Academic Opportunities

Students may pursue a theatre major, theatre concentration within the humanities or interdisciplinary studies major, or a minor in theatre.

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 Rochester College theatre program combines a strong foundation in the liberal arts with a broad understanding of all facets of theatre. Students practice skills in acting, directing, writing, design, and stagecraft under close supervision by theatre faculty in an environment that encourages students to integrate their faith with their academic study. Our vision extends outward to the campus and local community in a quest to pursue truth and bring richness to life through the creative arts.


The mission of the Rochester College Theatre Program serves the academic mission of the college both in the classroom and in public performance. An academic program is one that calls its participants to think critically about the self and the world by experiencing the theatrical piece.  We encourage students to confront difficult questions and ponder the plight of humanity in a community of Christian faith. Dramatic works explore the gamut of human nature.  We find characters who exemplify the greatness of humanity: those who demonstrate courage and self-sacrifice; we also find characters who exemplify the worst in humanity: those who lie, steal, cheat, and kill. By presenting these characters to the audience through a live production of a play, the Rochester College theatre program is neither advocating the choices made by characters depicted in our productions nor glorifying the behavior. Plots are driven by conflict as wills collide and characters are put to the test under extreme pressures.   There is nothing like a crisis to bring out the best… or the worst… in people.

We select plays which engage truthful explorations of the human condition, are of high literary and artistic merit, and provide opportunity for performers and technicians to learn and grow their craft. With each play selection, the theatre faculty considers the degree of potentially offensive content and how that content might affect performers and audience members. Most plays, unless they specifically target child or family audiences, do contain some material that is potentially offensive. Our goal is not to avoid difficult material, but to present plays with worthwhile themes, values, and messages to the campus community. The theatre faculty makes decisions about play selection and editing in conjunction with an advisory committee of Rochester College faculty, staff, and administrators. We do not edit all materials which might offend. First, we are often limited by copyright laws; second, we believe that it is necessary to explore the realistic truths contained in plays as they are written. All editing decisions are made with the utmost sensitivity to our performers, our audiences, and the playwright. In order to adequately prepare our audience for a performance, disclaimers appear in our advertising to alert patrons when a play contains potentially sensitive material.


  1. Students will be able to analyze a play script using a variety of interpretive strategies.
  2. Students will be able to synthesize a script analysis into artistic expression through the visual, oral, kinesthetic, and written modes of communication found in acting, design, directing, and dramaturgy.
  3. Students will be able to describe how theatre can reflect, promote, and challenge its cultural context with special attention to its Christian heritage.
  4. Students will be able to articulate a sense of vocation in theatre that embodies their personal beliefs values, attitudes, skills, and habits.

The theatre department serves each of the five Institutional Learning Goals of Rochester College. Through the entire process, from play selection to rehearsal to performance, we enthusiastically engage our institutional objectives as outlined below:

Institutional Learning Goals

Information Literacy – Students will be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and ethically use information, research tools, and methods across disciplines.
Quantitative Literacy – Students will be able to analyze, interpret, and apply quantitative information and methods for problem-solving.
Cultural Literacy – Students will be able to understand, appraise, and respectfully engage with their own and others’ histories, practices, artifacts, and belief systems.
Communication Literacy – Students will be able to communicate effectively in a variety of written, oral, and artistic forms.
Theological Literacy – Students will be able to evaluate the sources and meanings of the Christian story in order to embody their vocation of service in God’s world.

About The Program

The Rochester College Theatre produces 5-6 plays on campus each academic year. We choose works ranging from classical to contemporary with diversity in styles. We often take our performances into the community. We have toured productions to schools, churches, and even museums such as the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington and the Museum of African-American History in Detroit.

Each year we partner with the music department to produce a musical. Additionally, Rochester College sponsors the Pied Pipers, an improvisational children’s theatre troupe which travels to local schools and churches performing stories and songs for young people. Auditions are open to the entire student body. Students must be in good standing with both the Academic Services and Student Development offices to be eligible to participate. Scholarships are available to those who qualify.

