School of Theatre and Dance
Welcome to the School of Theatre and Dance at Illinois State University. We invite you to take a look around and learn more about our nationally recognized undergraduate and graduate programs.
In the School of Theatre and Dance, we provide pre-professional training to dedicated young actors, dancers, designers and educators. This is a competitive program but there is work for everybody. You will be encouraged to demonstrate your craft by participating in some of the ten major productions, two dance concerts and dozens of smaller plays and performances presented every year. For examples of the kinds of shows we produce please see our schedule of upcoming performances.
Information for Prospective Students: Auditions and Evaluations
When you file your online application to Illinois State University you will be asked to sign up for an audition, portfolio review or interview date. For more information please see Audition, Portfolio Review, and Scholarship Interview Guidelines.
(If you later need to change the date you selected, please contact academic advisor Tom Powers: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
An audition is required if you intend to pursue one of the performance sequences: Acting, Dance Performance, or Dance Teacher Education. A portfolio review is required for the Design/Production sequence. For students in these sequences your audition or portfolio review also counts as a scholarship interview for a School of Theatre and Dance scholarship.
If you intend to pursue the Theatre Teacher Education or Theatre Studies sequence you just need to declare one of those sequences as your major when you apply to ISU. Then when you are accepted by Illinois State University, you automatically are placed in that major. But you may still want to interview with us for a School of Theatre and Dance scholarship. To do so, just select an interview date when you file your Admissions application. Again, for more information please see the Audition, Portfolio Review, and Scholarship Interview Guidelines.
Once you begin taking classes at ISU, you will be evaluated by the faculty on an ongoing basis. Students in the performance sequences will be judged on the basis of your talent, classroom preparation, level of production participation and commitment to your art. Actress Judith Ivey, Tony Award-winner for “Hurlyburly," said that during her time in the School of Theatre and Dance, “They made demands on you that a lot of professionals since then have never made on me. It prepared me for what has turned out to be a wonderful career.”
Newly Endowed Scholarship and Internship
Incoming freshmen are eligible for the Sutter Family Shakespeare Scholarship. This newly endowed scholarship provides the recipient with monetary support ($1,000 a year for four years) as well as a one-time summer internship with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival.
Information for Current Students
To audition for the Fall 2015 season, please use the links on the Productions/Activities Page.
Current students seeking information on production assignments, production calendars, and Practicum contracts also should head over to the Productions Page.
Need a room for a meeting or rehearsal space? Please go to the Facilities Page.
We have more than 30 faculty members in the School of Theatre and Dance, so we are able to keep our studio classes small. We offer individualized instruction in a supportive environment which means you will have lots of contact with your instructors.
Our teachers stay involved in the professional world, working as directors, designers, actors, dancers, and choreographers. On top of that, Illinois State is one of the leading schools in producing Theatre and Dance teachers. Illinois State started as a teacher-training college, and the School of Theatre and Dance is proud to continue that tradition.
Undergraduate Areas of Study
The School of Theatre and Dance offers conservatory-level training within the context of a liberal arts education. Graduates earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in one of six sequences:
Theatre Connections is the School's initiative to get involved in the campus and local communities, and to encourage students and residents to be socially and politically active through the arts.
The Illinois Shakespeare Festival
During the summer months, the School of Theatre and Dance is proud to be the home of the nationally acclaimed Illinois Shakespeare Festival. The Festival offers top students an opportunity to work side-by-side with professionals from around the world. Incoming freshmen are eligible for the Sutter Family Shakespeare Scholarship, which includes a one-summer internship with the Festival.
We Are Proud of Our Graduates
Located just two hours south of Chicago, Illinois State University has been described as “a large university with a small college feel.” The School of Theatre and Dance has provided a steppingstone into the professional theatre and dance world for many acclaimed actors, including the founding members of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company, as well as hundreds of graduates who can be found in theatre and dance companies and in schools throughout the Midwest and beyond—acting, dancing, directing, designing and educating the theatre and dance artists of the future.
The School of Theatre and Dance Advantage
- We provide professional training in a liberal arts setting.
- Our highly qualified faculty members maintain active involvement in the professional world.
- We provide a supportive environment that encourages exploration and growth.
- Our extensive production program enhances the classroom learning experience.
- We are committed to individualized instruction.