Ripon College offers a major and minor in theatre with education accreditation also available. We strive to develop theatre artists and scholars who have an understanding of all the areas of the theatre from onstage to backstage, from drama and history to technology and artistry. While our students are able to specialize in their areas of interest in the theatre, they also understand the process of theatre and learn how to collaborate with other artists in the theatre.

The Department of Theatre is invested in nurturing artists and teachers for the theatre, but we are open to the whole student community. Auditions and crew calls are open to the entire college, and we expect and plan on students with majors other than theatre to take part in our productions.

Achieve More

Latest News

Running crew of "The Tin Woman"

Running crew of 2023 Ripon College theatre production win certificates of merit

Four Ripon College students have been awarded certificates of merit from the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival Region 3. The certificates honor the work they […]

Lillian Brown, left, in "The Mousetrap"

Lillian Brown to appear in ‘The Mousetrap’ in Milwaukee

Assistant Professor of Theatre Lillian Brown will appear in a professional production of “The Mousetrap” Nov. 25-Dec. 17 at Next Act Theatre in Milwaukee. Agatha […]

The Tin Woman rehearsal photo

‘The Tin Woman,’ play featuring student, community performers, opens Nov. 15

Sean Grennan’s play “The Tin Woman,” a compelling drama laced with humor and a positive outlook, will be presented Wednesday through Saturday, Nov. 15-18, at […]

Faculty

Robert Amsden

Amsden, Robert

Professor Emeritus of Theatre, Doreen '73 and David Chemerow Chair in Theatre

Lillian Brown

Brown, Lillian C.

Assistant Professor of Theatre

John Dalziel 2019

Dalziel, John

Professor of Theatre, Chair & Chemerow Chair of Theatre Department

Ann Pleiss Morris

Pleiss Morris, Ann

Associate Professor of English

Advising

Ripon College faculty and professional staff are dedicated to helping you reach your goals, whatever they may be and however often they may change along the way. It’s part of our value statement to you.

As a student at Ripon, you will be assigned a faculty adviser based on your area(s) of interest. You will meet with your faculty adviser throughout your time as a student to discuss your current aspirations, plan your course schedule and plot a future trajectory. We also work collaboratively with Ripon College Career and Professional Development to help match your interests and skills to concrete goals and construct a plan for professional success offering personalized career counseling, off-campus learning opportunities and an online job board with potential to connect with local, national and international employers.

Advising at Ripon

Requirements

Requirements for a Major in Theatre
Prerequisites THE 101 Introduction to Theatre, 131 Beginning Acting, 231 Theatre and Drama I: Ancient Through Renaissance, 232 Theatre and Drama II: Restoration through Contemporary, 255 Stagecraft, 512 Senior Seminar in Theatre
Elective Courses THE 101 Introduction to Theatre, 131 Beginning Acting, 231 Theatre and Drama I: Ancient Through Renaissance, 232 Theatre and Drama II: Restoration through Contemporary, 255 Stagecraft, 512 Senior Seminar in Theatre; two courses selected from THE 260 Introduction to Lighting Production and Design, 268 Makeup Design and Application, 301 Classroom and Children's Theatre, 352 Acting II: Topics in Acting, 362 Scenic Design, 363 Costume Construction and Design, English 340 (Shakespeare); one of the selected courses must be at a 300 level; a minimum of four credit hours in THE 202 and/or 210 and/or 212.
Requirements for Teaching Major in Theatre THE 101 Introduction to Theatre, 131 Beginning Acting, 231 Theatre and Drama I: Ancient Through Renaissance, 232 Theatre and Drama II: Restoration through Contemporary, 255 Stagecraft, 512 Senior Seminar in Theatre; two courses selected from THE 260 Introduction to Lighting Production and Design, 268 Makeup Design and Application, 301 Classroom and Children's Theatre, 352 Acting II: Topics in Acting, 362 Scenic Design, 363 Costume Construction and Design, English 340 (Shakespeare); a minimum of four credit hours in THE 202 Topics in Theatre and Drama and/or 210 Production Lab-Scenery and Lighting and/or 212 Production Lab-Costumes
Additional Criteria THE 101 can be waived for students with extensive high school coursework and production experience. However, the total hours of theatre courses must be satisfied by substituting an upper-level course.