On occasion the Rochester College theatre department opens auditions and/or participation in campus productions to people outside of the student body. This makes it possible for Rochester College to produce large-cast plays which would not otherwise be feasible for the size of the student acting pool at a small liberal arts college. Another reason to open auditions beyond the student body would be to fill a role that is outside the age range of traditional college students, such as a young child or an older adult. At other times, the theatre department might invite a guest artist to fill a pre-cast role. Students are then invited to audition for the remaining roles. This provides students a special opportunity to work with a respected member of our community. Furthermore, the Rochester College theatre program welcomes volunteers from our campus community who wish to participate in a technical role at any time. Our mission is educational theatre, and we include all who are willing to join us in that endeavor including, faculty, staff, and members of our church and local communities. We believe that there is great educational value in involving our alumni and other members of community in productions with students. We ask anyone who participates in theatre at Rochester College to abide by the Standards of Conduct as outlined in the Student Handbook found at the following website:

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 will enjoy such amenities as season tickets, backstage tours, and much more.

Individual Donors

  • Helper ($1-24)
  • Friend ($25-$99)
  • Supporter ($100-$199)
    • One season ticket to all shows for the following academic year
  • Patron ($200-$299)
    • Two season tickets to all shows for the following academic year
    • Backstage Tour
  • Sponsor ($300-$499)
    • Three season tickets to all shows for the following academic year
    • Backstage tour
    • Cast-signed program
  • Benefactor ($500 and above)
    • Four season tickets to all shows for the following academic year
    • Backstage tour
    • Cast-signed program


Advertise in theatre programs and reach hundreds of people.

  • 1/4 page – approx. 3.5” x 2.5”
    • $25 donation (single production)
    • $125 for the RC theatre season (5 productions)
    • $150 for the RC theatre season and RC Shakespeare Festival (6-7 productions)
  • 1/2 page – approx. 3.5” x 2.5”
    • $50 donation (single production)
    • $200 for the RC theatre season (5 productions)
    • $250 for the RC theatre season and RC Shakespeare Festival (6-7 productions)
  • 3/4 page – approx. 4.5” x 3.5”
    • $75 donation (single production)
    • $300 for the RC theatre season (5 productions)
    • $350 for the RC theatre season and RC Shakespeare Festival (6-7 productions)
  • Full page– approx. 7.5” x 4.5”
    • $100 donation (single production)
    • $400 for the RC theatre season (5 Productions)
    • $450 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 Julayne Hughes at (248) 218-2149 or for more information.

Thank you for your support!



Theatrefest 2014 features a production of our fall musical Little Women!

November 15, 2014

About Theatre Fest

Southeastern Michigan high school students are invited to attend the Rochester College TheatreFest. It features workshops with theatre professionals, faculty, and Rochester College theatre students on various topics including acting, auditioning, musical theatre, technical theatre, and stage combat. Workshops will be followed by dinner and a complimentary performance of Little Women.

Registration and information will be posted as it becomes available.

Schedule of Events

12:30 p.m. Arrival and check-in
12:45 p.m. General session
1:00 — 2:15 p.m. Workshop session I
2:30 — 3:45 p.m. Workshop session II
4:00 — 5:15 p.m. Workshop session III
5:30 — 5:50 p.m. Wrap-up session
6:00 — 6:45 p.m. Dinner
7:00 p.m. House opens
7:30 p.m. Little Women

Possible Workshop Sessions

Colleges and professional theatres ask actors to audition through prepared monologues. Learn techniques for choosing and perfecting a monologue that will help you land that scholarship or part you’ve always dreamed about. (NOTE: Participants must bring 1-2 minute memorized monologue to workshop.)

Learn the tools to help you create a three-dimensional character by discovering clues in the text, connecting with your scene partner, and making good choices.

