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Cottey offers BA in theatre, a minor in theatre, and a BA in secondary education-theatre.

Theatre students performing Disney's The Descendants on stage at Cottey
College theatre students perform The Sweet Science of Bruising on stage at Cottey

Program Description

This degree’s purpose is to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of theatre. The student may choose from two concentrations: a general focus in theatre or theatre as an agent for social change.

The general focus in theatre concentration seeks to provide students with the foundation needed to pursue careers in acting, design, stage management, directing, the entertainment industry, and graduate study. The student will gain knowledge of theatre history and dramatic literature, as well as practical experience in production and performance.

Our theatre as an agent of social change focus allows students to explore the history, potential, and skills necessary for the art of theatre to incite social change. It incorporates the unique aspects of a Cottey College education (specifically emphasis on women’s leadership, social responsibility, and global awareness). Students will develop skills necessary for leadership in this dynamic application of theatre.

Cottey’s dance program is also part of the Theatre Department. Visit our dance page to learn more! 

Signature Courses

  • Play Production

    Stage lighting at Cottey College

    Guided participation in major theatrical production as actress, assistant director, designer, stage manager, dramaturg, or technical support (minimum of 45 hours of work time as crew member or crew head).

  • Stage Management

    Discover the art and craft of stage management through class work, observation and production exploration. Learn practical techniques for managing theatrical productions in preparation for academic and professional production responsibility.

  • Theatre as an Agent of Social Change

    Theatre for social change has far-reaching implications. It can be used as a teaching tool, a vehicle for self-study, as a problem solving technique for groups of any size, and as community building. Those who have expertise in this area will be equipped to facilitate social change using the medium of theatre in a variety of venues, thus enhancing their abilities as artists, educators, and catalysts for positive human growth. Students may go on to graduate studies in psychology, therapy, and other related fields.

Career Outcomes

  • Career Outcomes

    Many graduates of Cottey’s BA in theater pursue careers* as:

    • Directors
    • Designers
    • Stage Managers
    • Actors
    • Dramaturgs
    • Producers
    • Publicity
    • Technicians
    • Prop Artisans
    • Technical Directors
    • Corporate Liaisons for Diversity and Equality

    *Some careers may require post-graduate education

  • Student Employment

    Many theatre majors find summer employment while studying at Cottey. Our students have worked with:

    • The Santa Fe Opera
    • Wal-Mart Amp
    • Worlds of Fun Kansas City
    • Community theatres in their hometowns
    • Summer camps for children as theatre program directors
    • And more!

Theater Festival

  • Program Description

    Group of Cottey College theatre students competed in competition KCACTF

    The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students annually from colleges and universities across the country. KCACTF aims to:

    • Encourage, recognize, and celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater programs;
    • Provide opportunities for participants to develop their theater skills and insight, and achieve professionalism;
    • Improve the quality of college and university theater in the United States; and
    • Encourage colleges and universities to give distinguished productions of new plays, especially those written by students; the classics, revitalized or newly conceived; and experimental works.

    Since its inception, KCACTF has given more than 400,000 college theater students the opportunity to have their work critiqued, improve their dramatic skills, and receive national recognition for excellence. More than 16 million theatergoers have attended approximately 10,000 festival productions nationwide.

  • Awards

    Cottey Theatre Students Holding Awards On Stage

    Students have won awards from KC-ACTF in the following areas:

    • The Irene Ryan Acting Award
    • Dramaturgy
    • Lighting Design
    • Set Design
    • Allied Design
    • Choreography
    • Fight Direction
    • Musical Direction
    • Hair and Wig Design
    • Makeup Design
    • Poster and Program Design
    • Sound Design
    • Stage Management

    Additionally, students have been selected to attend workshops in New York City with “The Open Jar Institute” and “Singers on Stage.”


  • Theatre Scholarships

    The theatre department awards scholarships up to $1,500 to incoming students each year. These scholarships may be renewed annually.

    To apply for a scholarship in theatre, the student should fill out an application. Priority Deadline is February 1st.

Theatre students performing Disney's The Descendants on stage at Cottey

Why Cottey’s theatre program is unique.

Students pursuing a theatre degree at Cottey can hit the ground running and immediately audition and be cast in plays, design, and contribute in all areas of production, unlike many larger institutions where only upper-level students are considered for productions. Cottey is located in Nevada, Missouri and perfectly situated between Joplin and Kansas City, with Branson nearby. This allows students to pursue internships and experiential learning positions with larger theatre companies, non-profits, and other businesses.

Offering two tracks for a BA in theatre and theatre as an agent of social change unites the power of theatre with the strengths and goals of a Cottey College education. Cottey has the opportunity to be an innovator in this area and to offer its unique brand/focus beyond what other institutions offer. The world has seen a shift in how we interact with one another and the importance of recognizing diversity and inclusion. Theatre practitioners are at the forefront of helping to effect change, and Cottey will be one of only a handful of colleges to offer a degree in theatre for social change.

Laura Chaney

Professor of Theatre & Director of Center for Arts
Doug Harper

Assistant Technical Director and Shop Foreman

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Sample Program Plan Download Now Red Brick Fine Arts Building at Cottey College