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The ratio of students to faculty in Theatre Arts classes averages approximately 10:1 at Saint Mary's. This allows students more one-on-one time with professors. Freshmen are given the same opportunities to participate in main stage productions as other Theatre Arts majors – there is no waiting period to become involved on- or off-stage. Since there are no graduate students with whom to compete, juniors and seniors become even more eligible for major roles as well as directing, design and management opportunities.
The Theatre Arts Department typically stages four shows each year on the Winona Campus. Two to three shows are mounted in the Page Theatre; one or two shows are either in the Valencia Arts Center Studio Theatre or the Performance Center Studio Theatre; and once a year, a show is produced in a London studio theatre. Along with the main stage series, the student-directed studio series also provides more opportunities. The main stage season is chosen by Theatre Arts faculty and staff for its diversity in terms of playwrights, periods, genres and styles. See our performances page for current and past productions.
The Page Theatre is a 450-seat proscenium theatre with state-of-the-art technology. The Valencia Arts Center Studio Theatre is a large black box space that seats up to 150 patrons and can be configured in multiple ways. The Performance Center Studio Theatre is a small black box theatre seating approximately 50 to 75.
Saint Mary's faculty and staff hold numerous degrees from institutions around the country. Each has professional theatre, as well as substantial teaching, experience including acting, directing, designing and management. You will find faculty who are dedicated to teaching and mentoring students in a small, liberal arts setting.
Depending on their career goals, students are encouraged to chose one of the Theatre Arts major's Areas of Concentration. This will aid students in choosing their courses over the four-year residency. Students are given the opportunity to come before the faculty at the end of their sophomore year to discuss their progress. Faculty will then make suggestions for improvement and changes, aiding the student in attaining the desired outcome of a career in theatre. Weekly office hours allow for "drop by" advising.
The Page Series brings in a number of professional guest artists each year including classical, jazz and modern dance companies; music ensembles; and theatre for audiences of all ages. With this series comes a multitude of opportunities to work in technical areas including load-ins, light hangs, sound and technology setup, and load-outs. Winona also boasts the Great River Shakespeare Festival which offers opportunities for internships and employment on- and off-stage, as well as administrative work, during the summer months.
Many students settle in larger cities such as Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Saint Louis, New York, etc. to pursue careers in professional theatre. Occasionally, students will continue their training by attending graduate school or a conservatory program and some complete the M.Ed. program at Saint Mary's in order to teach in secondary schools. Many of our students also opt for careers in other fields, using transferable skills to succeed in many different kinds of work environments. Meet some of our alumni...
Every year, our junior Theatre Arts majors travel to London to study. While in London, students attend shows, study acting with a British coach, mount a full theatrical production, and travel to other sites throughout Great Britain. Acting students also have the opportunity to register for the Dublin Workshop, a two-week intensive program at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland. Those enrolled in the workshop attend shows and travel in Ireland.
Judy Myers, M.F.A.
Chair, Theatre & Dance Department
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
700 Terrace Heights #1458
Winona, MN 55987-1399
(800) 635-5987, Ext. 6686