Designing for theatre begins with the heart, not the head. We’ll read a 10-minute play, then cut up construction paper and/or finger paint to express what we’ve felt. As we work, we’ll talk about how our abstract expressions can translate into real design elements.

This workshop will keep you sharp and on your toes. Improvisation helps you learn to work “in the moment” and be flexible with and attentive to your acting partners.

Movement on stage is more than just getting from here to there. Learn several techniques for effective movement for the actor that looks natural, yet enhances performance.

Wood, wallpaper, stone, trees, and landscapes – all these things can be created on stage with paint. Learn several scene painting techniques and try it out for yourself. Please wear old clothes in case of paint splashes.

“But what does it mean?!?” The playwright has given you the tools you need to bring a script to life. Learn some basic techniques to unearth the meaning of a play.

The Bible may not always translate well to the stage. But that doesn’t always have to be true. This workshop session will teach you many techniques to effectively bring Scripture to life on stage.

Musical theatre directors are looking for people who can “act a song.” This workshop session will teach you how to act the character while singing. NOTE: Participants must bring a prepared piece (with sheet music) for the song they wish to workshop.

Fights, slaps, hair-pulls and chokes – all those things your mother told you never to do – we’ll teach you how to do safely in this session on hand-to-hand combat. Please wear clothes in which you can move easily and comfortably.




Rochester College Preview Day: Warrior Friday… Theatre Style:

Every few months, Rochester College’s admissions office holds an event called Warrior Friday. It is a big preview day where students and their parents visit for a day to learn about campus life, financial aid, and the admissions process. They also get to meet professors and tour the campus.

On April 11, 2015, the theatre and admissions departments will join forces to bring you the third annual Theatre Warrior Friday! This event preserves the basic elements of a Warrior Friday and added a special matinee performance of RC’s spring production, The Butler Did It

For prospective students who want more information Theatre Warrior Friday, please email Katy Bodine at or call 248-218-2160.


BA/BS in Theatre

General Education Core 49-57
Foreign Language (BA only) 8
Theatre Major 50


  • THE 1011 Production Practicum (repeatable)
  • THE 1021 Performance Practicum (repeatable)
  • THE 1031 Ensemble Acting (repeatable)
  • THE 1061 Unarmed Stage Combat
  • THE 1071 Armed Stage Combat
  • THE 1081 Dance for Musical Theatre (repeatable)

  • THE 1103 Acting I
  • THE 2103 Acting II
  • THE 2113 Technical Theatre
  • THE 2222 Voice OR THE 2232 Movement
  • THE 2603 Play Analysis
  • THE 3313 History Of Western Theatre: Greeks to Renaissance
  • THE 3323 History Of Western Theatre: Renaissance to Present
  • THE 3412 Design For the Theatre
  • THE/ENG 4743: Studies in Genre: Drama
  • THE 4143 Theatre and the Christian Faith
  • THE 4601 Senior Seminar In Theatre
  • THE 4813 Senior Project In Theatre OR THE 4893 Theatre Internship

  • THE 2212 Musical Theatre Workshop
  • THE 2222 Voice
  • THE 2232 Movement
  • THE 3012 Advanced Acting
  • THE 3213 Dramaturgy
  • THE 3313 Theatre for Young Audiences
  • THE/MUE 3423 Production Of The School Musical
  • THE 4113 Directing
  • THE 4603 Dramatic Theory and Criticism
  • THE 4813 Senior Project in Theatre
  • THE 4893 Internship
Minor (Required) 18
Electives (BS 11 hours and BA 3 hours) 3-11

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

Students may select 18 hours from the following courses to complete the theatre minor. No more than three total hours in any combination from the following: THE 1011, THE 1021, THE 1031, THE 1041, THE 1051, THE 4601. Additional courses for a theatre minor are THE 1103, THE 2103, THE 2113, THE 2213, THE 3113, THE 3303, THE 3603, THE 3413, THE 4113, THE 4143, THE 4813, THE 4893, THE 4613.

