Theatre


Fast track your success by pairing your love of the theatre with a robust theatre degree from SAU. No matter if your dream lies behind the scenes or at center stage, our theatre program is vibrant, active, and will help you prepare for the career of your dreams.

Our graduates work on Broadway, in LA and Chicago as actors, teachers, stage managers, and costume designers; for Davenport Junior Theatre, Goodman Theatre, and St. Croix Festival Theatre.


Ambrose Advantages

  • Learn From Acting and Tech Professionals
  • You Choose: Stage, Tech, or Both!
  • Award-Winning Theatre Program

scene from Lapine Agile

Scene from View from a Bridge

Cast of Honk Junior

Gaining real experience is at the core of studying theatre at St. Ambrose. Our award-winning faculty provide our students with a deep understanding of every working part that goes into a production, both on and off stage. A close-knit relationship with your peers and teachers is something you just won't get at larger universities, and our productions are a great example of that.

Check out our Theatre Fact Sheet (pdf)


Discover Theatre at SAU

On Stage or Behind the Scenes
At SAU, you can seriously do it all

We have an award-winning program, faculty committed to your success, and opportunities galore.

Schedule your campus visit


More Information on Our Theatre Program

What Will I learn?

You will grow in your acting skills and self-confidence, learn to develop characters, and hone the art of stagecraft and directing techniques.

Courses include script analysis, costume design, stage lighting, scenic design, music theatre, and theatre history. Theatre majors read an impressive variety of plays as part of the coursework. Take a look at the suggested reading list (pdf).

Then, take what you learned in the classroom and apply it through a variety of productions throughout the year, ranging from musical theatre and directing to various showcases and intimate black box theatre shows.

Theatre students can also study abroad with our popular "Theatre in London" course. It culminates in a two-week trip to London where students see up to 14 plays, visit Shakespeare's hometown, and study with British theatre professionals. Other locations include Greece and Ireland, but the world really is your oyster! St. Ambrose has robust Study Abroad opportunities for all majors.

Our Facilities

The Theatre Department is located inside the Galvin Fine Arts Center with a modern, 600-seat proscenium stage that can expand seating to 1,200. The stage also hosts the annual Performing Arts Series, which allows you to attend professional touring shows right here on campus (and students get in free!).

We also have the Studio Theatre, a 50-seat black box theatre which hosts most of our student-directed plays. Our students love this intimate space because it provides a variety of directing, acting, and design opportunities.

We have great connections and encourage all students to complete an internship in whatever area of theatre they wish to focus. Our theatre majors have learned from professionals and peers on-site at The Goodman, The Guthrie, Festival Theatre, Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse, QC Workshop, Davenport Junior Theatre, Children's Theatre Company, and The Curtainbox Theatre. The SAU Career Center will help you find the internship right for you.

To make your education even more affordable, our Theatre Department offers numerous scholarships for current, transfer, and first-year students. Find out more by clicking here.

What are some potential career outcomes?

Theatre majors can established careers as directors, costume designers, technical directors, tour managers, lighting designers, actors, drama teachers (college, community, and high school), musical directors, artistic directors, and stage managers.

You could also work in fashion design, event coordinating, arts administration, civic leadership, graphic design, or managerial positions.

Our program also prepares you to enter graduate programs.

What have alumni of this program done?
  • Tony Stratton '12 is a professional actor in Chicago.
  • Abby Van Gerpen '10 earned a master's degree in Christian Ministry and Discipleship, works a day job for Enterprise Holdings, and performs professionally in the Quad Cities.
  • Aaron Randolph III '02, '10 is a strong presence in the Quad Cities theatre scene. He is founder of the Quad City Theatre Workshop and was the 2016 recipient of the Quad City Arts Lloyd Schoeneman Community Impact Award for Outstanding Artist in performing arts.
  • Hannah Donovan '18 works in Chicago in stage management.
  • Daniel Sheridan '05 is the Performing Arts Supervisor for Davenport Parks and Recreation and the Artistic Director of Davenport Junior Theatre. He was a founding member of the QC Theatre Workshop.
  • Eric Behnke '04 tours the country as an Automation Carpenter for the North American tour of "Dreamgirls."
Faculty and Staff

Dan Rairdin-Hale, MFA, Chair and Assoc. Professor

Terri Buesing-Flynn, Administrative Assistant
Dianne Dye, Costume Shop Manager
Kris Eitrheim, MFA, Professor
Aaron Hook, Technical Director
Cory Johnson, PhD, Professor

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Arts in Theater (44 credits)

Required:
+THTR 105 Beginning Acting: Voice and Body, 3 credits
+THTR 202 Survey of Theatre, 3 credits
+THTR 209 Stagecraft, 3 credits
THTR 215 Introduction to Design for the Theatre, 3 credits
+WI-THTR 218 Introduction to Script Analysis, 3 credits
+THTR 304 Theatre History I: to 1642 3 credits
+THTR 305 Theatre History II: 1642 to Present 3 credits
THRE 312 Directing, 3 credits
+WI-THTR 315 Survey of Classic Dramatic Lit OR +WI-THTR 316 Survey of Current Dramatic Lit, both 3 credits
THTR 380 Junior Seminar, 1 credit
THTR 480 Senior Seminar, 1 credit

Choose:
15 credits of theatre electives

Plan to Graduate

This is the suggested plan of study to graduate in four years with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre. This plan assumes the student has not taken three years of foreign language in high school.