Electives develop special skills or knowledge and at least one is recommended beyond the minimum requirements: any of the 200- or 300-level courses.

Requirements for a Minor in Theatre
Prerequisites THE 101, 131, 255; two courses selected from: THE 231, 232, 260, 268, 301, 352, 362, 363, 512; minimum of four credit hours in THE 202 and/or 210 and/or 212.
Elective Courses Required to take 3 distribution courses with laboratories, one in each area of organismal, cell and molecular, and ecology and evolutionary biology, and at least 9 additional electives. Two courses toward the major must be taken at the 300 level.
Requirements for Teaching Minor in Theatre Production 101 Introduction to Theatre, 131 Beginning Acting, 200 Acting Lab, 202 Topic in Theatre and Drama, 255 Stagecraft, 301 Classroom and Children's Theatre, 512 Senior Seminar in Theatre; minimum of four credit hours in THE 202 Topic in Theatre and Drama and/or 210 Production Lab-Scenery and Lighting and/or 212 Production Lab- Costumes.
Additional Criteria THE 101 can be waived for students with extensive high school coursework and production experience. However, the total hours of theatre courses must be satisfied by substituting an upper-level course.

Career Tracks

Alumni of the department include stage and movie actors Spencer Tracy ’24, Harrison Ford ’64 and Frances Lee McCain ’66. More recent graduates have earned master’s of fine arts degrees in acting, children’s theatre and design. Positions obtained by our graduates include education, associate production manager, musical tour stage manager, various roles in regional theatre companies, playwright, actor, costume designer and sound engineer.

Unique Opportunities

  • Through the Department of Educational Studies, certification in theatre is available in early childhood/adolescence (birth-grade 12).
  • Students take active roles on stage and in production in several shows offered by the department throughout the year.
  • Students are helped to find summer internships. Recent internships have include Peninsula Players, Northern Sky Theatre, First Stage, Children’s Theatre of Madison and Walt Disney World.
  • At the annual Region III Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Ripon enters associate productions and sends talented students to compete in various theatre arts. Amanda Finn ’14 won the national competition for theatre journalism and advocacy in Washington, D.C., in the spring of 2013. James Balistreri ’19 was an Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition semi-finalist and a Design and Technical Management finalist in 2018.

Facilities

Benstead Theatre Shines

Benstead Theatre is located in the C.J. Rodman Center for the Arts, home to music, fine arts and theatre. The theatre is an innovative flexible-space black-box. It includes a proscenium opening, stage deck and a fly gallery, allowing plays to be staged in arena, thrust, environmental or proscenium depending upon the director and designers’ creative vision. The facility is dedicated to the theatre department so rehearsals and construction occur right in the space. First-year students who have experienced only proscenium staging in high school find Benstead Theatre a new and exciting place to perform and work.

The theatre is supported by lighting and sound control boards that are replaced with the latest equipment on a regular rotation; fully equipped scene and costume shops; a design studio; an acting studio; and a makeup room large enough to double as a rehearsal space.

Past Productions

The Ripon College Theatre Department features collaboration. High-quality theatre demands close collaboration, and in the Ripon Theatre Department collaboration is a way of life. Students who are part of the production team as stage managers, assistant directors and designers are full members of the creative team at weekly production meetings, contributing to the discussion the director and the designers have in working out the details, designs and staging. Many of our Certificates of Merit from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre festival are related to the strength of the production ensemble and production unity.

