Musical Theatre

Scene from Theatre Central's production of Cabaret

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 can work on their craft under close mentorship by faculty and staff.

Three or four main-stage productions occur each year, as well as student productions. Students also 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.

The Central Difference

Take the Stage

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.

No Limits in Sight

Actor and aspiring lawyer Elizabeth Rouse ’20 may be blind, but she has a clear vision of her future.


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.

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to study abroad to enhance their development as global citizens.

Learn more about study abroad.

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

Central College theatre majors are employed in many fields—from teachers, arts administrators and lawyers to finance, publishing and health care.

  • Griffin Hammel ’14, Theatre Professor, Tarrant County College District, Fort Worth, Texas
  • Emily Hutchinson ’14, Assistant Drama Director, Waukee Community Schools, Waukee, Iowa
  • Shawn Jensen ’08, Technology and Exhibition Manager, Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Minnihan Heerema ’04, Costume Shop Manager, Sacramento Theatre Company, Sacramento, California
  • Rob Lindley ’95, Actor, Actor, The Phantom of the Opera National Tour, Chicago, Illinois
Central College student

Other Opportunities

No matter what your interests are, Central has a student group for you!

  • Alpha Psi Omega
  • Improv Your Vision

Graduate Placement

  • Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
  • University of Glasgow
  • New York Film Academy
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Houston
  • Drake University Law School


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.

  • Maine State Musical Theatre, Brunswick, Maine
  • PRG Worldwide Entertainment Technology Solutions
  • Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas, George Daly Theater
  • Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Twin Lake, Michigan
  • Des Moines Civic Center
  • Des Moines Playhouse
  • Little Angel Theatre, London, U.K.
  • Gate Theatre, London, U.K.
  • Polka Dot Theatre, London, U.K.
  • The Golden Hinde Trust, Living History Museum, London, U.K.
  • The Rose Theatre, London, U.K.
  • Iowa Science Museum
  • Union Street Players
  • Des Moines Metro Opera
  • Walt Disney World Resort
  • Pella Opera House

Courses & Faculty

Theatre students study 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.

Learn more about this discipline in the course catalog.

Meet the Faculty:

Sample Coursework

First Year

  • Introduction to Theatre
  • Acting I
  • Introduction to Theatrical Production
  • Stage Management

Sophomore Year

  • Directing I
  • Costume Design and Construction or Scene Design or Lighting Design

Junior Year

Senior Year


Learn More

Want to find out more about Musical Theatre at Central? Contact us to learn more about this discipline and our other strong academic programs.

Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.