Theatre and Dance Department

Conveying the drama and limitless scope of the human condition through live acting or dance performance is a form of creative expression dating to ancient Greece.  

At Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, the Theatre and Dance Department provides undergraduates with a rich grounding in the skills and methods needed to pursue a career or further study in these fine art concentrations.

Theatre and Dance at Saint Mary's

Theatre students at Saint Mary's develop pre-professional talent in performance, musical theatre, design, production, and management. The dance minor complements a theatre major and offers a diverse range of courses from Dance History to Technique.

Majors and Minors

Lights, Camera, Action! Walterman accepted into top film school [video]

“Saint Mary’s helped me find my artistic voice, be a leader on campus, and provide me the space to make these videos,” Walterman said. “And I formed close relationships with faculty who helped me get internships and jobs. I’ve grown so much. I wanted to be an individual, not a number. I wanted to be known. It definitely happened here.” Read more ›

Saint Mary’s to present ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Department of Theatre and Dance will present the Shakespearean comedy Much Ado About Nothing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, March 30-April 1, and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 2, at the Academy Theatre in the Valéncia Arts Center. The war is over. Don John, the rebellious brother of […] Read more ›

Musical theatre production examines effects of mental illness

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Department of Theatre and Dance’s contemporary rock musical Next to Normal will explore how a suburban household copes with crisis. Under the direction and musical direction of Judy Myers, Next to Normal will showcase the vocal talents of Saint Mary’s students through an energetic pop/rock score with more […] Read more ›
Bryan Moore '13, professional dancer

A whirlwind of success

Although it’s early fall, professional dancer Bryan Charles Moore ’13 is already dreaming of a white Christmas. In November, the national tour of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas will begin and women in red velvet dresses and men in top hats will be twirling across the stage to the tune of that iconic Christmas song. Children […] Read more ›

No more Mr. Nice Guy—at least on TV

Edward Gelhaus’ LinkedIn profile describes him as “A nice guy.” The 2006 alumnus and successful Hollywood actor wants to remind people of his true persona, because his latest roles portray him as just the opposite. “I seem to be only playing mean villains,” Gelhaus said. “After you shave your head and get a few muscles, […] Read more ›

Saint Mary’s arts programming receives significant funding

Arts programming at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota has received more than $180,000—including recent grants of $100,000 from the Hiawatha Education Foundation and more than $75,000 from the Minnesota State Arts Board—in support of performances and programming for the 2016-17 seasons at the Saint Mary’s University Performance Center and Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA). […] Read more ›

Unique Theatre Scholarships and Abroad Experience

The Saint Mary's theatre program awards special audition-based scholarships to incoming students. Students majoring in theatre are also encouraged and expected to participate in the theatre semester abroad in London. 

Opportunities to Perform and Connect With Community

There are multiple opportunities to participate in performances on the Winona Campus every year for both concentrations and theatre students may also participate in a production staged in London during a semester taught there each fall.

Saint Mary's also hosts the Minnesota Conservatory of the Arts, a community arts organization serving Winona and surrounding communities. Any student is welcome to volunteer and connect with the community.

Theatre and Dance Major Outcomes

Department faculty are committed to inspiring students for a lifelong pursuit of theatre and dance as a profession, avocation, or as a personal source of delight and entertainment. Students gain an understanding and appreciation of theatre arts and dance that is consistent with the mission of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. They also graduate prepared to explore entry-level positions in theatre or dance around the country, or to pursue further graduate studies in these art forms.

Goals for Our Students

  • Engaging in the department’s curriculum or productions facilitates the development of the following knowledge, skills and dispositions
  • Cultural awareness and sensitivity by understanding how theatre functions within a particular historical and cultural context
  • Problem solving and critical thinking by analyzing dramatic literature for interpretation and production
  • An aesthetic sensibility by engaging in the practice and process of theatrical production and discovering meaningful approaches to dramatic criticism
  • Research and communication skills by engaging in efficient and ethical research on various topics of theatre
  • Specific knowledge of important theatrical movements, works of dramatic literature, and performance theory from the past and present


Jimmy Bickerstaff, Ph.D.

Theatre and Dance - Associate Professor, Theatre and Dance - Department Chair

Saint Mary's Hall, SM312

Campus Box: #1422

(507) 457-6694

Jimmy Bickerstaff Ph.D.
Gary Diomandes, Ph.D.

London Theatre - Program Director, London Study Abroad Program

Saint Mary's Hall, SM305

Campus Box: #1454

(507) 457-1718

Gary Diomandes Ph.D.
Christine Martin

Theatre and Dance - Adjunct Dance Faculty

Valencia Arts Center, VAC

Campus Box: # 49

(507) 453-5501

Christine Martin
Judy Myers, M.F.A.

Theatre and Dance - Department Chair, Theatre and Dance - Professor

Saint Mary's Hall, SM306

Campus Box: #1458

(507) 457-6686

Tammy Schmidt, M.F.A.

Theatre and Dance / Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts - Assistant Professor

Valencia Arts Center, VAC

Campus Box: # 49

(507) 453-5502

Tammy Schmidt M.F.A.
Jason Underferth, M.F.A.

Performance Center - Technical Director

Performance Center, PC144

Campus Box: # 83

(507) 457-1720

Jason Underferth M.F.A.
Walter Elder, M.F.A.

Theatre and Dance - Assistant Professor

Saint Mary's Hall, SM308

Campus Box: #1510

(507) 457-1518

Walter Elder M.F.A.