Year 1 - Fall

CreditsCourseOffered
3 +THTR 215A Intro to Design in the Theatre F
3 +THTR 105 Beginning Acting: Voice and Body F, S
3 Quantitative Reasoning (CSCI 140, 281, MATH 131 or higher, STAT 213, STBE 137)              F, S
3 ENGL 101 English Composition
Prerequisite: Writing placement
F, S
3 PHIL 100-200 level F, S
1 NSS 101 New Student Seminar F
16 Total Credits             

Year 1 - Spring

CreditsCourseOffered
3 +THTR 218 Intro to Script Analysis S
3 +THTR 202 Survey of Theatre F, S
3 Oral Communication (COMM 129, 132, 203, 228 or 329) F, S
3 +THTR 209 Stagecraft F, S
1 IL 101 Information Literacy F, S
1 +KIN 149 Wellness Concepts F, S
1-2 KIN fitness F, S
15-16 Total Credits

Year 2 - Fall

CreditsCoursesOffered
3 +THTR 304 Theatre History I OR +THTR History II F (alternating)
3 THEO 100-200 level F,S
3 PHIL/THEO F, S
3 Social science F, S
3 Foreign language 101 F, S
1 THTR 390 Theatre Practicum* F, S
16 Total Credits

Year 2 - Spring

CreditsCoursesOffered
6 THTR Electives S
3 Foreign language 102 Prerequisite: Foreign Language 101 F, S
3 Natural Science F, S
3 300-level Elective F, S
1 THTR 390 Theatre Practicum* F, S
16 Total Credits

Year 3 - Fall

CreditsCoursesOffered
3 +THTR 304 Theatre History I OR +THTR History II F (alternating)
3 THTR 312 Directing
Prerequisite: THTR 105
F
3 Humanities (other than THTR) F, S
3 300-level Elective F, S
3 Elective F, S
1 THTR 390 Theatre Practicum*
16 Total Credits

Year 3 - Spring

CreditsCoursesOffered
1 THTR 380: Junior Seminar S
3 THTR Elective 300-level F, S
3 300-level Philosophy/Theology F, S
9 Electives F, S
16 Total Credits

Year 4 - Fall

CreditsCoursesOffered
1 THTR 480 Senior Seminar F
3 THTR 315 OR THTR 316 Survey of Classic (or Current) Dramatic Literature F
3 300-level Elective F, S
9 Electives F, S
16 Total Credits

Year 4 - Spring

CreditsCoursesOffered
3 THTR Elective 300-level S
3 THTR Elective S
9 Electives F, S
15 Total Credits

*Theatre Practicum may be taken for 0-1 credit. Majors must take theatre practicum at least 3 times to graduate. No more than 3 credits of Theatre Practicum can be applied to the 120 credits required for graduation.

Minor in Theatre (17 credits)

Required:
+THTR 105 Beginning Acting: Voice and Body, 3 credits
+THTR 202 Survey of Theatre, 3 credits
+THTR 209 Stagecraft, 3 credits
+WI-THTR 218 Introduction to Script Analysis, 3 credits
+THTR 304 Theatre History I: to 1642, 3 credits
THTR 380 Junior Seminar, 1 credit
THTR 480 Senior Seminar, 1 credit

Choose:
3 credits of theatre electives

Secondary Speech and Theatre Teaching Major [7-12] (38 credits)

Required:
+COMM 203 Interpersonal Communication, 3 credits
+COMM 228 Argumentation and Advocacy, 3 credits
+COMM 232 Media and Society, 3 credits
COMM 325 Introduction to Speech Pathology, 3 credits
+COMM 329 Business and Professional Speaking, 3 credits
EDUC 345 Teaching Speech and Theater in the Secondary School, 1 credit
+THTR 105 Beginning Acting: Voice and Body, 3 credits
+THTR 202 Survey of the Theatre, 3 credits
+THTR 209 Stagecraft, 3 credits
THTR 215 Introduction to Design for the Theatre, 3 credits
+WI-THTR 218 Introduction to Script Analysis, 3 credits
THTR 304 Theatre History I: to 1642, 3 credits
THTR 305 Theatre History II: 1642 to Present, 3 credits
THTR 312 Directing, 3 credits
THTR 380 Junior Seminar, 1 credit
THTR 480 Senior Seminar, 1 credit

For education courses required for a teaching major see Education Department section.

+ = Applicable toward general education degree requirements
WI = Writing intensive course

Click here to read Theatre course descriptions in the online course catalog


Tyson Danner

Bachelor of Arts in Music ,Community Arts Director, Quad City Arts; and Artistic Director, QC Theatre Workshop,Class of 2007


One of the best decisions Tyson ever made was transferring from a large state school to SAU. As an Ambrosian, it was easy to get involved and explore his creativity, grow his skills, and benefit from the close guidance of faculty and peers. At SAU, Tyson found his way.

See My Story

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Contact


Daniel Rairdin-Hale, Associate Professor and Chair

Theatre
Galvin Fine Arts Center 43
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803
563-333-6390
HaleDanielK@sau.edu

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 29 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!