Selected titles from the theatre department’s most recent production history:


Fall 2022

God of Carnage theatre production at Ripon College

God of Carnage

by Yasmina Reza

The Thanksgiving Play

by Larissa Fasthorse


Spring 2022

The Great American Trailer Park Musical theatre production at Ripon College

The Great American Trailer Park Musical

by Betsy Kelso and David Nehls


Fall 2021

After the Blast theatre production at Ripon College

After the Blast

by Zoe Kazan

Everybody theatre production at Ripon College

Everybody

by Branden Jacob-Jenkins


Spring 2021

7 Short Farces theatre production over Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic

7 Short Farces

by Anton Chekhov


Fall 2020

Spoon River Anthology theatre production at Ripon College

Spoon River Anthology

by Edgar Lee Masters

Molly Sweeney theatre production at Ripon College

Molly Sweeney

by Brian Friel


Spring 2020

The Comedy of Errors theatre production at Ripon College

The Comedy of Errors

by William Shakespeare


Fall 2019

Play Nice theatre production at Ripon College

Play Nice

by Robin Rice

The Fantasticks theatre production at Ripon College

The Fantasticks

by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones

Alumni Profiles

Lindsey Hoel-NedsLindsey Hoel-Neds, Class of 2003

Major: English
Minor: Theatre, education
Graduate Degree: Master's of arts in theatre for youth, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin (in process)
Employment: English teacher and drama director, Waukesha, Wisconsin, South High School; and Cambridge (Wisconsin) High School (through spring 2010)

"When I tell other theatre educators about my experiences at Ripon, they are amazed that I was able to work on every show and do everything from acting to directing to props to costumes. No one leaves Ripon without truly understanding that everyone in the theatre is valuable."


Adam KruegerAdam Krueger, Class of 2007

Majors: Theatre, business administration
Graduate Degree: Master's degree in advertising, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts (in process)
Post-Graduate Theatre Experience: Associate production manager (12-show season) and later subscriptions coordinator (14,000 annual subscribers), Huntington Theatre Company, Boston, Massachusetts
Employment: Senior accounts analyst, Boston University

"My training at Ripon allowed me to jump in (to my first job at the Huntington) without hesitation, impress my peers and make strong connections to professionals in the industry."


Joe LulloJoe Lullo, Class of 2004

Major: Theatre
Minor: English
Graduate Degree: Master's of fine arts in acting, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin (in process)

Post-Graduate Theatre Experience:

  • Apprentice company 2010, American Players Theatre, Spring Green, Wisconsin
  • St. Croix Valley Summer Theatre, River Falls, Wisconsin
  • St. Croix Off-Broadway Dinner Theatre, Hudson, Wisconsin
  • CLIMB Theatre, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Missoula Children’s Theatre, Missoula, Montana
  • Teatro Del Pueblo, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Employment: Teaching assistant, acting; University of Wisconsin Theatre Department, Madison, Wisconsin

"I have talked to many people in the professional theatre community who know of Ripon and regard it as a top-notch undergraduate theatre program. I am so fortunate to have been a part of such a dedicated and inspiring program."


Anne NegriAnne Negri, Class of 2003

Major: Theatre
Minors: French, K-12 teaching certification in theatre & French
Graduate Degree: Master's of fine arts in theatre for youth, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

Post Graduate Theatre Experience:

  • St. Croix Summer Theatre, River Falls, Wisconsin
  • First Stage Children’s Theatre, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Original children’s plays: The Dancing Dog & Fly/Lyf (KCACTF Theatre for Young Audiences Award)

Employment: Free-lance teaching artist, playwright, dramaturg, actress and puppeteer

"My professors (at Ripon) were concerned with mentoring the whole artist, someone who knows something about every aspect of the theatre. My theatre education was personal and meaningful, and the impact of those four years has deeply affected my life as a theatre artist."


Joe TruesdaleJoe Truesdale, Class of 2007

Majors: Self-designed mass media management
Post-Graduate Theatre Experience:

  • Radio on-air personality
  • High school forensics coach

Employment: Radio air talent for Mountain Dog Media: News-Talk 1450 KFIZ and K107.1 WFON, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

"The small class sizes and individualized education really helped launch me into the career I possess today."