Live theatre is one of the most powerful forms of communication. It connects us to one another by reminding us of the shared human experience. Through artistic expression, it engages and invites conversation, celebrates our humanity and explores questions—both timeless and timely—that touch our emotions and challenge our existing beliefs. Theatre has the ability to inspire, inform and transform. Whether your passion leads you to center stage or behind the scenes, you’ll find a welcoming community at Carroll.

“Expressing myself on stage has made me feel like a complete person.”
— Rachel Verhoef '19

Read Rachel's story

About the Theatre Major

Carroll University’s theatre major provides you with the knowledge needed to successfully operate an arts organization or venue while also acquiring skills to perform in productions. You’ll gain a well-rounded understanding of how a theatre production comes together from conception to curtain call as well as gain important skills in communication, collaboration, leadership, mentorship, project management, networking, persuasion and negotiation. New in Fall of 2020, students can also major in Musical Theatre. The goal of the new 48-credit BA major is to train Carroll students in the unique and demanding art of musical theatre, by creating successful ‘triple threats’ (those with exceptional abilities in the areas of acting, singing and dance.)

Our program combines classroom study with opportunities to participate in fully-produced stage productions. Productions include a wide range of genres, from musicals and comedies to satire and tragedy. Our goal is to provide students with a wide variety of experiences, working on productions that range from historical to contemporary, Broadway to off-Broadway to original work. You’ll learn how to direct, build stage sets, design sound and lighting and craft costumes. You’ll also have the chance to write, direct and perform your own work. Our students have the opportunity to work alongside professional, Equity actors at least once each semester.

Community partnerships with local arts organizations will introduce you to the real world of operating a venue—and what strategies are necessary to address challenges and successfully accomplish goals. You’ll come away with an understanding of how to manage and promote a business working in areas like finance, human resources and marketing.

And when you’re not rehearsing at Carroll, you’ll enjoy the area’s vibrant art scene and wide variety of performing arts organizations.

Work and Learn on Campus

We offer positions in all areas that support theatre and arts for students seeking campus employment during the school year, including:

  • Costume shop
  • Prop shop
  • Scene shop
  • ​Tech lab
  • Theatre office/student public relations team

Summer Repertory Series

Earn course credit and gain real-world experience in a 6-8 week ‘summer stock’ setting for course credit while you develop the skills you’ll need to sustain a successful career in the theatre and arts management industries.

Theatre's Rich History in Wisconsin

Dedicated to new and innovative theater production, Wisconsin's first theatre organization was inaugurated in June 1896 with a production of Bulwer Lyton's "Richelieu," staged by May N. Rankin, the daughter of former Carroll President Walter Rankin. Miss Rankin developed the curricular program in 1901 and eventually produced graduates including Alfred Lunt, who, with wife Lynne Fontanne, has a Broadway theater named in his honor. A museum and theatre center has been established at their former estate, Ten Chimneys, in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin.

Video Ratio size 16 by 9 Carroll University Video


In addition to the major, Carroll offers minors in theatre that complement many areas of study:


We help you build real world experience, explore careers and network with professionals through internship opportunities. Recent placements include the following companies:

  • Blue Lakes Fine Arts Camp
  • First Stage
  • Lake Country Playhouse
  • Milwaukee Chamber Theatre
  • Milwaukee Opera Theatre
  • Milwaukee Repertory Theatre
  • Skylight Music Theatre
  • Sunset Playhouse
  • Waukesha Civic Theatre
  • Wisconsin Philharmonic



College is a big investment in a bright future. Learn more about the industries and careers our majors pursue, and the workplaces and experiences of the alumni from our program. See where yours may take you.

Career Insight

LinkedIn Report Says Milwaukee Great Place to Launch Career

Milwaukee is ranked second in a new analysis by LinkedIn’s Economic Graph team of U.S. cities that are especially well-suited for new grads.

Learn More

Latest Program News

Alumnus Bryon Cherry '04

Q&A: Bryon Cherry '04 named best R&B/Soul Artist by Wisconsin Area Music Industry


Alumnus Bryon Cherry '04 lived the liberal arts education at Carroll when - as a political science major - he also discovered his passion and talent for music. He developed his musical interest down a path that led to him being named best R&B/Soul Artist at the 2021 Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) Awards.

Alumnus John Catania '82

CU in the Workplace | John Catania '82


In honor of June Pride Month and the Carroll Player’s 125th Anniversary (June 1896-2021), this special edition of CU in the Workplace features television and media producer John Catania, Class of 1982.

More Resources

“These classes make me so excited for my career outside of Carroll.”
— Allison Klauke '19

Read Allison's story

Meet the Faculty

Adjunct Faculty

  • Laura Gray | Adjunct Lecturer
  • Justin Gale | Scene Shop Manager
  • Cecelia Mason-Kuenn | Costume Shop Manager

The Arts Are Aliveat Carroll University

Panoramic View of campus