John Wilson teaching class in the Nickerson Black Box Theater


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Theatre Major BFA - Area 1: Performance

Building Your Skills

As a BFA Performance student at UCM you’ll have acting opportunities from 35-40 productions each year. The 442- seat, state-of-the-art James L. Highlander Theater will offer you diverse experiences on a traditional proscenium stage. Our flexible, 100-seat Nickerson Black Box Theater will provide you with more intimate acting challenges like you would experience in television and film. Each summer you’ll have paid opportunities to company manage, direct, design or act in our touring children’s production. UCM Theatre and Dance invites you to join a diverse body of students, professional faculty, and participate in a rigorous curriculum that will prepare you for graduate programs or a professional career!

John Wilson

Chair, School of Visual and Performing Arts, Professor of Theatre, Performance Specialist

John Wilson is a performance specialist on the UCM Theatre and Dance faculty. Mr. Wilson is an Equity and SAG member who acts professionally on stage and in commercials and film. He is the author of The Actor As Fire And Cloud, and teaches the following classes in the performance curriculum: Acting, Stage Movement, Stage Voice, Advanced Acting, Advanced Scene Study, Period Acting Styles and Senior Showcase. Mr. Wilson is also a fight director, staging fights at UCM and professionally for a number of Kansas City Equity theaters.


Mary Trotter

Assistant Professor of Theatre

Mary Trotter is a performance specialist on the UCM Theatre and Dance faculty.  She has acted and directed professionally in the pacific northwest, Chicago, and New York City, where she had the pleasure of studying with Patsy Rodenburg.  Trotter is a certified NIA instructor and teaches Acting, Stage Movement, Stage Voice, Advanced Acting, Period Acting Styles, Discovering Theatre and Directing. She is an active participant in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and was the Irene Ryan Coordinator for Region VII for 5 years.  Additionally, Trotter has produced and directed theatre outreach programs such as Las Memorias and The Performance Project.


Watch This


At UCM, we value engaging learning experiences that include student involvement and service-learning projects. Involvement opportunities include: 


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 S.H.I.P.

The Theatre Special Housing Interest Program area in Nickerson Hall is designed for students minoring in or majoring in theatre. This SHIP 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 Productioni Program

● Studio Theatre One-Act Series

● Richard Herman Black Box Theatre Program

● Film Makers And Actors' Coalition

● Highlander and Kansas City Senior Showcase


John Wilson
School Chair, Professor
Martin 113B
Tel: (660)543-8781


Mary Trotter-Gonzales
Assistant Professor
Martin 116A
Tel: (660)543-4020


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