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If your dream is to act in the greatest roles of the theatre or direct powerful performances, Dordt’s Performance Emphasis will equip you as a performer, collaborator, and leader in creative environments.

When you major in Theatre Performance, you’ll gain experience in all aspects of performing. You won’t simply grow as a member of the theatre—you’ll develop as a Christ follower too.

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two female students dressed in costumes perform on stage

Program Overview

Being a part of the Theatre Arts Department at Dordt University means more than just earning a degree. Through this program, you will become part of a community that shares the same passions that you have.

You’ll build a common foundation in the Making Theatre class, working with other students as you develop your skills. From there you’ll dive into specialization classes such as Character Development, Advanced Directing, and Scene Study.

Two actresses run through lines in a class

What You'll Learn

The Performance emphasis focuses on helping you prepare for a career as an actor or director. Your coursework will give you the tools you need to thrive in the theatre, whether you work behind the scenes as a director, content developer, or acting coach, or you shine on stage (or screen) as an actor or performer.

What You Can Do With A Performance Emphasis

Upon graduation, you’ll have the skills and tools you need to jump into the theatre arts job market. The Performance major equips you to work as an actor or director in multiple areas, from theatre of all levels to television and film.


A Dramaturg uses their expertise to provide important knowledge and interpretation of the production or work that they are overseeing.

Musical Theatre Performer

A Musical Theatre Performer provides entertainment to audiences through narratives and performances.


An Actor portrays a character or idea in different productions and performances.

Students studying theatre studies must take the following courses:

Foundation (common to all emphases):

Theatre Arts 102, 365, 366, 371, 380, 386; three credits from Theatre Arts
120, 204, 207, 307; six credits from Theatre Arts 103, 113, 230, 231, 232; a minimum of seven credits from Theatre
Arts 001; Philosophy 206.

Performance Emphasis:

Theatre Arts 120, 204, 207; Theatre Arts 220 or 320; English 312; six credits from Theatre Arts 307,
372, 382; four and a half credits from theatre arts courses numbered 102 or higher, Philosophy 350, Theology 241,
242, 352, up to three credits from Music 04, 010, 012, 018, 240.

View the catalog

  • Dance I: Fundamentals of Dance: An exploration of dance history, styles, and improvisation methods. A program focusing on the art and movement techniques of various dance styles. The course is tailored to each student’s abilities while challenging their knowledge and understanding. Practice and repetition will be key elements in this class, and will progress from the basics, adding more detailed analysis of the exercises. Satisfies one Core activity requirement.
  • The Actor’s Instrument: Voice and Movement: An integrated approach to developing vocal and physical agility in order to improve the expressive capability of performers and public speakers. This course includes performer well-being practices and foundational training in stage combat.
  • Improvisation: Generating for Performance: Improvisational thinking is a valuable skill for leaders, creatives, and anyone in collaborative and/or generative contexts. This course considers our human capacity for improvisation, its value in our lives, and its applications in any vocation. Students will expand their improvisational capacities in an active learning environment.
  • Dance II: Dance as Art: A deeper exploration of dance history, styles, and improvisation methods than 120. A program focusing on the art and movement technique of various dance styles, implementing information learned into beginning choreography. The course is tailored to each student’s abilities while challenging their knowledge and understanding. Practice and repetition will be key elements in this class, and will progress from the basics, adding more detailed analysis of the exercises. Satisfies one Core activity requirement.
  • Dance III: Dance Choreography and Performance: Apply foundational dance skills and improvisation to advance understanding of choreography techniques. Focus on creating dances of various styles for solos, small groups, and large groups, culminating in the choreography and performance in a live dance concert. Prerequisite:
    Theatre Arts 120 or 220; or permission of instructor.
  • The Actor’s Process: Character Development: An exploration of approaches to developing a role for the stage or screen. Students will study and experience various methods in character development and practice the specific skills required to adapt to different genres, periods, and mediums, including dialects, imagination work, movement and mask work, and styles of acting.
  • Scene Study: Apply foundational acting skills and advanced methods to develop roles for stage and screen. Students will work collaboratively to rehearse and perform scenes and develop audition repertoire. Recommended for students who have already taken other performance courses or have experience acting in Dordt productions.
  • Advanced Directing: Build on foundational skills to advance understanding of directing for the stage. Students will study concepts central to successful directing and apply them in and outside of class, culminating in the direction of a one-act play. Prerequisite: Theatre Arts 102; or permission of instructor.

See the course catalog for more information

Ready to take the next step?

Theatre Arts Center

As a Performance Major, you’ll have the opportunity to spend time in Dordt’s Theatre Arts Center. This location houses a theatre space, scene shop, make-up room, classroom, and the Fourth Avenue Theatre, a black box performance space which seats up to 140 audience members.

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six female dancers line up while dancing during performance

Student Stories

Dordt students and alumni use their gifts to make a difference in the world. Check out their stories to see how Defender Nation lives out our mission to work effectively toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life.

Overcoming through God

Brittany Bloemhof

Despite COVID putting Brittany's college experience on hold, her time at Dordt taught her to lean on God and grow into a more open-minded person.

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During her time at Dordt, Ellen was able to overcome her language barrier and prominent Indonesian accent and become heavily involved in theatre, digital content, and the international community.

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Kyle Fosse

With Kyle's first time at Dordt also being his first time out of Africa, he took the opportunity to grow and ran with it, becoming heavily involved in extracurriculars and the community that Dordt had to offer.

Kyle Fosse

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Theatre, Community, and Growth

Jacob Van Dyken

Although his work experience does not line up with his college degrees, Jacob's experience with Dordt's community and education prepared him for his job in which he is constantly interacting with people.

Jacob Van Dyken

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Connect with us

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