There are so many benefits to studying and completing a Theatre major at Blackburn College. Recently, we have completely updated and reinvigorated the theatre curriculum, bringing it into the 21 st Century, and better pairing theory with practice to prepare young actors for professional theatre work, as well as community engagement and other creative endeavors. The study ranges in three levels of acting and audition prep, as well as courses in directing, voice and movement, improvisation, theatre history, and dramatic literature. Most theatre classes are small, allowing for individual attention from the faculty and many opportunities for growth and development of both creative and practical skills.
Points of Distinction
One of the unique benefits of our program is the opportunity students have to work with professional guest artists. In the past few years, Blackburn students have participated in workshops and master classes with professional actors, directors, lighting designers, choreographers, make-up artists, and stage combat specialists. All of these visits allow for advanced and specialized instruction for students at every level of their theatre training. These connections have allowed our students to secure multiple summer internships with professional theatres across the country.
Why this Major?
A theatre major is one of the most versatile, exciting, and fulfilling majors available, as well as core discipline in a traditional liberal arts education. Not only does this area of study allow for creative discovery of but it also teaches young artists the importance of collaboration and ensemble. Theatre is one of the most collaborative and versatile fields of study, and it reinforces risk taking, creativity, observation, critical listening, analytical thinking, and personal growth. Theatre artists commit their study to an intense exploration of the human condition, opening their minds up to considering characters and worlds from multiple perspectives. Due to this understanding, the values of a theatre degree are transferable into any field. In fact, even many STEM businesses seek out those with a theatre degree because of the advanced training theatre artists have in collaboration, creative problem solving, and empathy.
Yes, Blackburn College offers a Theatre minor that explores a breadth of training in acting, directing, and stagecraft.
Experiential learning is at the core of a theater major. In addition to its breadth of study, our department offers multiple opportunities for performance and design through our season productions. We produce a fully staged production every semester, ranging in genre from traditional comedies, new interpretations of classics, domestic dramas, family favorites, and full-scale musicals. We also offer smaller scale performance opportunities like our annual 10-Minute Play Festival, as well as student directed work and experimental productions in our black box studio space. Our program is supported through a state-of-the-art, recently remodeled auditorium that features Broadway-level lighting and sound equipment. Also, as a Work College, the many work positions housed in the theatre department offer jobs ranging from Costumes and Props, Scenic Design and Construction, Light and Sound Design, and Stage Management. Any of these work positions offers hands-on, practical theatre experiences that easily grow an artist’s resume and prepares them for collaborative and creative work.
Activities & Events
Blackburn College is also home to the Carlinville Summer Repertory Theatre, founded in 1994. This community theatre group performs two productions every summer. Summer Rep’s goals include encouraging the talent within our community, providing family-oriented entertainment, and increasing public awareness of Blackburn College and the theatre arts. For more information, visit their website here.
Clubs & Organizations
Blackburn College is home to a chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, a national theatre fraternity. Students who join this organization are invited to take part in several events and fundraisers, including trips to professional and college theatre productions in the area, featured workshops, an annual Halloween event, and aiding in departmental productions.
Theater majors and minors at Blackburn College have taken part in summer internships with professional theatre companies like Shawnee Repertory Theatre and the Ohio Light Opera, working in areas like Production Management, Lighting Technician, Assistant Stage Management, Assistant Directing, and Children’s Theatre.
Work Program Opportunities
- Theatre Office and Faculty Assistant
- Lighting and Sound Design
- Set Construction and Design
- Costume and Props Technician
- Theatre Stage Manager
Hot Job Outlooks
A major element of post-graduation work in theatre is dependent upon auditioning. Most theatre companies hold individual on-site auditions and accept auditions digitally, giving graduating actors the chance to audition both regionally and nationally. Work is available with: acting companies, repertory theatres, summer stock companies, national and regional touring shows, dinner theatres, children’s theatres, and cabarets, as well as theme parks, cruise ships, museums, and resort entertainment. Other possible professional arenas include: Public Relations, Community Engagement and Non-profit work, Broadcast Journalism, Arts Administration, Literary Management, and almost any other discipline. Graduates with a Bachelors Degree in Theatre are also able to pursue an advanced degree in a multitude of graduate programs. Building on theatre training in graduate school creates opportunities outside the immediate discipline. Growing demands in areas like Drama Therapy and Non-Profit Administration also highlight the importance of interdisciplinary study, and a carefully chosen minor like Psychology or Leadership can complement a theatre degree and better support a graduate school application.
Theatre alumni are working for or have recently worked for:
- Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (actor and site interpreter)
- Café Amelie and Wow Café (New Orleans)
- Regional Theatres in Wisconsin (as director)
- Georgia Aquarium Dolphin Coast Theatre (Lighting Director)
- Professional Theatres in Chicago (as actor)
In the last three years, the number of theatre majors at Blackburn College has grown by over 50%, and because our auditions are open to everyone, the productions and classes in this department welcome majors and non-majors alike!
Our theatre space, Bothwell Auditorium, has undergone a 2+ Million dollar renovation! Visit us to see and experience the changes, including:
- New Movie Projector permanently installed and an extra-large Movie Screen
- New Lighting system including many LED fixtures and the ETC ION 1000 light board
- New Sound Equipment including new Speakers and the Yamaha QL5-65 Channel sound board
- New Auditorium Seating with dedicated wheelchair seating space
- Newly Renovated Bathrooms
The theatre faculty at Blackburn College has earned terminal degrees in the field and maintain current training professional development in both creative and scholarly pursuits including professional training through national workshops and intensives, international podcasts, scholarly research and publications, and performing and writing for professional regional theatres.