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Academic Opportunities

Students may pursue a theatre major, musical theatre major, or theatre management major. Students may also pursue interdisciplinary concentrations in theatre or performing arts within the interdisciplinary studies degree. Students may also pursue a minor in theatre or vocal performance. Students who wish to teach high school theatre may pursue a speech minor through Rochester College’s education program. For more information about program and scholarship auditions, please click HERE!

Career Opportunities

Academic groundwork in theatre prepares students for careers as performers, theatre managers, stage managers, technical designers, theatre critics, writers, or educators. Theatre training also provides an excellent foundation for a host of other careers, including radio and television, music, advertising, marketing, law, public speaking, and ministry.


The Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance seeks to provide an aesthetic education for all students. Its vision extends outward to the campus and local communities in a quest for artistic truth, bringing richness to life through the performing arts. Students practice their craft in community with faculty, staff, and other students in an environment that encourages students to consider their vocation as service in God’s world. A strong foundation in the liberal arts emphasizing critical thinking, effective communication, and scholarly research provides graduates with real-world marketable skills and excellent preparation for graduate studies. Year-round opportunities for students to perform, design, and direct, mentored by faculty and other local professionals, broadens the depth of experience of our students, preparing them to become professionals in their respective fields.













A theatre and performing arts concentration is available in the interdisciplinary major. Click here for more information.

Theatre Minor (18 hours) – THE 1103, THE 1112, THE 3113 or 3323. Plus 10 hours of THE courses with no more than 3 hours from THE 1011, THE 1021, THE 1031, THE 1061, and THE 1081.

Courses required for a minor cannot concurrently apply toward courses within the degree core, major, concentration or track. With department approval, students may use other courses, within the area of study, to substitute duplicate requirements.

Review the theatre department handbook here.

Vocal Performance Minor (18 hours)


THE 1001 Introduction to Theatre Studies
An overview of the requirements and expectations of theatre and musical theatre majors, including vocational development, portfolio building, and career preparation.

THE 1011/2/3 Production Practicum
Technical theatre laboratory experience. Assigns students to a technical role in a Rochester College theatre production: lighting, makeup, costumes, props or set construction. Assignments based on experience and/or interest and job availability. May require up to 75 hours of work. Students have one week from casting to add this course to their schedules. Requests received after the first week require approval from the registrar and are subject to an add/drop fee.

THE 1021 Performance Practicum
Laboratory experience/credit for performing in a Rochester College theatre production. Selection for roles is based on audition. PR: PI. Students have one week from casting to add this course to their schedules. Requests received after the first week require approval from the registrar and are subject to an add/drop fee.

THE 1031 Ensemble Acting
Theory and practice in the dynamics of group performance. Requires membership in touring performance ensemble. A Classical ensemble and a Pied Pipers ensemble are offered. PR: PI. Students have one week from casting to add this course to their schedules. Requests received after the first week require approval from the registrar and are subject to an add/drop fee.

THE 1061 Unarmed Stage Combat
Explores a variety of aesthetic guidelines, safety principles, and practical techniques utilized in the staging of unarmed sequences of staged combat. Also listed as PED 1011.

THE 1081 Dance for Musical Theatre
Introduction to basic musical theatre terminology and dance techniques. Numbering accounts for level of study: THE 2081, 3081, 4081.

THE 1091 Dance Styles
Students select from the following styles: Jazz, Ballet, Hip Hop, Modern, Irish, Tap offered through Second Street Dance Studio. Course fee $162-192. PR: Placement Audition

THE 1103 Acting I
An introduction to acting theory and practice, including script analysis and performance of modern realism.

THE 1112 Introduction to Technical Theatre
Instruction in the basic skills, tools, techniques required for technical theatre including set construction, lighting, and make-up

THE 2003 Theatre Appreciation
Significance of the dramatic arts throughout history from ancient Greek to Postmodern theatre; roles of playwright, director, actor, designer, and critic are explored. Fulfills General Education Appreciation requirement for students not majoring in Theatre.

THE 2103 Acting II
Continuation of the work begun in Acting I. Approaches to characterization for a variety of roles in classical theatre. PR: “C” or better in THE 1103 or PI.

THE 2212 Musical Theatre Workshop
Laboratory performance course in which students prepare selections from the musical theatre repertoire. Includes preparation of both solo and ensemble pieces.

THE 2222 Voice For the Actor
An introduction to voice for the stage as a primary instrument of communication, with special emphasis on the Linklater technique. PR: THE 1103.

THE 2232 Movement For the Actor
An introduction to movement for the stage using the body as a primary instrument of communication, with special emphasis on the Lugaring technique. PR: THE 1103.

THE 2603 Play Analysis
Introduction to formal analysis of plays for actors, directors, and designers, and instruction in research and writing for the theatre. PR: ENG 1123.

THE 2413 Principles of Design
Application of art elements and design principles in a variety of scenarios. Focus on refining ideas for compositions. Course fee $15. Also listed as ART 2413. PR: ART 1413 or 1423.

