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 skills through five areas of study including acting/directing, musical theatre, design/technology, dance, and theatre studies. Also offered are minors in musical theatre, dance, and theatre (with performance or design/technology options).

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 ›
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.

Bryan Moore '13

Actor/dancer, New York City

"At Saint Mary’s I had many hands-on opportunities, both on-stage and off, that I would have never had at a larger school. My experiences playing leading roles, as well as my coursework, really prepared me for all aspects of my career."

John “J.M.” Montecalvo '09

Freelance Lighting Designer, Los Angeles

“I get to do stuff at Universal (Studios) that normal people wouldn’t get to. I go in and out of sound stages. I get to drive my car through the park at night. And I get to work on premieres and with people I would never have gotten to otherwise.”

Todd Von Bastiaans '94

President, Alios, Las Vegas, Nevada

“Saint Mary’s University offered me the flexibility to explore every aspect of theatre until I found one that suited both my interests and my abilities ... students are given every opportunity to explore new opportunities, whether it be in design, performance or technical aspects. You don’t just graduate with a major, you graduate with an experience.” 

Katie Sapper '14

Actress, Los Angeles

"Saint Mary’s prepares you for going out into the real world. The sole reason why I am able to memorize as quickly as I do is because of the two-week intensive at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin—part of our London study abroad program.”

Edward Gelhaus '06

Actor, Los Angeles

“Saint Mary’s helps you find out who you are...At the end of the day, you can take acting classes anywhere, but to have people who are genuine and build that kind of a support system is unbelievable.”

Timothy Markus '07

Production Stage Manager, Porgy and Bess International Tour, Germany, Italy, Switzerland & Spain

“The Saint Mary’s theatre major is completely hands-on. Instead of just graduating, I left SMU with a resumé and the experience I needed to succeed.”

JC Clementz '06

Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, casting director

“At Saint Mary’s I was not only provided with a foundation of knowledge, but also introduced to a network of theatre artists who have offered support and helped advance my career.”

Georgeann Charuhas '96

Three-time best actress nominee, Chicago’s Jeff Award

“Saint Mary’s is a place where I was truly able to use every part of me — heart, body and soul.

Tom Conry ’12

Actor, South Dakota Shakespeare Company

“Saint Mary’s London Study abroad program is entirely unique and will be an experience you will draw on for the rest of your theatre career and the rest of your life.”

Jack Walterman '17

Graduate student

Attending U.S.C. Division of Film and Television Production MFA program

“Saint Mary’s helped me find my artistic voice, be a leader on campus, and provided me the space to make these videos. I formed close relationships with faculty who helped me get internships and jobs. I wanted to be an individual, not a number. I wanted to be known. It definitely happened here.”

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

Alumni @ Work

Faculty

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

jbickers@smumn.edu

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

gdiomand@smumn.edu

Gary Diomandes Ph.D.
Christine Martin

Theatre and Dance - Adjunct Dance Faculty

Valencia Arts Center, VAC

Campus Box: # 49

(507) 453-5501

cmartin@smumn.edu

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

jmyers@smumn.edu

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

tschmidt@smumn.edu

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

Performance Center - Technical Director

Performance Center, PC144

Campus Box: # 83

(507) 457-1720

jaunderf@smumn.edu

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

welder@smumn.edu

Walter Elder M.F.A.