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.


THE 1011 Stagecraft
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 Vice Provost and are subject to a $25 add/drop fee.

THE 1021 Performance Workshop
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 Vice Provost and are subject to a $25 add/drop fee.

THE 1031 Ensemble Acting
Theory and practice in the dynamics of group performance. Requires membership in touring performance ensemble. 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 Vice Provost and are subject to a $25 add/drop fee.

THE 1041 Production Practicum
Laboratory experience/credit for the following roles in a Rochester College theatre production: assistant director, assistant technical director, stage manager, assistant stage manager, dramaturg, or house manager. 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 Vice Provost and are subject to a $25 add/drop fee.

THE 1051 Design Practicum
Laboratory experience/credit for the following roles in a Rochester College theatre production: assistant set, sound, lighting, or costume designer. PR: Pl. Students have one week from casting to add this course to their schedules. Requests received after the first week require approval from the Vice Provost and are subject to a $25 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 1103 Acting I
An introduction to acting, including theory and application involving voice, movement, improvisation, script analysis, and scene studies.

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. Physical, vocal, and emotional approaches to characterization for a variety of roles in the theatre. PR. THE 1103 Or PI.

THE 2113 Technical Theatre
Basic principles of stage design, set construction, lighting, properties, costumes, and makeup in relation to the production concept of a particular genre. Includes laboratory experience in a Rochester College theatrical production.

THE 2213 Musical Theatre Workshop
Laboratory performance course in which students prepare selections from the musical theatre repertoire. Includes preparation of both solo and ensemble pieces, along with a basic introduction to movement and dance.

THE 3113 Theatre For Young Audiences
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 3303 History Of Western Theatre
A survey of major historical periods of the theatre from the greeks to the present.

THE 3413 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.

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 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: one of the following: THE 1103, 2103, 2113, 3213, 3303 or 3603.

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.

THE 4601 Senior Seminar In Theatre
Capstone course in theatre. Includes preparation for post-graduation life and theatre program assessment. PR: senior status.

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

THE 4613 Special Topics In Theatre
Topics related to theatre selected by instructors and/ or recommended by students, such as the dramatic literature of a particular playwright, period acting or dramaturgy.

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 and theatre or performing arts interdisciplinary studies concentration.

THE 4893 Theatre Internship
Supervised field experience in a theatre context with application of theoretical knowledge. Includes outside reading and a written report. PR: junior status.


2014/2015 Season

RC Shakespeare Festival:
Romeo and Juliet and
Two Gentlemen of Verona
by William Shakespeare
UnCovered Theatre Company Production
July-September 2014

UnCovering a Cardboard Nation
by Brandon Langland and Robert Arbaugh
Directed by Robert Arbaugh
Location: Auditorium

Fri-Sat, Sept 19-20, 7:30 p.m.
Sun, Sept 21, 2:00 p.m.
Fri-Sat, Sept 26-27, 7:30 p.m.
Sun, Sept 28, 2:00 p.m.

We’ve all seen them: homeless, desperate people standing at stoplights or crouching in doorways with makeshift cardboard signs and newspaper blankets. But what do we know about them? How did they get to be like that? How do they feel about us? Is their world so much different from ours? Taken from actual interviews with the poor and homeless from across the nation, as well as those who try to help them, UnCovering a Cardboard Nation provides a unique theatrical experience and an eye-opening look into a world we’ve all glimpsed from a distance, but is closer than we think.

Little Women
by Knee, Dickstein and Howland
Co-Production with UnCovered Theatre Company
Directed by Dr. Catherine Parker
Location: RC Theatre

Fri, Nov 7, 7:30 p.m.
Sat, Nov 8, 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sun, Nov 9, 2:00 p.m.
Thu-Sat, Nov 13-15, 7:30 p.m.
Sun, Nov 16, 2:00 p.m.

