THEATRE ARTS Major
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.
Learn more and view production photos from the Theatre Arts Department at Parkside.
Program Entry Auditions and Interviews
Auditions or interviews are required for entry into the Theatre Arts major. Auditions and interviews are held on scheduled dates throughout the academic year. Your audition/interview day is more than an occasion to demonstrate your theatrical talent; you'll also meet theatre students and faculty, attend free productions, qualify for talent scholarships, and share important details about past experience and future goals and expectations.
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.
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 in the areas of acting, design and technology, or direction and management.
Learning in Action
Drama Club promotes the importance of theatre arts within our surrounding communities. Learn more on our Campus Connect page.
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.
Awards and Associations
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)
Careers After Parkside
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 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.
- Artistic Director
- Box Office Manager
- Business Manager
- Costume Designer
- Costume Shop Supervisor
- Costume Shop Technician
- Drama Coach
- Fight Director
- House Manager
- Lighting Designer
- Make-up Artist
- Master Carpenter
- Master Electrician
- Musical Director
- Production Manager
- Recording Engineer
- Scenic Designer
- Scenic Painter
- Sound Designer
- Special Effects Designer
- Stage Crew
- Stage Manager
- Technical Director
- Theatre Consultant
- Theatre Critic
- Theatre Teacher/Educator
- Vocal Coach
See what our students have to say.
Misti is thrilled to be a part of the UW-Parkside Theatre Arts Company as a professional artist/educator. Misti is a member of the United Scenic Artist, Local 829 out of NYC and has extensive professional design and academic theatre experience, and has recently taught courses in costume design and construction, make up and wig/hair design, theatre crafts and properties, and theatre appreciation. Her professional design credits include Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, PCPA Theaterfest, Michigan Shakespeare Festival, The Pacific Repertory Opera, Summer Repretory Theatre, and the Nebraska Repertory Theatre to name a few. Misti has also been a costume crafts artisan for regional theaters such as American Players Theatre, PCPA Theaterfest, and Summer Rep Theatre (Santa Rosa, CA) She has also received a number of national and regional design awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and has also been nominated for the Stella Gray Teaching award here at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
Assistant Professor and Head of Acting
Brian J. Gill is a member of the Theatre Arts Faculty serving as an Assistant Professor of Performance and Head of Acting. He has been a professional stage actor for over 20 years, appearing at such theaters as Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Renaissance Theaterworks, First Stage Children’s Theatre, goats & monkeys (co-founder and company member) and Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. Chicago credits include: Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Victory Gardens, Shakespeare Project of Chicago, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, Provision Theater, Apple Tree Theatre and Famous Door; Regionally Brian has performed at Theatre at the Center, the Illinois and Texas Shakespeare Festivals, Allenberry Playhouse, and the historic Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC. He is also the narrator of over three-dozen audio books. Brian trained at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London as a member of the First International Artistic Fellowship, training and performing with Mike Alfreds and Mark Rylance. He received his M.F.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. Parkside Theatre directing credits include Book of Days, Hedda Gabler, A Streetcar Named Desire and Don Juan. He a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association.
Since graduating with an honors BA in Performing Arts Jennifer has directed and choreographed approximately fifty productions; performed in just over half that; recorded vocal tracks for various albums, written several plays and musicals; and taught hundreds of teenagers and college students how to be stronger performers. From 1997-2002 Jennifer was the artistic director of the Philadelphia based theater company The New Mermaid. In May of 2009, she graduated from the Florida State University School of Theatre with an MFA in Directing. After graduating she served on the Board of Directors for The Actor's Center in Washington DC. She then spent two years as as Guest Artist Teacher at Troy University in Troy, Alabama. Now, in addition to her work at Parkside, Jennifer is also the co-artistic director of the Vermont-based summer theater company the Moxie Theater Project.
Jody Sekas is the Associate Professor of Scenic/Lighting Design & Technology at UW-Parkside. He came to Parkside from Humboldt State University, CA where he taught courses in scenic design, scene painting, technical production, properties design, theatre history, and CAD and computer rendering. Prior to Humboldt, Sekas was Assistant Professor and Scenic & Lighting Designer for the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire and for four seasons was the resident scenic and lighting designer for the Sioux Falls Community Playhouse in South Dakota. In addition to his resident design and collegial experience, Sekas has worked as a freelance designer and technician for such venues as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, First Stage Children's Theatre, North Coast Repertory Theatre, Dell’Arte International, Omaha Theatre Company for Young People, Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild, Eau Claire Children's Theatre, Ferndale Repertory Theatre, The Western Stage, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and on several recent independent films. Sekas received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Technical Theatre from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Scenic Design and Technical Direction from Humboldt State University.