss and mentor, supports her desire for medical knowledge and expertise. Performs genital operation on Anna (off stage). Actor also plays DR. FORSTER and REFEREE.

Email the director at with questions.

The Sweet Science Bruising Script »
Audition Sides »
Audition Form »

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