THE 3001 Theatre as Vocation
A seminar targeting the practical skills needed to pursue a career in or related to theatre. Students will explore specific career paths and identify means to attaining them.

THE 3102 Advanced Acting
Explores advanced actor training methodologies, relying heavily on the Meisner Technique and Practical Aesthetics. PR: THE 2103 and PI.

THE 3113 Theatre For Young People
Explores cognitive and emotional characteristics of young audiences and age-appropriate dramatic material. Explores variations of dramatic literature for child and adolescent audiences. Discusses performance of literature adaptation as well as text creation from improvised scenes. PR: ENG 1123.

THE 3143 Theatre Ministry
Explores intersections of theology and theatre and includes practical application of theatre arts to formal worship service planning, outreach programs, children’s ministry, missions, and play production. PR: Sophomore status.

THE 3613 Oral Interpretation of Literature
Instruction and practice in analysis and oral presentation of various literary genres. Includes oral interpretation of such forms as poetry, prose, children’s literature, drama, and scripture. PR: COM 1013.

THE 3212 Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop
Advanced laboratory performance course in which students prepare selections from the musical theatre repertoire and includes preparation for professional musical theatre auditions. PR: THE 2212.

THE 3242 Acting Shakespeare
An introduction to Shakespearean acting with emphasis on scansion, poetic devices, builds, playing through lines, and finding a physical and emotional life in the language. PR: THE 2103.

THE 3303 History Of Western Theatre Survey
A one-semester survey of major historical periods of the theatre from the Greeks to the present. PR: ENG 1123.

THE 3313 History of Western Theatre: Greeks to the Renaissance
Exploration of major historical periods of theatre practice from the Fifth Century BCE until 1642. PR: ENG 1123.

THE 3323 History of Western Theatre: Renaissance to the Present
Exploration of major historical periods of theatre practice from 1642 until the present.

THE 3412 Design For The Theatre
An overview of the design process, including scenic, costume, lighting and sound design. From the first reading of a script to production, students learn and gain practical experience in the steps necessary for a creative design for the theatre. PR: THE 1112 or 2112.

THE 3423 Production Of The School Musical
Understanding the logistics and process of producing musicals in schools. Includes practicum in a local school working on a current production. Also listed as MUE 3423. PR: MUS 1213 or PI.

THE 4102 Audition
Instruction in audition techniques for monologues and cold reads with strong emphasis on Michael Schurtleff’s “guideposts.” PR: THE 2103 and PI.

THE 4113 Directing
Process of play direction from production concept to performance. Includes written play analyses, conducting auditions, casting, rehearsing, and working with technical staff. Students required to direct scenes or one-act plays, possibly in conjunction with a campus theatre production. PR: 6 credit hours in THE.

THE 4123 Advanced Directing
Practical directing project for Rochester College theatre production. Students work closely under faculty guidance. Course is offered on demand. PI.

THE 4143 Theatre and the Christian Faith
Surveys the historical relationship between theatre and religion including pagan worship, liturgical presentations, and mystery plays. Discusses current conflicting views regarding the role of theatre in the 21st century church, including drama in evangelism and in the teaching of children and Christian participation in secular theatre. PR: Any THE course and ENG 1123.

THE 4412 Advanced Design
Practical design project for a Rochester College theatre production. Students work closely under faculty guidance in one of the following: scenery, costumes, lighting, properties, or sound. Course is offered on demand. PI.

THE 4601 Senior Seminar in Theatre
Develops interviewing, resume, cover letter writing, and networking skills to prepare students for post-graduation life. Includes theatre program assessment and development of the portfolio. Should be taken the students’ final semester. PR: Senior status.

THE 4603 Dramatic Theory
Theoretical approaches to the actors craft from antiquity to the present. PR: Any THE course and ENG 1123.

THE 4603 Dramatic Criticism
Critical writing approaches used to analyze both theatre performance and dramatic literature. PR: Any THE course and ENG 1123.

THE 4743 Studies in Genre: Drama
Survey of ancient to contemporary drama with a focus on literary and formal analysis. Also listed as ENG 4743. PR: ENG 1123.

THE 4813 Senior Project In Theatre
Preparation of a major creative or research project in an area of the student’s interest. PR: Senior status in Theatre or Musical Theatre Major. Capstone course in Theatre.

THE 4893 Theatre Internship
Supervised field experience in a theatre context with application of theoretical knowledge. Includes extensive outside reading and a written report. Responsibility for obtaining an internship lies with the student. The intern must consult the faculty coordinator for approval of the internship. Capstone course in Theatre. PR: Junior status.

THE 4613 Special Topics in Theatre
Special topics in theatre based on faculty or student interest such as a focus on a writer, a theatrical period in history, or a style of performance or design. Offered on demand.


