Artistic. Educational. Theatre arts promotes self-expression, discovery, and appreciation. Our theatre arts majors are more than actors in plays — they are members of the company in charge of props, stage concept and design, costume design, sound, direction, and more. 

As a theatre arts major at Parkside, you are part of all the meticulous preparation that goes into bringing art to life in attempts to share a story full of emotion, a living breathing representation of cultural conflicts or metaphors for human struggle and passion. The dynamic world of theatre arts is what you make it, and the possibilities are endless.

An award winning program that produces high-quality productions, Theatre Arts at Parkside is a shining gem of the cultural arts in southeastern Wisconsin. 

Theatre arts majors at Parkside are immersed in a rich curriculum that studies all the aspects of the theatrical arts including history and criticism, dramatic literature, performance, directing, design, and technical production. You are taught by faculty that share a deep passion in the field and are dedicated to helping students like you experience it all.


You have the option to graduate with a traditional liberal arts theatre degree or a professional training degree (comparable to B.F.A. programs at similar institutions) with a concentration.

Deepen your knowledge and experience by participating in upper-level performance courses, exclusive professional workshops, and exciting theatre productions. Build a strong resume with meaningful credits before graduation to prepare for a successful career in the arts.  

Explore the techniques, theories, and artistry of directing for the stage through advanced coursework, collaborative hands-on production opportunities, and individualized student-directed projects. 

Design and Technology
Engage with cutting-edge technology in state-of-the-art facilities with dedicated mentorship from professional theatre artists who will foster your talent and further your expertise in any or several of these areas: 

  • Scenic Design 
  • Costume Design 
  • Lighting Design 
  • Hair & Makeup Design 
  • Sound Design 
  • Projection Design 
  • Prop Design 
  • Costume Crafts 
  • Scene Painting 
  • Technical Construction 

Stage Management
Develop the necessary skills and techniques to become an accomplished stage manager through in-depth training based on current professional standards, leadership positions in mainstage and studio productions, and arts management education.  

Musical Theatre 
Strengthen your status as a triple threat by engaging in acting, applied voice and music analysis, and musical theatre dance training while applying skills in theatre productions. Engage in showcase and master class opportunities. Cultivate a strong and diverse resume before graduation to prepare for a career in musical theatre.   

A University of Wisconsin Parkside Signature Program

Auditions or interviews are required for entry into the Theatre Arts major. You can choose to attend in-person, or you may submit your program entry audition/portfolio materials online.

This is more than an occasion to demonstrate your theatrical talent; you'll also make connections with theatre faculty, qualify for talent scholarships, and share details about future goals and expectations. 

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Parkside has many great talent and academic scholarship opportunities for theatre arts majors. Your application for admission acts as your initial application for Parkside scholarships and grants. Be sure to indicate your intended major on your application. Once you have been admitted, we may request additional information via email. To be eligible, you must be admitted to the university by February 1.

Here are a few of the scholarships available for new students:

  • S.T.A.G.E. Club Theatre Arts Talent Scholarships
  • Julius and Alice Goldstein Scholarship
  • Donald C. Cress Award
  • August Wegner III Memorial Music Scholarship
  • Picken Scholarships

Newly admitted students who will study an arts or humanities major are eligible to compete for special scholarships at Arts and Humanities Scholarship Day.

Learn more:  Arts and Humanities Scholarship Day  |  Parkside Scholarships

Drama Club 
Drama Club promotes the importance of theatre arts within our surrounding communities. Learn more about Student Organizations.

Mentor Program 
We partner successful returning theatre company members with new theatre majors, both traditional freshmen and transfer students, in order to help them have a smooth transition into Parkside, the Theatre Arts Department, and the many academic, artistic, and company expectations of the university and the professional theatre training company.

Professional Theatre Internships 
Many of our students intern, apprentice, or are employed in the professional theatre prior to graduation. We have established invaluable professional theatre partnerships with the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theater, American Players Theatre, the Fireside Theatre, and many other theatres across the nation. Each year professional companies come to Parkside to hold auditions and interviews because of our reputation. 

Professional Theatre Exposure
Each semester we take all of our students to see professional theatre productions in Milwaukee or Chicago and integrate those productions into our courses.

Professional Experience While at Parkside 
Students at Parkside are given a direct connection to employment at the Fireside Dinner Theatre in Fort Atkinson, WI.

Professional Talent Reviews 
Once a year, Parkside theatre students go through a process called talent reviews. Professional actors, directors, designers, stage managers, and casting directors come to Parkside to conduct a mock interview and give feedback to each student.

Regents' Award
Parkside's Theatre Arts Department was awarded the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents' "Teaching Excellence Award for Outstanding Academic Program." We are the only fine arts department in the state to ever win this award.

Regional Awards of Merit
In the area of artistic quality, our theatrical productions have received over 100 "Regional Awards of Merit" from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

We are active members of the United Stated Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). Additional affiliations include Alliance for Wisconsin Theatre Education (AWTE), Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD), Wisconsin High Education Theatre Council (WHETC), Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) and United Scenic Artists (USA)

Learn more about the awards garnered by our program.

The theatre program at Parkside includes a comprehensive study in all aspects of theater, opportunities for professional concentrations, practical experience professional production, extensive internship opportunities, and a solid background in the liberal arts. Our primary goal is to help you achieve your highest personal potential – academically, artistically, personally, and socially.

A recent graduating class had a 100% placement rate in the entertainment industry within two weeks of graduation! Overall, our average placement rate is an amazing 92% in the industry or grad school. The other 8% of our graduates are well prepared for the work force, with highly-sought 21st century skills, and are employed outside the entertainment field.

  • Actor
  • Artistic Director
  • Box Office Manager
  • Business Manager
  • Choreographer
  • Costume Designer
  • Costume Shop Supervisor
  • Costume Shop Technician
  • Drama Coach
  • Dramaturge
  • Director
  • Fight Director
  • House Manager
  • Lighting Designer
  • Make-up Artist
  • Master Carpenter
  • Master Electrician
  • Musical Director
  • Playwright
  • Producer
  • Production Manager
  • Pyrotechnician
  • Recording Engineer
  • Rigger
  • Scenic Designer
  • Scenic Painter
  • Sound Designer
  • Special Effects Designer
  • Stage Crew
  • Stage Manager
  • Technical Director
  • Technician
  • Theatre Consultant
  • Theatre Critic
  • Theatre Teacher/Educator
  • Vocal Coach

See what our students have to say.


Rachael Swartz  |


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