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Northwest Missouri State University



The Northwest Difference

The theater major combines the knowledge from both theatre performance and technical theater as well as design majors. Faculty focus ensuring students have access to participate in the four mainstage productions as well as four to six student-directed productions per year. Additionally, students have access to professional-level control councils, intelligent lighting fixtures and cutting-edge LED and color changing equipment. Students also learn the fundamentals of modern acting techniques, a range of historical and physical styles to include Greek, Elizabethan, restoration and 20th century “isms”, and writing skills for the stage through scene structure, dramatic tension, theme, action and dialogue.

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.

Career Opportunities

placement rate

100% of students who graduate with a degree in theatre 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
  • Actor
  • Teacher
  • Playwright
  • Director
  • Stage manager
  • Designers
  • Technician

*Based on self-reported data.

Career ready. Day One.

Northwest ensures students are career ready, day one through internships, field experiences and networking opportunities. Read Bree's story »

Bree is Career ready. Day One.

Profession-Based Learning Experiences

Theatre Performances

The theatre production program, Theatre Northwest, typically produces more than a dozen shows each year. These productions include a freshman mainstage production, two other 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.

Theatre Technical Design

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

Learning Resources

Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts

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.

Black Box Theatre

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.

Student Organizations

University Players

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.

Comedy Inc. specializes in improvisation, sketch comedy, comedic performance and stand-up comedy. Students learn skills in improv acting and various forms of comedic writing. Members perform several shows per year like holiday-themed shows, a Lip Sync tournament, culminating show at the end of the semester. Comedy Inc. teaches members to think on their feet, build confidence, work as a team and develop a welcoming atmosphere for all who wish to join. Membership is open to the University community.

Alpha Psi Omega is the national theatre honor society. Activities for the Kappa Sigma cast include providing meals to cast and crew for Mainstage productions, producing a children’s show that tours to local elementary schools and producing and organizing the yearly departmental awards banquet. Membership is by invitation.

For a full list of student organizations with in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts »


Although internships are not required, they are highly encouraged to gain hands-on and ensure students are career-ready at graduation.

QuoteThis summer, I worked as the painting intern for the Des Moines Metro Opera. This was my first time working in both repertory theatre and opera. It was a very time consuming, exhausting process, but one of the most rewarding experiences that I have ever had in theatre. I got to work and learn from theatre professionals and add to my resume and portfolio. I feel like this summer really helped me transition from a student Scenic Artist to an early career Studio Artist.Quote

Madison Stinemetz
Omaha, Nebraska

Study Abroad

Study Abroad

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.

For more information about study abroad opportunities »