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Theatre

Available as a major or minor

Our program provides a broad engagement with theatre, from technical expertise and performance to dramaturgy and writing. We offer courses in acting, design, theatre history, musical theatre, directing and playwriting, giving students an opportunity to experience the full range of the theatrical medium. Theatre Roanoke College (TRC), our production arm of the program, produces three mainstage productions per year, ranging from classics such as "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to contemporary musicals such as "Into the Woods," and everything in between. 

Curriculum & Courses

THEA112 Acting I: Learn the basics of acting, from scene work and monologues to preparation skills and analysis
THEA125 Stagecraft: How to do everything in the shop like wiring a light and using power tools to put a set together
THEA330 Modern Drama: Read and analyze the masters of Realism, Naturalism, Absurdism, Epic Theatre and Surrealism

Emy Hampton '25 and Kennedy Swineford '26 in The Importance of Being Earnest

Learn By Doing

students work on set backstage

Students work on all of our shows both onstage and offstage. Our technical theatre students help build all the sets, hang all the lights, build/fix costumes and run the entire backstage during production.

student does a student performer's hair and makeup

Students work on all of our shows both onstage and offstage. Our technical theatre students help build all the sets, hang all the lights, build/fix costumes and run the entire backstage during production.

student works on a costume

Students work on all of our shows both onstage and offstage. Our technical theatre students help build all the sets, hang all the lights, build/fix costumes and run the entire backstage during production.

students build wooden set

Students work on all of our shows both onstage and offstage. Our technical theatre students help build all the sets, hang all the lights, build/fix costumes and run the entire backstage during production.

dog sits among theater lights

Students work on all of our shows both onstage and offstage. Our technical theatre students help build all the sets, hang all the lights, build/fix costumes and run the entire backstage during production.

In our tight-knit theatre program, you’ll get hands-on experience right away. Everything we do is student-built, and even as a freshman, you’ll have free rein to build a world on stage.

Roanoke regularly brings to campus outstanding artists-in-residence who both perform on stage and work closely with theatre students on an extended basis. Recent residencies include Doug Berky, Louis Colaianni, The New Yorkers and the American Shakespeare Center.  

Students posing at a train station

Students explore the collaborative arts that produce new theatre in England.

Students posing next to statues

Students explore the collaborative arts that produce new theatre in England.

Students in a tunnel underground

Students explore the collaborative arts that produce new theatre in England.

Students with actors at a theater

Students explore the collaborative arts that produce new theatre in England.

Students playing acting games

Students explore the collaborative arts that produce new theatre in England.

Students on a street in England

Students explore the collaborative arts that produce new theatre in England.

Students on a bridge in England

Students explore the collaborative arts that produce new theatre in England.

Students in front of a large building in England

Students explore the collaborative arts that produce new theatre in England.

Our Productions

Students on stage performing The Trickeries of Scapin

Students in the Theatre Roanoke College production of "The Trickeries of Scapin" by Molière.

Student actors in The Trickeries of Scapin

Students in the Theatre Roanoke College production of "The Trickeries of Scapin" by Molière.

Student actors in The Trickeries of Scapin

Students in the Theatre Roanoke College production of "The Trickeries of Scapin" by Molière.

Students acting in The Trickeries of Scapin

Students in the Theatre Roanoke College production of "The Trickeries of Scapin" by Molière.

Students acting in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Students in the Theatre Roanoke College production of "The Trickeries of Scapin" by Molière.

Student acting in The Trickeries of Scapin

Students in the Theatre Roanoke College production of "The Trickeries of Scapin" by Molière.

Students acting in The Trickeries of Scapin

Students in the Theatre Roanoke College production of "The Trickeries of Scapin" by Molière.

Students acting in The Trickeries of Scapin

Students in the Theatre Roanoke College production of "The Trickeries of Scapin" by Molière.

Students acting in The Trickeries of Scapin

Students in the Theatre Roanoke College production of "The Trickeries of Scapin" by Molière.

Students acting in The Trickeries of Scapin

Students in the Theatre Roanoke College production of "The Trickeries of Scapin" by Molière.

Student actor in The Trickeries of Scapin

Students in the Theatre Roanoke College production of "The Trickeries of Scapin" by Molière.

Student acting in The Trickeries of Scapin

Students in the Theatre Roanoke College production of "The Trickeries of Scapin" by Molière.

Small casts, more connection. Hear directly from the students who worked together to put on playwright Annie Baker's award-winning "Circle Mirror Transformation."

Careers & Outcomes

Adeline Huggins

Treading the boards abroad: Adeline Huggins ’20 specialized in dramaturgy and performance while majoring in theatre at Roanoke College. After graduation, she went on to London to earn her MFA in Advanced Theatre Practice at the Royal Central School for Speech and Drama. Huggins has since co-founded a devised theatre company, The AMBERSAND Collective, alongside three fellow students from her MFA program and performed at the Form(at) Festival in Camden as well as been invited to submit for the Brighton Fringe festival. Her theatre company’s show, “IDLE: What Next?,” premiered onstage at Camden People’s Theatre. Recently, Huggins also started work on a dissertation project. “I owe a ton of credit to Roanoke and my professors,” she said. “They helped me get to this point and realize this is something I’m passionate about.”

Lane Kinsley

Setting the stage for successful careers: Lane Kinsley ’21 came to Roanoke College thinking he would be an actor but quickly discovered a passion for technical theatre. He worked in the scene shop for all four of his years on campus and had a hand in every show mounted during that time. Kinsley now works as a stage carpenter at the historic Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, undertaking the complex work of building the physical world of a show both for home productions and for tours. Kinsley’s career has also taken him onto film sets and to the Virginia Repertory Theatre in Richmond.

Rupert

Directing the next generation of storytellers: Sarah Jane Ruppert ’22 performed in seven shows during her time at Roanoke College, earning four nominations for excellence in acting at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. But her greatest passion is teaching theatre, which she used when she completed an Honors thesis on instilling confidence and interpersonal skills in middle school students. Ruppert went on to run a workshop at Blacksburg Middle School and was invited to share her work with the Southeastern Theatre Conference that serves theatre professionals across 10 states. More recently, Ruppert has been teaching theatre at Cave Spring Middle School and Cave Spring High School in Roanoke County. In her first semester, she led her students in a production that became a regional finalist in the Virginia High School League Theatre competition. Her students claimed first place in the sub-region contest and second place at the regionals.

Logos of Nashville Repertory Theatre, Paramount, The Fund for the Public Interest, Barter Theatre, and Virginia Repertory

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Theatre encourages active learning through a mixture of practical work in theatrical production and classroom exercises, putting theory into practice.

Theatre Roanoke College (TRC) supports student-led productions in our Studio Theatre, and we've also collaborated with various community groups on site-specific staged readings of plays with a focus on social justice, religious belief and quantum physics, among other topics.

Thanks to our instructors' extensive professional experience and the rigor of our program, TRC has a strong record of employment within the field for our alumni. Our graduates have gone on to work as actors, stage managers, designers, technicians, production managers and teachers.

TRC alumni also score jobs in other fields, such as accounting for theatre companies, after-school programming for children, and both onscreen and behind-the-scenes work in television, film and/or commercials. Additionally, several alumni have gone on to graduate school at prestigious institutions such as the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (London), Texas Tech University and the New School for Acting and Drama (NYC).

We offer both a major and a minor in theatre.  

Explore our campus now! Take a look at Olin Hall, where our program is housed, in our virtual tour below.

Launch Olin Hall