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Division of Theatre and Dance

Whether you dream of performing on stage, joining a theatre or dance company, 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. 

UCM is one of only four universities in Missouri 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 in the arts. In fact, we are also one of just three universities in Missouri to have a fully-accredited School of Visual and Performing Arts. Rigorous academics. A robust production season. Networking in New York City. A student-run Black Box program. Visits from accomplished guest artists. And more. We offer an extensive theatre education with a wealth of experiences no matter your degree path. 

Click on the thumbnails below to explore the Division of Theatre and Dance learning spaces

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.

For all Prospective Students - Applicants have the option to audition digitally or at our in-person campus audition. Click here for audition information

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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!  Our former guest artists have included: Tituss Burgess, Paula Vogel, Steve Barth, Paul Meier, Dueling Arts International and more.

Click on the thumbnails below to see learning experiences within the Division of Theatre and Dance

Highlander Theatre

Nickerson Black Box Theater


Theatre Design/Technology


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. UCM Alumni are working in many different venues: professionally on Broadway, Off-Broadway, on international and national tours, in regional theater companies, theme parks, improv troupes, dinner theaters, cruise lines, TV and film. Our alums also open their own theatre companies, pursue graduate school, teach at the college and children's level and work in arts administration and management for professional and non-profit theaters. 

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




Actors performing on stage


Undergraduate Majors and Minors


UCM Theatre and Dance 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.



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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