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Division of Theatre and Dance

Whether you dream of performing on stage, joining a theatre or dance company, managing or directing productions or working behind the scenes in lighting, costume, sound or scenic design, you can learn to do it all at the University of Central Missouri through our Division of Theatre and Dance. 

At UCM, our Theatre and Dance programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre, so you can trust you’ll master the skills — and earn the credentials — you need for a successful career.

A Theatre and Dance program with options

  • Dance: Take dynamic classes in modern, ballet, tap, jazz and musical theatre dance and choreography.
  • Musical Theatre: Hone your singing and dancing skills as you study the historical, cultural and stylistic dimensions of musical theatre.
  • Speech Communication and Theatre: Prepare to teach speech communication and theatre in schools and continuing education centers as you land roles in a variety of theatre productions, participate on the speech and debate team and gain experience directing and technical directing a one-act play as part of your capstone project.
  • Theatre Performance: Build your skills on stage through a variety of performances and production opportunities. Take courses that delve into various acting styles and that focus on stage voice, stage movement and the historical and cultural facets of theatre.
  • Theatre Design/Technology: Develop and hone your design and technical skills as you complete courses in all areas of theatrical design and design-related technology. You’ll also work in our costume and scene shops and serve on the production crew or as an assistant or full designer in a black box or mainstage show.

An icon of actors' masks

Lead work at Black Box Theater

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NAST-accredited programs

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Small class sizes

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Audition for shows in your first year

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Nationally recognized faculty

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Personalized guidance

Find your Theatre and Dance future at UCM

When you study at the University of Central Missouri’s Division of Theatre and Dance, you may audition for shows as early as your first semester — unlike other institutions, where you often have to wait until later in your studies.

At UCM, you’ll also find:

  • Theatre-focused facilities: Join student-led productions in the Nickerson Black Box Theater, perform or design in our mainstage season and live with like-minded peers in the theatre dorm through our Theatre Learning Community.
  • Experiences you can add to your resume: Many of our productions are produced by students, so you’ll have ample opportunities to apply your classroom learning on stage and behind the scenes. You may also join theatre and dance student organizations and attend conferences and workshops such as the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology or the American College Dance Association. Regular trips to New York City allow you to see Broadway shows and take backstage tours and workshops with Broadway artists.
  • Expert faculty: Our instructors are nationally recognized, award-winning designers, actors, playwrights and directors who have a wealth of knowledge in their area of expertise — as well as plenty of professional ties that can help you build your own network.
  • Exciting opportunities to meet acclaimed artists: Get involved with our guest artists series, which has featured guests such as Titus Burgess and Paula Vogel.


What can you do with a degree in one of UCM’s Theatre and Dance programs?

From actors to design technicians, companies and organizations everywhere are looking for highly skilled and trained professionals. 

Our highly reputable Division of Theatre and Dance combines music, art and design with your core courses in theatre and dance to provide you with an interdisciplinary experience and a well-rounded education.

At UCM, you can prepare to join the ranks of our successful alumni and gear up for a number of careers in the performing arts, such as:

  • Actor
  • Dancer
  • Designer
  • Director
  • Educator
  • Marketing/PR director or coordinator
  • Technician


UCM Stagecraft in the Spotlight

Watch this PBS behind the scenes video showcasing Assistant Professor of Theatre, Ken George and how he and his students brought his design for Hairspray to fruition during our Fall 2019 season opener. 



Actors performing on stage


Undergraduate Majors and Minors



UCM Theatre and Dance Audition Day:

Monday, February 20, 2023; from 9am-5pm

Follow these steps to apply to UCM Theatre and Dance:

  1. Apply for admission to UCM
  2. Complete the Theatre and Dance Admission Form; includes information on scholarship and auditions
  3. If you wish to be considered for a scholarship, please create an account in "Scholarship Finder" by February 1st (note: you must first have been accepted to the university)
  4. Click here for information about Theatre and Dance auditions
  5. For more information, contact:

Mission, Vision, and Values

Mission: UCM Theatre and Dance develops the intellectual growth, creativity, and artistic leadership of its students by combining rigorous theatrical training with a liberal arts education and serves as a vital force in the cultural and intellectual life of the University of Central Missouri, the community, and region. 

Vision: To be an indispensable member of the theatrical, academic and public community and a place of empathy, love, growth, inspiration and achievement for all. 


