Open Calendar
Actors performing on stage


Click to print this page

Theatre, BFA - Area 1: Performance

Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Performance

Is acting your passion? Are you planning to pursue a professional career on the stage, or do you dream of landing a leading role in television or film? The University of Central Missouri’s Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre, with an emphasis in Performance, will prepare you for an exciting career on the stage and screen. 

At UCM, you’ll gain experience as an actor — students are active in 35–40 productions each year — while completing your theatre classes. You’ll also have paid opportunities to manage, direct or design as a member of our touring children’s productions. Our hands-on coursework prepares aspiring actors for a professional career or graduate studies.

UCM stands out among colleges for theatre

While earning your degree in Theatre Performance from UCM, you’ll study contemporary and classic drama and put your skills to use at our state-of-the-art 442-seat Highlander Theater. You’ll also have opportunities to workshop scenes and present original works in the intimacy of our 100-seat Richard Herman Black Box Theater. 

Our faculty have directed and acted in productions throughout the United States and are key participants in nationally and regionally recognized theatre organizations such as the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), Central Missouri Repertory and other professional theatre groups. Their connections will help you pave the way for your exciting career on stage with a degree in Theatre Performance.

Drama symbols

35–40 annual theatre productions

A person and a globe

Regional and national performances

A person and 3 stars

NAST-accredited degree in theatre

A map of Missouri and the UCM location

Near Kansas City theatre opportunities

A networking icon

Theatre Learning Community

A teacher in front of a class

Low student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1

What you will study

UCM’s BFA in Theatre Performance focuses on acting techniques and the performance of classic and contemporary drama while giving you an understanding of the theatre as an exciting whole. You’ll take multiple advanced acting classes, as well as mastering many aspects of the technical side of theatre, in courses such as: 

  • Period Acting Styles: Examine and practice acting styles used in the works of Shakespeare, Classical drama, Chekhov and other masters and forms.
  • Stage Voice/Advanced Stage Voice: Understand your voice and how to project it in performances.
  • Stage Movement/Advanced Stage Movement: Hone your understanding of your body and how to use it for more expressive performances.
  • Senior Showcase: Prepare and perform material for theatre industry professionals at UCM’s own Highlander Theater and at a professional theatre venue in Kansas City. 
  • Studio II: Direct a one-act play as your capstone project. 

When you earn your well-rounded liberal arts degree in Theatre Performance from UCM, not only will you specialize in acting, much like you would in a conservatory training program, but you’ll also prepare to play many important roles — both onstage and behind the scenes — in the world of professional theatre.


BFA Theatre Performance Auditions

All students applying for our BFA Theatre Performance degree must audition for consideration. Upon acceptance by the UCM Office of Admissions, you should fill out the UCM Theatre & Dance Admission Form and contact our Performance advisor to schedule your interview. To ensure a strong and successful audition, please carefully read the guidelines below and bring the appropriate materials to the audition.

On the day of your audition please bring with you:

  • An acting/theatre resume 
  • A photograph (we prefer headshots, but will accept any close-up)
  • Two contrasting one-minute monologues (1 dramatic/1 comedic) from published plays (see the Audition/Interview FAQ section for assistance in finding appropriate materials and parameters.) All monologues must be memorized.
  • Be prepared to answer questions for your interview that reflect on your answers provided on your Theatre & Dance Admission Form. We encourage you to bring questions to ask us as well!
  • Please dress professionally for the audition


Excellence in Theatre Performance


Unique learning opportunities in theatre performance

The University of Central Missouri excels among colleges for theatre. You’ll use what you learn in your theatre classes to collaborate with and showcase your talents to professionals who offer diverse career opportunities to UCM graduates with a bachelor’s in Theatre Performance: 

  • Build Career Networks: UCM’s theatre classes give you many opportunities to hone your craft as you perform for and work with renowned industry professionals. UCM’s students earning a degree in Theatre perform (and often win awards) at the annual KCACTF competitions. Student chapters of the Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri and the yearly USITT conference for design and tech professionals are two more ways for you to interact with professionals one-on-one.
  • Professional Practice Credit: While earning your degree in Theatre Performance, you can receive credits for acting in Kansas City theaters, traveling productions staged by the Central Missouri Repertory and at other regional and summer stock theater venues.
  • Senior Showcase: Seniors perform scenes, monologues and musical theatre pieces at UCM’s Highlander Theater and at a professional theatre venue in Kansas City. Industry professionals — casting directors, talent agencies, talent directors and others — attend, providing students earning a degree in Theatre Performance with opportunities to network and learn about new job openings.


What can you do with a BFA in Theatre Performance from UCM?

UCM graduates with a bachelor’s in Theatre Performance are actors and directors in diverse venues such as mainstage theater companies, theme parks, cruise lines and summer stock theaters. Our alumni work as actors at Worlds of Fun, Disney, the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, the Crane River Theater, Kansas City’s Unicorn Theatre and in many professional theaters and multimedia production companies throughout the country.

Job opportunities are widely available with professional regional and summer stock theaters. Many UCM alumni also choose to continue their studies at graduate schools across the United States.

Your theatre classes offer an exciting gateway to life on the stage

Use the interactive tool below to learn more about the potential salaries and career pathways available to you when you earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre, with an emphasis on Performance.




Financial assistance options for your bachelor’s in Theatre Performance degree

The University of Central Missouri offers numerous resources to keep your student debt and college costs low and to help finance your college education.

Beyond the general awards and scholarships offered by UCM, numerous scholarships are available specifically for students earning a bachelor’s in Theatre Performance, including:

  • New Theatre Highlander-See Scholarship
  • New Theatre Arlene Krings Memorial Scholarship
  • New Theatre McDowell Family Scholarship
  • Mancow Muller Scholarship
  • Lucy Bergman Memorial Scholarship in Theatre

Use the UCM Scholarship Finder to learn more about program-specific scholarships.



Paint brushes

Take your degree further.

Build on skills gained from your bachelor’s in Theatre Performance and earn a UCM graduate degree to further specialize your education and increase your earning potential:

A group of professionals in a meeting

Make yourself more marketable.

If you plan to be a freelance actor or you’re considering teaching, you can gain additional career skills and learn to promote yourself by adding to your BFA in Theatre Performance from UCM:

People in a communications booth

Explore programs related to theatre performance.

If you’re interested in theatre classes and performance but not sure what you’d like to major in at UCM, consider these related undergraduate programs:

Professional Organizations and Student Groups

● Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival

● American College Dance Association

● Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri


● Southeast Theatre Conference

● U/RTA Auditions and Portfolio Reviews

●Theta Alpha Phi 

● UCM Dance Club 

● Film Makers And Actors' Coalition

Theatre Learning Community

The Theatre Learning Community located in Nickerson Hall is designed for students minoring or majoring in theatre. This living space for first year students provides close proximity to the department’s Black Box Theatre, a lounge to rehearse lines and blocking, a fully equipped dance studio and access to dining facilities.

Performance Opportunities

● KCACTF Irene Ryan Scholarship Auditions

● KCACTF Professional Auditions

● KCACTF MTI Auditions

● Midwest Theatre Auditions

● UCM Main Stage Production Program

● Studio Theatre One-Act Series

● Richard Herman Black Box Theatre Program

● Film Makers And Actors' Coalition

● Highlander and Kansas City Senior Showcase


Request Info   Visit   Apply Today!



  • facebook
  • twitter
  • youtube
  • linkedin
  • instagram