Program Details

Program of Study

The WIU Department of Theatre and Dance offers a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, a liberal arts degree with options in performance and production/design. The 120 semester hour (sh) BA in theatre provides a well-rounded core of theatre courses in acting, stagecraft, theatre history, dramatic literature and theatre design and technology, as well as upper-level study in the option specialties. BA students also take a minor, general education courses and electives. No audition or interview is required for admittance to the program. The BA in theatre is a GradTrac program.

Performance and Production Opportunities

Western is highly regarded for ambitious theatre and dance programs, offering a vast array of performance and production opportunities. University Theatre and University Dance Theatre produce six mainstage theatre productions and the Winter Faculty DanceWorks and Spring Gala Dance Concerts every season. Additional opportunities to perform and work behind the scenes designing, building and crewing productions are available through the very active studio production season, which presents 10-12 shows each year. There are also other performance opportunities in dance during the academic year.

Exciting Facts About Theatre and Dance at Western

  • The curriculum offers multiple levels of acting, voice, movement, acting for the camera, costume, scenic and lighting design, theatre practice and a three-part survey of World Theatre History.
  • Dance courses are offered in ballet, jazz, tap, modern dance, composition, dance history, improvisation and musical theatre dance.
  • There is a strong stage combat program at Western. Students can take numerous courses in combat and earn certification in armed and unarmed combat. We have one of the best theatre armories in the country.
  • BYOP (Bring Your Own Play), Western’s own ten-minute playwriting festival. Numerous BYOP playwrights have gone on to win national awards and international productions.
  • The department has gained national recognition for its students’ performances and presentations at the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival and the American College Dance Festival.
  • Students in the musical theatre BFA program receive singing training from teachers who are trained in both Classical and Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) vocal techniques, including specialists in belt voice and Somatic Voicework℠, the Lovetri Method. The BFA musical theatre degree program is one of Western’s Signature Academic Programs.


The theatre and dance facilities include three theatres, well-appointed shops, acting studios, dance studios and classrooms, including the following:

Hainline Theatre is a 387-seat proscenium theatre for mainstage and dance productions.

Horrabin Theatre is a 161-seat thrust stage for mainstage productions.

Simpkins Hall Theatre is a flexible space, which changes configuration every semester for studio productions.

Brophy Dance Studio is a spacious dance studio with a Rosco sprung floor and marly surface.

All of the theatres have up-to-date computerized lighting and sound equipment. The scene and costume shops are well-equipped and staffed by professional personnel. The theatre and dance department’s classrooms are located in Sallee and Simpkins Halls. The department has its own computer CAD lab.

Jeff Young

Possible Careers in Theatre and Dance

Theatre students make OUTSTANDING employees for their wide range of abilities, such as creative problem solving, time management, performance and public speaking, professionalism, attention detail, motivation, commitment, collaboration and teamwork, self-confidence, to name a few! They are well prepared to enter careers in:

  • Professional Acting and Directing
  • Theatre Management/Arts Management
  • Stage Management
  • Designing
    • Costumes
    • Lighting
    • Scenery
    • Sound
    • Projections
  • Teaching
    • Acting
    • Directing
    • Design
  • Public Relations
  • Graphic Design
  • Communication
  • Foundation/Development
Michael Boatman

Accomplished Alumni

The WIU Department of Theatre and Dance has alumni who have won Joseph Jefferson Awards for acting and design in Chicago, Kevin Kline Awards for acting in St. Louis and Emmy Awards for their work in television. Former Western students have appeared in Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, major motion pictures, television series, commercials, outdoor dramas and regional theatre.

Former Western theatre students have designed sets for local, regional and network television shows; and they work as technical directors, designers, dressers, technicians and stage managers around the world.

Dance students have worked professionally for the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, Alabama Contemporary Dance, Philadanco and the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company.

Corporations that have hired Western students include Paramount Pictures; Walt Disney Productions; the Goodman and Steppenwolf Theatres in Chicago; the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; the Folger Theatre in the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.; the Public Theater in New York; the Alabama, Wisconsin and Georgia Shakespeare Festivals; Spielberg Productions; and NBC, Nickelodeon, CBS, Showtime, HBO, PBS, WGN and ABC television networks.

Please refer to the undergraduate catalog for detailed program information and course desriptions.

Bachelor of Arts—Theatre

All students seeking the Bachelor of Arts in Theatre must complete I, II, and III.A, III.B, or III.C below, and the foreign language/global issues requirement for the major#. The minimum semester hour requirement for the baccalaureate degree is 120 s.h.

  1. University General Education Curriculum: 43 s.h.
  2. Core Courses: 28 s.h.
    THEA 100, 101*, 150, 151, 172*, 251, 321, 381, 390, 391†, 392
  3. Options of Study (Select A or B)
    1. Performance
      1. Special Courses: 10 s.h.
        1. THEA 170 and 171: 4 s.h.
        2. Either THEA 145 or 165: 3 s.h.
        3. Either THEA 311 or 382: 3 s.h.
      2. Directed Electives: 9 s.h.
        Select a minimum of 9 s.h. of THEA courses
      3. Minor: 16–24 s.h.
      4. Open Electives: 9–17 s.h.
    2. Production/Design
      1. Special Courses: 9 s.h.
        1. THEA 350, 450, and 451: 6 s.h.
        2. Either THEA 145 or 165: 3 s.h.
      2. Directed Electives: 10 s.h.
        Select a minimum of 10 s.h. of THEA courses
      3. Minor: 16–24 s.h.
      4. Open Electives: 9–17 s.h.

# The foreign language/global issues graduation requirement may be fulfilled by successfully completing one of the following: 1) a designated foreign language requirement [see Foreign Language/Global Issues Requirement]; 2) a General Education global issues course; 3) THEA 390; or 4) an approved Study Abroad program.

* May count toward the University General Education requirement.

† THEA 391 fulfills the Writing Instruction in the Disciplines (WID) graduation requirement.


Department of Theatre and Dance

Ms. Tammy L. Killian, Chairperson
Location: 101 Browne Hall
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390
Phone: (309) 298-1543
Fax: (309) 298-2695

Theatre and Dance Website
Faculty and Staff Directory

College of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC)

Mr. William Clow, Dean
COFAC Email:
Location: Browne Hall 115
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390
Phone: (309) 298-1618

COFAC Website

Bachelor of Arts Advisors

Carolyn Blackinton
Associate Professor
Office Location: 108 Browne Hall
Telephone: (309) 298-1713

Jeannie Woods
Office Location: 102A Browne Hall
Telephone: (309) 298-2995

Sharon Evans
Interim Chairperson and Professor
Office Location: 101 Browne Hall
Telephone:(309) 298-1543