Based on Louisa May Alcott’s cherished novel, Little Women follows the adventures of Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March as they grow up in Civil War America. The beloved classic has been reimagined as an exhilarating musical filled with an inspiring score, lively dancing, and undeniable heart. Little Women embodies the complete theatrical experience, guaranteeing a night filled with laughter, tears, and a lifting of the spirit. The tale of the March sisters muddling their way into adulthood is quickly becoming a classic musical theatre treasure in its own right.

by Lee Blessing
Directed by Dr. David Keller
Location: Gold Room (next to cafeteria)

Thu-Fri, Feb 5-6, 7:30 p.m.
Sat, Feb 7, 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sun, Feb 8, 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Echo, a sixteen-year-old prodigy raised by a partially paralyzed and eccentric grandmother, strives to become a spelling bee champion and so prove her worth to the mother who abandoned her. Can “logodaedaly” lift a spirit and soften a heart? Can “periptery” release gravity’s grasp and free one to fly? Can “eleemosynary” rewrite the story of lives broken by the pain of betrayal, loss, and regret?

The Butler Did It
by Tim Kelly
Directed by Robert Arbaugh
Location: RC Theatre

Fri-Sat, April 10-11, 7:30 p.m.
Sun, April 12 , 2:00 p.m.
Thu-Sat, April 16-18, 7:30 p.m.
Sun, April 19, 7:30 p.m.

A parody of the English mystery play with a decidedly American flair, this whodunit features a cast of zany characters tripping over clues and each other. Miss Maple, a dowager with a reputation for clever weekend parties, invites a group of detective writers to eerie Ravenswood Manor on Turkey Island where they are to impersonate fictional characters. The hostess has arranged amusing incidents: a mysterious voice on the radio, a menacing face at the window, a mad killer on the loose. When a real murder takes place, the outraged Miss Maple offers an immense reward to the one who can bring the killer to justice. Laughs collide with thrills when the true killer is finally unmasked.

Taming of the Shrew
by William Shakespeare
Directed by Robert Arbaugh

March 2015 (Touring Production)

Pied Pipers: Children’s Improvisational Theatre Troupe
Directed by Cathie Parker
Shows: Spring 2015

The R.I.P’s (Rochester Improv Players)
Directed by Chad Rasor
Shows: October 2014, December 2014, January 2015, March 2015



Working without sets or props and with little scripted material, the Pied Pipers’ performance style inspires children’s imaginations. Children enjoy active involvement in the theatre, so the Pied Pipers invite them to participate in the stories. Every child who comes to a Pipers show is greeted personally by a member of the troupe. Stories, songs, and poetry from around the world and across cultures help instill in children a love of reading, and appreciation of the arts, and a greater understanding of themselves and the world around them.

Part of the excitement of a pipers show is that no two are alike. As the troupe performs throughout the year for schools, churches, birthday parties, libraries, and other organizations, they draw from a large repertoire to provide a unique, entertaining experience for each audience. The troupe offers a fresh and exciting performance that can be adapted to most audiences and venues. Although the Pipers’ intended audience is children, people of all ages enjoy their performance.

For further information about the Pied Pipers, please email


  • Dr. Catherine L. Parker, associate professor of theatre and director of theatre, has been leading the theatre department 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.
  • Dr. David Keller, dean of the Rochester College School of Humanities and professor of interdisciplinary studies, has been with the theatre department since 2006. He completed his M.A. in theatre arts at Villanova University.
  • Robert Arbaugh, MFA, adjunct theatre professor and production manager, joined the RC Theatre Department in 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.
  • Chad Rasor, adjunct theatre professor and technical director, joined the RC Theatre Department in 2012. He earned a BA in communication and theatre at Geneva College in 2007 and an MFA in acting at Regent University in 2010. Chad is a member of the Uncovered Theatre Company.
  • 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. He also serves as director of ministry for UnCovered Theatre.