Theatre encourages active learning through a mixture of practical work in theatrical production and classroom exercises, putting theory into practice.
The 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.
TRC also encourages student-led productions in our Studio Theatre, and we have 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.
TRC has a strong record of employment within the field for our alumni, thanks to our instructors' extensive professional experience in theatre as well as the rigor of our program. Our graduates have gone on to work as actors, stage managers, designers, technicians, production managers, and teachers.
In other fields, TRC alumni work in accounting for theatre companies, after-school programming for children, and work in television/film/commercials (both onscreen and behind the scenes). 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 a major and minor in theatre.
Take a look at Olin Hall, where our program is housed, in our virtual visit below.
Learn by doing 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 reign to build a world on stage.
Circle Mirror Transformation
Theatre Roanoke College's production of the award-winning play, "Circle Mirror Transformation," by Annie Baker.
The Olin Theater stage was named for alumna who led many productions as a student, Crystal Lynn Van Hise ‘95.
In honor of Dr. Lisa Warren's retirement, former students, friends, and other members of the Roanoke College community created the Lisa C. Warren Endowed Student Scholarship in Theatre.
Sample Course Offerings:
- 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
Professor helps stage a career
Meagan Cole's first job out of college was working as a freelance film producer with Trailblazer Studios, the company that films the TV show "Salvage Dawgs." She's also completed productions such as commercials, photography and even a feature film.
"I like creating the story," she said.
Shaping her theatre arts major for a filmmaking career, Professor George Arthur took Cole, who graduated in 2013, under his wing as a scene shop assistant. "He helped me understand the importance of lighting and staging from a hands-on perspective, which are two of my primary duties today," Cole said. "Without his direction, I believe the textbooks alone would not have prepared me for the working world."
Our grads work at great organizations
This past summer, Erin Keating '17 spent three weeks studying everything from acting to play production at Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London through the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission Summer Institute. While studying at the Globe, Keating worked on sword play and learned acting techniques with experts during workshops that taught voice and movement.
"Studying at the Globe was perfectly tailored for me," she said. "I was able to study something I loved and am passionate about."
Cue lightning and thunder…
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 residents include Doug Berky, Louis Colaianni, The New Yorkers and the American Shakespeare Center.