  • Dr. Catherine L. Parker, dean of the Rochester College School of Humanities and music, theatre, dance chair, has been with Rochester College since 1997. She completed her M.A. in theatre arts at Eastern Michigan University in 1999 and completed her Ph.D. in directing at Wayne State University. Catherine is also a 1996 Rochester College alumna.
  • Robert Arbaugh, MFA, assistant professor and Director of Theatre, has been with Rochester College since 2011. He completed his MFA in acting at Regent University in 2010. Robert is a professional working actor and director and serves as the artistic director of Uncovered Theatre Company.
  • Rachel Arbaugh has been the costume and make-up designer at Rochester College since 2011. She earned her B.A. in theatre performance at Regent University. Rachel is a professional actor and singer and also serves as the company manager of UnCovered Theatre Company as well as events coordinator of Rochester College.
  • Brandon Langeland, MA, adjunct professor, joined the RC community in 2011. He received his M.A. in theatre ministry from Regent University in 2011. Brandon is a professional actor, singer, and writer. Currently, he serves as director of ministry for UnCovered Theatre and as resident director of Ferndale/Hoggatt residence hall.
  • Frank Pitts has been on the faculty of Rochester College since 1995.  He has a BA in vocal performance from Harding University, did graduate work at Oakland University and was an opera apprentice with Michigan Opera Theatre.  He is active as a performer in Musical Theater and Opera and also as a collaborative pianist and has performed in the US, Canada, Spain and France.  As a musical director, Mr. Pitts has directed over 65 shows in high schools, colleges, and community theater. He serves Rochester as a voice instructor, vocal coach and accompanist.  Frank is a member of the National Association Teachers of Singing.
  • Dr. David Keller, D.Min., also earned an MA in theatre arts from Villanova University. He is a semi-retired RC professor and administrator.  Dr. Keller has designed and directed over fifty productions for five colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Michigan.  He also authored Petticoat Surgeon, a reader’s theatre dramatization from the autobiography of Bertha Van Hoosen, the founding president of the American Medical Women’s Association.
  • Lisa Hodge Kander, PhD, is a director, teacher, actor, writer, mentor, and muse. Dr. Kander holds a PhD in Theatre from Wayne State University, and has studied at the Drama Studio of London, the Moscow Art Theatre School, and American University. She has directed, acted in, and/or produced hundreds of productions throughout Michigan. Recently, she has directed plays for Eclectic Theatre Company in Chicago, and for Matrix Theatre and for University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit. She has founded two youth theatre troupes, and directed and managed touring theatre troupes for Michigan Youth Theatre and Wayne State University. She is passionate about Shakespeare, women’s issues and gender and sexuality issues, and working to heal the world for a better future for her children and grandchildren- and yours.
  • Cindy Raffel, adjunct professor, was a professional dancer with the Tampa Bay Ballet and Florida Dance Theatre.  She has a BS in Dance Education from Radford University. She has also been an adjunct professor for Southeastern University and special instructor for Dickinson College.  Rochester College students receive dance training through a dual enrollment program with Cindy’s studio, 2nd Street Studio of Dance, in Rochester.
  • Chad Rasor, MFA, adjunct professor, has an MFA in acting from Regent University. He also has extensive training from the Society of American Fight Directors. Chad has worked professionally as fight choreography, actor, voice actor, technical director, and scenic designer. Chad also serves as assistant technical director at Oakland University and as scenic designer/technical director for Rochester Adams High School.
  • Dr. John Lennox holds a B.S. in Theatre with an acting focus from Western Michigan University, an M.A. in Theatre with a theatre history focus from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D in Theatre with a directing/scholar emphasis with cognate studies in historical fencing from Wayne State University. He is  also an internationally recognized fight director for Art of Combat, an Honorary Fight Director with the Australian Stage Combat Association.
  • Danielle (Danii) Diehl is a Rochester College Alumni with an Interdisciplinary Studies Degree in Theatre and International Studies. She is a professional actor and artist with years of experience both on the stage and creating it. Aside from theatre, Danii has worked as a horseback instructor at camps in Colorado and Michigan, and spent much of her time consumed with travel: including studying abroad, backpacking Europe with her fiancé, and working as a Travel Agent. Danii is excited to be married this coming October to Jonathan Fulton, and looks forward to another artistic year with the Theatre Department.





Support Rochester College Theatre

You can help support the theatre program with your tax-deductible contributions. All contributors will be acknowledged in upcoming programs and some will enjoy such amenities as season tickets.


Individual Donors

  • Helper ($1-24)
  • Friend ($25-$99)
  • Supporter ($100-$199)
  • Patron ($200-$299)
  • Sponsor ($300-$499)
  • Benefactor ($500 and above)



Corporate Ad Sponsorships

Advertise in theatre programs and reach hundreds of people.

  • 1/4 page – approx. 3.5” x 2”
    • $100 for the RC theatre season and RC Shakespeare Festival (6-7 productions)
  • 1/2 page – approx. 4” x 4”
    • $200 for the RC theatre season and RC Shakespeare Festival (6-7 productions)
  • Full page– approx. 7.5” x 4.5”
    • $400 for the RC theatre season and RC Shakespeare Festival (6-7 productions)

We accept cash, checks (payable to Rochester College, in memo section: THEATRE), and credit cards. Please contact Olivia Butler at (248) 218-2149 or for more information.

Thank you for your support!