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Theatre arts

  • Careers/internships
  • About the program
  • What alumni say

Augustana graduates have completed Ph.D. and M.F.A. programs in theatre history, acting, directing, set design, theatre technology,
costume design and lighting design.

Recent Augustana theatre alumni have built successful careers as talent agents, regional theatre performers, television and film actors, independent film producers, lighting designers, sound technicians, directors, stage managers, and teachers at the secondary and college levels.

Some recent graduates:

Ben Web '10 is teaching English and theatre in the Laboratory Schools of Illinois State University.

Macy Marie Hernandez '13 is head speech and drama coach at United Township High School, East Moline, Ill.

Andrew M. Lia '09 is the stage and production manager in Los Angeles.

Augustana offers a major and minor in theatre arts with a choice of emphasis in performance, design and technology, or theatre history and research. Students of all majors, including first-years, may participate onstage or behind the scenes.

Qualified undergraduates often design lighting, scenery or sound for productions and serve as members of the production team, working alongside performance and design faculty. The department's size ensures close mentoring and support. Most classes in theatre arts enroll fewer than 30 students, and upper-division courses often cap at 12. 

The department stages three major productions each year, including a musical in conjunction with Opera @ Augustana, in a season that explores a certain topic or theme. Each main stage plays runs for six performances over two weeks. Theatre majors also produce an annual Festival of Short Plays. Performances span a wide range of genres and historical periods.

Every main stage production involves one or more student dramaturges who work under faculty supervision to inform the audience, cast and crew of information pertinent to the production. While resident dramaturges are common at regional theatres across the country, undergraduate programs in dramaturgical research and writing are rare.

While there is a significant time commitment expected of all students involved in theatre productions, students can and do participate in other activities including choir, band, orchestra, athletics, debate, student government and others.

Each year, the department offers workshops and field trips to professional theatres and conferences at an affordable cost. Extended trips to places like New York City, London or Ontario may become an integral part of the student's experience.

Students may apply for and receive funding to support theatre-related travel and research through the Nancy Salen Mueller Theatre Exploration Award.

Jacquelyn Schmidt '12, theatre arts and English-writing, with minor in art

Copywriter at Sage Products, Cary, Ill.

"When I first came to Augustana, I only took a theatre class because it was something I had done in high school. I soon learned that theatre was one of my passions and that I needed to continue growing as an artist. I also feared that I wouldn't have a solid plan for after graduation. Through my hard work during the past four years, three departments at Sage Products inquired about continuing my internship after I graduate. Also, when I first came to Augustana, I was incredibly shy. The classes I took and the challenges I faced at Augustana have helped me gain the confidence to articulate my ideas. I am now more comfortable talking to managers at work and am able to express my ideas in a professional manner."

Estlin Feigley '93, history, with minor in theatre arts

Creative Director, Dreaming Tree Films, an independent film company, Chicago

"[Without the liberal arts] you can learn the technical skills in filmmaking, but to tell a story you have to have a broader knowledge base. You have to have something to say and talk about."

Philip McKinley '73, theatre arts, English, education, art and music

Broadway theatre director  

"The mentoring and guidance I received from the faculty and the staff while attending Augustana College reinforced my passion to pursue my career aspirations and my life's ambitions. Augustana provided me with a true liberal arts education and background, and there is no value you can put on it. It is priceless."

Michelle Crouch will direct Opera@Augustana

Dr. Michelle Crouch will direct Opera@Augustana beginning this season.She replaces Dr. John Pfautz, who founded Opera@Augustana in 1987. He is assuming the role of division chair, overseeing all fine and performing arts at Augustana. "Undergraduate opera is an excellent way to help students further vocal development while also challenging them to pursue larger roles and overall goals individually," she said.

'The Passion of Dracula' begins season in October

"The Passion of Dracula," mixing romance, classic gothic drama and comedy, will begin the Augustana theatre season Oct. 17-19 and 24-26.

10 ways being a theatre major prepared me for success

Like many people, I am no where near the waypoint on life’s road I envisioned I’d be back in college. Almost 20 years as a business consultant and now a business owner with a modestly successful track record in my business and blogging, I realize how much being a theatre major set me on the road towards success.

Genesius Guild, Opera @ Augustana to present 'Die Fledermaus'

Genesius Guild and Opera @ Augustana will present the Strauss opera, "Die Fledermaus" on June 14, 15, 21 and 22. Admission is free and all shows start at 8 p.m. in Lincoln Park, Rock Island. The performance includes a live orchestra, music and dance.

Festival to spotlight local playwrights

Staged readings of selected plays by local playwrights will be performed by Augustana actors at the 15th Annual Quad City Playwrights’ Festival. Four playwrights are featured in the festival, including Augustana senior Joshua Malone. Their 10-minute plays will be enacted at 7:30 p.m. May 17 in Black Box Theatre, Bergendoff Hall.
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