University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Theatre Chair's Letter


"Creativity is a state that allows the imagination to become real... the artist is the bridge between. Theatre artists are also explorers. Bravo the explorers! Are you among them?" — Viola Spolin

Welcome to the Theatre Department at UWM—a place where creativity and innovation comes alive on stage and in our classrooms!

UWM Theatre challenges and supports every student to learn and explore in an artistic, supportive, and collaborative environment.

UWM faculty and staff come from diverse professional and scholarly backgrounds. Together we focus on making theatre happen, bringing professional expertise to the classroom, and building a solid educational foundation for our students.

UWM faculty and staff have broad experience in the non-profit and commercial theatre, including work with many innovative companies and projects, such as:

  • Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespearean Festival
  • Montana Repertory Theatre
  • Spooky Action Theatre
  • Center for Applied Theatre
  • First Stage
  • Skylight Opera
  • Milwaukee Ballet
  • Burning Coal
  • Playwrights Horizons
  • Empire State Youth Theatre
  • LaMama ETC
  • American Players Theatre
  • Shakespeare and Company
  • Milwaukee Repertory Theater
  • Chamber Theatre
  • Peninsula Players
  • Penelope Project
  • Celebration Theatre
  • New England Touring Artist Program
  • Timeslips Project
  • ASETJ
  • Renaissance Theatreworks
  • American Folklore Theatre
  • Houston Shakespeare Festival

Degree Options

The Department offers Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Theatre and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Theatre as well as a degree minor in Theatre. All Theatre degree options are designed to build on the basic theatre skills developed in the required department core.

BA Theatre

The BA is designed to foster learning through socially responsive, educative, applied, and creative theatre practices. It engages students with theatre in multiple settings and cultures where performance occurs--the stage, the classroom, and the community at large. BA majors can elect to apply their study to production and design, educational theater/ teacher certification, or devised/site specific community practice. Theatre Education students graduate with a Wisconsin Teacher #325 license in PK4-12 Theatre Education.

BA Theatre Minor in Creativity and Communication

Because theatre training is extremely relevant to other areas of academic study in the university curriculum it supports communication and innovation. UWM students may earn a Theatre minor, or a Theatre minor with teacher certification. The Theatre Minor is designed to focus on creativity and communication skills within the dramatic and theatrical arts.

BFA Theatre

The BFA in Theatre is an intensive degree program for students seeking pre-professional specialized in-depth study of the following emphasis areas: Acting, Stage Management, Technical Production, or Costume Production. An audition/interview is required for admission.

BFA Degree in Acting provides students with an intensive curriculum focused on the art and craft of acting. BFA Acting students take departmental core courses and then engage in advanced acting, voice and speech, physical movement, contemporary American theatre works, Shakespeare, and make-up courses in an intensive and nurturing environment. BFA Acting students are expected to participate in multiple stage productions.

BFA Degree in Stage Management develops practical management, communication, and technical theatre skills and techniques to successfully manage rehearsals and performances of theatrical and related entertainment events.

BFA Degree in Costume Production teaches the art and craft of creating costumes for the stage, developing students whose skills will place them in some of the best theatre costume shops in the United States, or on the path to higher education in costume design and construction.

BFA Degree in Technical Production provides students with training in many technical areas of production including scenery production, properties production, lighting and sound. Students will be prepared for careers in the professional theatre shops or continued study at the graduate level.

Located in Wisconsin's Largest Theatrical Community

Studying theatre in Milwaukee's urban creative community encourages faculty and students to participate in a thriving diverse arts environment. Not only do UWM students engage in theatre on campus but they also connect their learning to theatre in their community. Milwaukee supports over 25 professional companies (Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Skylight Opera Theatre, Chamber Theatre, Renaissance Theatreworks, Next Act, and First Stage Children's Theatre to name only a few).

Students' learning is also linked to theatre programs in Wisconsin schools and cultural organizations including (but not limited to) Milwaukee County Zoo, Discovery World, Elm Creative Arts School, Milwaukee High School for the Arts, Rufus King IB High School, and Gold Meir School for Gifted and Talented.

Working in close proximity to these exciting programs and institutions gives UWM theatre students employment and internship opportunities not found in any other program. Unique to the UW System, UWM gives immediate access to theatre specialists who work with us to teach, mentor, and hire our students and alumni.

UWM Theatre challenges its students to become 'explorers' by providing each one with the challenges and experiences every artist-explorer needs to dream, imagine and create.

LeRoy Stoner, Chair
Department of Theatre
lstoner@uwm.edu