SBUBolivar, Missouri Est. 1878

Theatre Major at SBU

Degree Requirements

Clubs & Organizations

Related Majors

Questions? Contact

Elissa Sartwell, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Communication Arts — Theatre
(417) 328-1688

David Bailey, Ph.D., Chair
Bob R. Derryberry School of Communication Arts
(417) 328-1697

Visit the Derryberry School of Communication Arts website for more information.

A theatre degree at Southwest Baptist University prepares you for a wide variety of careers in theatre and beyond.

Learn basic foundations of telling a story through acting, directing, and design. Receive additional training in stage management and arts administration. Students routinely demonstrate their knowledge and skills through an ambitious production season.

The SBU Advantage

  • Hands-on training in every aspect of theatre production
  • Proud participant in the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival, which honors excellence in college theatre and offers student artists individual recognition through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, criticism, directing, and design
  • Students and faculty have received numerous recognitions of merit from the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival
  • Provides a supportive community in which to study and grow as an artist.
  • SBU Theatre’s small program gives you more performance and technical opportunities than you would at larger schools
  • Psychologically safe actor training is grounded in an action-based approach to performance

Engaged Learning

Few programs offer as much hands-on learning as the theatre program. Our students are involved in every aspect of theatre production at SBU, from season selection to design to directing to marketing. Each production provides students the opportunity to apply and hone the skills they learn in the classroom.

Course Information

SBU Theatre offers a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. Classes include acting, directing, stagecraft, design, script analysis, theatre management, and an individualized senior capstone project that culminates in each student having a portfolio, resume, and/or audition package ready to show prospective employers.

Clubs and Organizations

SBU Theatre hosts several productions each year. All students are welcome to audition for roles or help with stage crew opportunities. Learn more about SBU Theatre productions.


Scholarships are available in Theatre Performance and in Theatre Production.

Career Opportunities

A theatre degree provides a solid foundation for future careers or graduate school. The program demands that students acquire broad knowledge, critical thinking, and effective communication skills. Possible careers include stage management, acting, teaching, designing, stage construction, playwriting, arts marketing, directing, church drama ministry, and more.

Internship Opportunities

Each year, students are able to audition for and apply for internships at summer-stock theatre companies throughout the Midwest.

Special features

  • SBU Theatre produces three mainstage productions annually, providing students with hands-on opportunities.
  • SBU Theatre students travel annually to the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival, where they are exposed to specialized workshops, training, and networking.

Degree Requirements

Two hours from the following:

THR (1-4)001 Theatre Performance Workshop
Rehearsal and performance of a major drama production.
THR (1-4)011 Theatre Production Workshop
Thirty hours of work on backstage duties and/or technical crews for major drama production.
THR (1-4)041 Opera Theatre
Laboratory for study and performance of operatic solos and ensembles.
An investigation of dramatic structure and analysis from the perspective of the director, the actor, and the designer. This course is also designed to introduce students to several major plays in the history of dramatic literature.
THR 4203 The History and Literature of Theatre I
An overview of theatrical practices, innovations, and literature from 2000 BC through the 18th century. Emphasis will be placed on an examination of dramatic scripts, primary sources, and received historical narratives as a means for exploring the cultural significance of theatre and performance.
THR 4203 The History and Literature of Theatre II
An overview of theatrical practices, innovations, and literature from the 18th century through the present. Emphasis will be placed on an examination of dramatic scripts, primary sources, and received historical narratives as a means for exploring the cultural significance of theatre and performance.
THR 1023 Acting I
Fundamentals of acting techniques. Emphasis on movement and mime.
THR 3033 Acting II
Advanced acting techniques. Emphasis on motivation, characterization and showmanship.
THR 4023 Directing of Plays
Principles of directing the various steps of a production, and practice in rehearsing and presenting plays.
THR 1053 Stagecraft
Basic principles of scenic construction, scenic painting, and lighting and sound techniques.
THR 2031 Makeup
Laboratory exercises in the basic fundamentals of stage makeup.
THR 4311 Senior Capstone
This course is designed as a comprehensive measure of the knowledge and skill students have acquired in their particular communication arts major. There will be two primary dimensions to the capstone course: 1) an opportunity for students to reflect on and undergo assessment of their body of work in their major; and 2) an opportunity to synthesize the knowledge of communication arts theory and practice in a final project performance. The portfolio and presentation will serve to demonstrate whether or not students have successfully completed the work required for their chosen degree. Since the department is diverse in emphases and specializations, each student will be given an opportunity to design a final project consistent with his/her interests and experience.
Choose two of the following:
THR 3053 Scene Design
Basic concepts of scene design for the stage. Exploration of scene design and the theatre, scene design as a visual art as well as technical production.
THR 3063 Costume Design
A study of the costume design process: research, direction, and rendering of ideas. Emphasis on character analysis. This course also offers a basic exposure to costume construction techniques.
THR 4003 Lighting and Sound Design
A study of the process of lighting and sound design. Emphasis on hands-on experience with lighting instruments, and lighting and sound systems.
Choose one of the following:
THR 3013 Stage Management
A thorough analysis of the technical and organizational aspects of stage management. Emphasis on the stage manager's process, including an overview of general responsibilities and basic conflict resolution concepts.
THR 4013 Theatre Management
A study of the theory and practice of theatre management in areas of commercial, non-profit, college, and community theatre. Theory and practice of administration for non-profit and commercial theatre.

Six hours of approved electives from the following:

Any THR course not meeting another course requirement.
ENG 4413 Shakespeare
Tragedies, histories and comedies of Shakespeare.
COM 3303 Oral Interpretation of Literature
Emphasis on theory and practice of communicating works of literature from the printed page.