Inclusivity: Welcoming all differences and ensuring different perspectives are respectfully heard with every individual feeling a sense of belonging

Equity: Dedication to removing biases and creating accessible instruction, production program, curriculum and scholarships for all students particularly those who have been marginalized 

Diversity: Faculty, guest artists, selected works, recruiting and coursework will represent the richness of the multicultural world in which we live 

Liberal Arts Education: Educating students to be well-rounded and dynamic artists through a student-centered learning environment 

Professional Training: Prepare students for professional work through rigorous, hands-on real world situations and opportunities

Scholarship: Valuing in-depth scholarly research and program training across all disciplines both inside and outside of the classroom

Interpersonal Communication: Training collaborative individuals who work positively and respectfully with others

Inspiration: Students are encouraged and empowered to be innovators in both course work and theatrical production in pursuit of their goals and dreams to see beyond their perceived limitations 

Creativity: Students shall never be stifled as they explore and find their own artistic voices as theatre artists and educators. The opportunity to fail is just as important as the opportunity to succeed.

Production Calendar

See What's On Stage at UCM Theatre and Dance

This season we are producing two mainstage musicals, a contemporary play, a modern adaptation of a Greek play, and an original play serving as our spring dance concert!  

We are excited to announce our 2022-2023 Theatre & Dance Season: HERstory season!  - Download schedule


September 15-17th @ 7:30pm - Studio One Acts - Nickerson Black Box Theater

  • Rinse the Blood off my Toga
  • A Tale of Two Spectators
  • Bake Off
  • 500/501

'Stop Kiss' theatrical poster

October 6 - 9th, 2022 - Stop Kiss - Nickerson Black Box Theater 

  • October 6-8th, 2022 @ 7:30pm
  • October 8-9th, 2022 @ 2:00pm
  • After Callie, a traffic reporter, meets a school teacher named Sara, the two unexpectedly fall in love. While sharing their first kiss a violent attack takes place, transforming their lives in a way they could never anticipate. This play journeys through the aftermath of the attack and relationship between Callie and Sara.
    -- For Mature Audiences Only
    By Diana Son
    Directed by Dr. Aaron Scully

'The Prom' theatrical poster

November 11-12th, 13th, 17-19th, 18-20th, 2022 - The Prom - Highlander Theater

  • November 12-12th, 17-19th, 2022 @ 7:30pm
  • November 13th, 2022 @ 2:00pm
  • Four eccentric Broadway stars are in desperate need of a new stage. So when they hear that trouble is brewing around a small-town prom, they know that it’s time to put a spotlight on the issue…and themselves. The town’s parents want to keep the high school dance on the straight and narrow—but when one student just wants to bring her girlfriend to prom, the entire town has a date with destiny!
    Book by Bob Martin
    Book and Lyrics by Chad Beguelin
    Music: Matthew Sklar
    Directed by Ashley Miller-Scully
    Musical Direction by Daniel Doss
    Choreography by Allison Duncan

February 9-11th @ 7:00pm - Studio One Acts - Nickerson Black Box Theater

  • The Unknown Part of the Ocean
  • Do Over
  • In a Darkroom, The Lord Knows
  • The Stonewater Rapture
  • Destiny is a Careless Waiter

'Eurydice' theatrical poster

February 23-26th, 2023 - Eurydice - Highlander Theater

  • February 23-25th, 2023 @ 7:30pm
  • February 25-26th, 2023 @ 2:00pm
  • Dying too young on her wedding day, Eurydice must journey to the underworld. It’s there where she reunites with her father and struggles to remember her lost love. Reimagining the classic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice through contemporary characters, ingenious plot twists and breathtaking visual effects, this performance provides a fresh look at a timeless love story.
    By Sarah Ruhl
    Directed by Jenise Cook

Little Women Performance Poster

April 6-9th, 2023 @ 7:30pm - Little Women - Highlander Theater

  • April 6-8th, 2023 @ 7:30pm
  • April 8-9th, 2023 @ 2:00pm
  • This story follows the adventures of sisters, Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March. Jo is trying to sell her stories for publication, but the publishers are not interested. Her friend, Professor Bhaer, tells her that she has to do better and write more from herself. Begrudgingly taking this advice, Jo weaves the story of herself and her sisters and their experience growing up in Civil War America.
    Book by Allan Knee
    Lyrics by Mindi Dickstein
    Music by Jason Howland
    Directed by Kristen Henning
    Musical Direction by Daniel Doss

'Remember the Dance' theatrical poster

April 20-23rd, 2023 - Remember the Dance - Nickerson Black Box Theater

  • April 20-22nd, 2023 @ 7:30pm
  • April 22-23rd, 2023 @ 2:00pm
  • Closing out the Mainstage season is the world premier production of Remember the Dance, an original “dance-play!” The story follows a woman as she reflects on the people and events of her life. Take this journey and be reminded to live life to the fullest, as nothing lasts forever. Combining a new play, original choreography and original music, this show is bound to be an experience like no other.
    Written by Aaron M. Scully
    Directed by Ashley Miller-Scully and Dr. Aaron Scully

Plus numerous Black Box productions written, created & produced by UCM Theatre & Dance students.


UCM is the longest continuously CAEP accredited public institution in Missouri


UCM’s Theatre and Dance Department is nationally accredited by the National Association for Schools of Theatre



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