College of Arts and Communication

THEATRE AND DANCE

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


CAN WE BRAG A LITTLE?

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

Graphic of two white masquerade masks on a blue background.

Stage five major productions each school year

White graphic of a stage light on a green background.

Attend the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival annually

Graphic of two white masquerade masks on an orange background.

Earn credit for roles in productions

Icon of a body moving in a circle.

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

Two masquerade masks with a musical note.

Professional actors, dancers and musicians

White graphic of an instructor at a board on a purple background.

Theatre educators

White graphic of a paint brush and hammer on a teal background.

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 our faculty

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

262-472-1566 | thtrdnce@uww.edu | Facebook icon   Instagram icon

To apply, you’ll complete the UW-Whitewater application for admission and indicate your interest in theatre and dance.
View additional information regarding scholarship funds for Incoming Freshman [PDF] »

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, 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 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!


Auditions

Lady Windermere’s Fan

Written by: Oscar Wilde
Directed by: Bruce Cohen

Primary Auditions for the Fall 2024 production of LADY WINDERMERE’S FAN by Oscar Wilde
In-Person Auditions: April 6, 7-10 p.m. in the Barnett Theatre

Auditions will take place in person and/or through video submission. If you choose to submit video, please record and send to the production director, Bruce Cohen, CohenBe@uww.edu. A callback audition is also possible and, if needed, you will be notified. Otherwise, casting will be announced.

This is an open call and the entire campus and Whitewater community is invited. You do not have to be a Theatre/Dance major or UW Whitewater student to audition.

PLEASE NOTE: ALL admitted BFA-Performance students and ALL pre-BFA-Performance students are expected to audition for all productions and perform as-cast. Please be aware that non-participation in a department mainstage audition and refusal to accept a role as-cast will constitute a breach of the BFA degree track expectations and may damage and/or prevent progress toward achieving the BFA-Performance. Please refer questions about this policy to Prof. Eric Appleton (Chair) or Lect. Sara Griffin (Head of Acting).

Play and cast breakdown:
Lady Windermere’s Fan
By: Oscar Wilde and Directed by Bruce Cohen
Performance Dates: Oct. 4–12, 2024, Hicklin Theatre
Rehearsal Period: Sept. 3-Oct. 3, 2024
Rehearsal Times: 7-10 p.m., Mondays–Saturdays (until tech week), TBD, Sundays

Play Overview:
Lady Windermere's Fan is a comedy of manners that centers on a young married couple, Lord and Lady Windermere. They have only been married two years and have an infant son. Their life is upended when the mysterious Mrs. Erlynne returns to London and gossip spreads about her relationship with Lord Windermere. The ensuing action illustrates many of the follies of the pampered upper class. In this world gossip, secrets, and subterfuge have profound impacts on the characters' trajectories

Available Roles:
Note: Some roles may be doubled/combined/eliminated. Some roles may be gender-switched and all roles will be cast exclusive of conventional gender-identification.

  • Lady Windermere: Lady Windermere is the play’s protagonist (late teens to early twenties). She has been married for two years to Lord Windermere, with whom she has a six-month-old son.
  • Lord Windermere: Lord Windermere is Lady Windermere’s husband (mid-twenties to early thirties). He is a wealthy and respectable gentleman who seems to be well-liked.
  • Mrs. Erlynne: Mrs. Erlynne (mid to late thirties) is a mysterious woman who is new to London society.
  • Lord Darlington: Lord Darlington (late teens to mid-thirties) is a young gentleman who is generally believed to behave wickedly.
  • The Duchess of Berwick: The Duchess of Berwick (mid-thirties and up) is a respectable older woman and friend of Lady Windermere’s.
  • Augustus: Augustus (mid-thirties and up) is an older gentleman and the brother of the Duchess of Berwick. It’s implied that he’s likeable but buffoonish and quickly falls in love.
  • Cecil Graham: Cecil Graham (late teens to mid-thirties) is a young gentleman who attends the party and is a friend of Lord Windermere and the other men.
  • Dumby: Dumby (late teens to mid-thirties) is another young gentleman who attends the party.
  • Lady Plymdale: Lady Plymdale is a guest at the party. Though she’s married, it’s implied that Dumby is her lover.
  • Agatha: Agatha (mid-teens to early twenties) is the Duchess of Berwick’s daughter.
  • Mr. Hopper: A young Australian man (late teens to mid-thirties) who is highly sought after in London society.
  • Parker: Lord Windermere and Lady Windermere’s butler.
  • Lady Jedburgh: Cecil Graham’s aunt (late thirties and up). She is an admired older woman.
  • Rosalie: Lady Windermere’s maid.

Audition Information:
Auditions will take place in person on Saturday, April 6 in the Hicklin Theatre (Greenhill Center of the Arts, 950 W. Main Street). Please arrive by 7 p.m. to register and check in with Stage Management when you arrive (there will be signs to direct you). You will be asked to fill out an Audition Questionnaire and schedule of conflicts/availability before you audition (please provide complete information as casting decisions and rehearsal calendars will be impacted by this). Auditions will be seen in the order of arrival and you may be asked to remain and read sides (scenes). We expect to be done by 10 p.m.

If you are unable to attend auditions in person but still wish to be considered, you may submit a self-tape (video) to Bruce Cohen, CohenBe@uww.edu. Please include your best contact information.

Video will continue to be accepted until April 12. A headshot and resume are not required for consideration. Please provide detail of experience and your conflicts/availability for the rehearsal and production period.

What to Prepare
Please read the play.

Monologue: Prepare a 2-minute portion from a comedy. Memorization is encouraged but not required. Callbacks will be held at the end of the in-person session. You may be asked to remain after your monologue to cold-read sides (scenes) from the play.

If you have questions relating to Lady Windermere’s Fan, please reach out to Bruce Cohen at CohenBe@uww.edu.

Explore related programs at UW-Whitewater