Academics | Theatre
Ripon College offers majors in Theatre and Theatre Education and minors in Theatre Production, Theatre Production in Education, and Dramatic Literature.
The department has featured movie stars Harrison Ford, Spencer Tracy and Frances Lee McCain in the past, and in recent years has seen graduates continue on to earn Masters of Fine Arts in Acting, Children’s Theatre and Design. We have been an active participant in the Region III Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, entering associate productions and sending talented students to compete in the contests held for the various theatre arts. Amanda Finn (’14) was selected to compete in the national competition for theatre journalism and advocacy in Washington DC in the spring of 2013.
While we are invested in nurturing artists and teachers for the theatre, we are a department for 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.
For majors and minors, the curriculum and production program creates a foundation of both practical experience and academic preparation in dramatic literature and history. Majors and minors are challenged to develop into insightful, responsible and knowledgeable theater artists acquainted with all aspects of the theatre and who participate in the collaborative process that characterizes the art of theatre.
- Courses & Requirements
- Unique Opportunities
- Past Productions
- Alumni Profiles
Courses & Requirements
The theatre department provides all interested students the opportunity to pursue their goals in the theatre. The curriculum and production program furnishes a strong undergraduate background in practical experience in the theatre and in the study of dramatic literature and history.
Benstead Theatre Shines
Benstead Theatre is located in the Rodman Center for the Arts which is home to music, fine arts and theatre. The theatre is an innovative flexible-space “black-box” which 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 make-up room large enough to double as a rehearsal space.
The theatre department encourages students to expand their world-view through off-campus study. The programs most useful to theatre majors are the Associated Colleges of the Midwest’s Chicago Program: Arts Focus and the London-Florence Program. In Chicago, students study urban culture, work as interns in a city theatre and develop an independent study project in theatre; on the L-F program, students receive an immersion experience with coursework in art/architecture, drama, literature and history that is supplemented by excursions to museums, galleries and theatres in England and Italy.
To learn more about Off-Campus study opportunities through Ripon College, click HERE.
All majors and most production minors publicly stage a short one act play as their capstone experience, bringing together their knowledge and experience into a realized production. Design and technical students can work closely with a play’s director while serving as costume, lighting, scenery or properties designer or assistant designer. Our acting students have opportunities only dreamed of at larger institutions where graduate students obtain the largest roles. At Ripon, an accomplished student will have the opportunity to play several leads in a wide variety of acting styles by graduation.
The 21st Century Season: New American Plays
The Liar by David Ives adapted from the comedy by Pierre Corneille October 2-5, 2013 A comic romp through Paris in 1643 as seen through the eyes of one of America’s funniest playwrights. The Liar is the story of a man who just can’t seem to tell the truth. Ives takes a classic and turns it into a fresh, funny farce with great appeal for a modern audience (Photos)
Rabbit Hole By David Lindsay-Abaire November 13-16, 2013 The 2007 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Drama is a moving play about a family moving ahead with a burden of grief. The play’s witty dialogue and compassionate treatment delivers great humor, profound loss and touching honesty.
The Spitfire Grill Music by James Valcq Lyrics and Book by Fred Alley March 5-8, 2014 A true Wisconsin musical filled with warmth, goodwill, and soaring melodies. This winner of the Richard Rodgers Production Award follows the story of a young woman from her parole from prison in Fond du Lac county to her search for a new life in a small northern town.
The One Act Play Festival April 16-18, 2014 A celebration of short new plays presented by young directors.
All plays and dates subject to change.
Tickets are free – reservations recommended – call 748-8791
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 Production History
17th & 18th Century
Modern and Contemporary
Rabbit Hole (Photos) The Liar (Photos) A Doll House Anatomy of Gray (Photos) Arcadia (Photos) A Plague of Angels (Photos) The Cripple of Inishmaan (Photos) Eurydice (Photos) Nickel and Dimed Top Girls Dancing at Lughnasa The Ash Girl (Photos) Picasso at the Lapin Agile The Importance of Being Earnest Story Theatre
All My Sons (Photos) Blood Wedding The Crucible The Bakkhai The Visit
Lindsey Hoel-Neds, Class of 2003
Major:English Minor:Theatre, Education Graduate Degree:Master’s of Arts in Theatre for Youth, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis. (in process)
Employment: English Teacher and Drama Director, Waukesha, Wis., South High School and Cambridge, Wis., High Schools (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 Krueger, Class of 2007
Majors:Theatre, Business Administration Graduate Degree:Master’s Degree in Advertising, Boston University, Boston, Mass. (in process) Post Graduate Theatre Experience:Associate Production Manager (12-Show season) and later Subscriptions Coordinator (14,000 annual subscribers), Huntington Theatre Company, Boston, Mass.
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 Lullo, Class of 2004 Major:Theatre Minor:English Graduate Degree:Master’s of Fine Arts in Acting, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis. (in process)
Post Graduate Theatre Experience:
- Apprentice company 2010, American Players Theatre, Spring Green, Wis.
- St. Croix Valley Summer Theatre, River Falls, Wis.
- St. Croix Off-Broadway Dinner Theatre, Hudson, Wis.
- CLIMB Theatre, Minneapolis, Minn.
- Missoula Children’s Theatre, Missoula, Mont.
- Teatro Del Pueblo, Minneapolis, Minn.
Employment: Teaching Assistant, Acting; University of Wisconsin Theatre Department, Madison, Wis.
“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 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, Ariz. (in process)
Post Graduate Theatre Experience:
- St. Croix Summer Theatre, River Falls, Wis.
- First Stage Children’s Theatre, Milwaukee, Wis.
- Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis, Minn.
- Original children’s plays: The Dancing Dog & Fly/Lyf (KCACTF Theatre for Young Audiences Award)
Employment: Freelance teaching artist, playwright, dramaturg, actress and puppeteer
“My professors [at Ripon] were concerned with mentoring the whole artist; [in educating] 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 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, Wis.
“The small class sizes and individualized education really helped launch me into the career I possess today.”