The Northwest Difference
Northwest’s technical theatre and design major is an interdisciplinary program that provides multiple hands-on opportunities to students, beginning with the first trimester of their freshman year. Students perform four mainstage productions as well as four to six student-directed productions each year. Additionally, students have access to professional-level control councils, intelligent lighting fixtures and cutting-edge LED and color-changing equipment.
Northwest professors focus on producing employable graduates and preparing students for advanced education. In addition to hands-on opportunities available to technical theatre and design majors, faculty help prepare resumes, cover letters and portfolio monologues for each performance.
Minor in Theatre
A minor in theatre teaches students the fundamentals of directing, technical skills in scenery, costumes and electrics, theatre design and history of theatre. After taking the required courses, students can customize their minor from a list of approved electives. For a list of required courses, visit the academic catalog. This minor requires the completion of 24 credit hours.
100% of students who graduate with a degree in theatre technical design find employment or continue their education within six months of graduation. Jobs and professions related to this major include:
- Lighting designer
- Production assistant
- Stage set management
- Technical director
- Theatre electric apprentice
Profession-Based Learning Experiences
The theatre production program, Theatre Northwest, typically produces more than a dozen shows each year. These productions include a freshman mainstage production, two additional mainstage shows, touring shows and up to eight second stage and studio shows. Students get the opportunity to perform, design and direct early and often. Recent productions include Legally Blonde The Musical, The World of Carl Sandburg, Reckless, Alice in Wonderland, Death Comes for Jesse James and Barefoot in the Park.
As part of the Freshmen-Transfer Showcase, all first-year students at Northwest Missouri State University have a unique opportunity to participate in a mainstage production in their first trimester on campus.
Lab Series Productions allows students can propose, perform in, design and direct lab series shows. Recent productions have included one-act plays, full-length plays, original scripts and experimental theatre productions
The Ron Houston Center for Performing Arts is home to three performance venues: the Mary Linn Auditorium, Black Box Theatre and the Studio Theatre.
The Mary Linn Auditorium seats 1,022, includes two sound booths, a large scene shop, several dressing rooms, a green room, costume shop, prop rooms and wardrobe areas.
The Black Box Theatre is located directly below the Mary Linn Auditorium and is used for innovative and experimental productions, classroom activities and lab series performances.
The Studio Theatre is a 5,500-square-foot performance drama laboratory that contains state-of-the-art technology.
Open to any student interested in theatre, University Players produces up to eight plays per year that are performed, designed and directed by Northwest students. The organization also conducts different workshops to benefit the actor. Past workshops include: puppetry, musical theatre and classical acting. University Players also goes to professional theaters to see different shows.
Alpha Psi Omega is the University’s national honor society for students majoring in theatre. During the winter break, members create a touring show and perform 10-12 shows per week at surrounding elementary schools.
Although internships are not required, they are highly encouraged to ensure students are career-ready at graduation. Students have recently interned at the following locations:
- McCleod Summer Playhouse
- Shawnee Mission Theatre
- Kansas City Starlight Theatre
Study Abroad is an opportunity for students to apply hands-on international experience to their own academic development. Faculty members supervise short-term study abroad programs that prepare students before, during and after the program. Two types of study abroad programs are available – faculty-led and traditional study abroad.
The traditional program can be a semester, summer or year-long program and is taught by Northwest’s international partner institutions.