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Visual & Performing Arts Majors

Theatre Arts and Speech

If you are looking for an opportunity to get involved in the arts, Grand View is the place to be. You can get on stage or in the studio early and often. Small class sizes guarantee personal attention from the faculty. The theatre arts major and minor are student-oriented. Students learn one-on-one and are prepared for work in the theatre, graduate school, or many other professions that require communication and collaboration with others.

At Grand View, anyone can be involved. It isn't required to be a major in order to join the fun.  The Theatre Department puts on four productions each year from a variety of genres and periods, including a children's play and a student-produced show. Performance, design and backstage opportunities are open to everyone on campus.

All productions are performed in our thrust theatre that contains state of the art computer-controlled equipment, digital sound editing, and computer aided drafting and design. The Theatre Arts major is a dynamic, flexible, inclusive and powerful springboard to tomorrow.

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Career Options

Graduates with a Theatre Arts major enjoy virtually unlimited opportunities. Professional work in theatre or the other arts; graduate schools in the arts and in related fields; teaching in secondary schools, colleges, and universities; work in business and industry; work in government and the private sector are just a few examples. Graduates with a degree in Theatre Arts from Grand View have gone into graduate and professional programs across the globe, usually with full scholarships, fellowships, or assistantships. Recent alumni have been placed in:

• Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, London
• Neighborhood Playhouse, New York
• Yale University
• Universities of Arizona & Arizona State
• University of Nevada, Las Vegas
• University of Iowa
• University of Indiana
• University of Illinois, Chicago
• Wayne State University, Detroit
• Minnesota State University, Mankato
• The University of Montana
• University of Northern Iowa

Our students have performed, directed, designed, or managed at the Tony-Award-winning Alley Theatre in Houston; the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis; at the Yale Rep; the Alabama and Oklahoma Shakespeare Festivals; in New York; in California; in feature films and on television; in educational, industrial, and training films; in summer repertory companies; and in regional and dinner theatres across the United States and in England.

"Everything I learned in the Theatre Arts at Grand View has carried over into my career and enhanced it. My mentor at Grand View was former professor Doug Larche. He told me, 'You can do whatever you want to in life. If you focus on a career in theatre arts, you can make it happen.' Well, it's happening–in film, video, television, and on the stage. From directing the Ebony Theatre Company to appearing with the St. Louis Black Repertory Company to a graduate degree in the theatre arts."

-Margaret ('Ret) DeBrown
Class of 1989

Courses and Requirements

Departmental Courses Required of All Theatre Arts Majors:

  • Acting for Everyone
  • Theatre Activity (1 credit each of 3 semesters)
  • Theatre Production and Stagecraft
  • Theatre Literature
  • Script Analysis
  • Design for Theatre
  • Theatre History
  • Directing I
  • Theatre Studio
  • Senior Seminar in Speech and Theatre Arts

Plus 15 semester credits from the following:

  • Shakespeare
  • Theatrical Make-Up
  • The Performer’s Voice
  • Acting II
  • Acting Styles
  • Theatre Arts for Children
  • Internship
  • Special Topics

For detailed course descriptions, please go to the current catalog HERE


A broad range of internships and work experiences are available to the Theatre Arts major. Students have been placed with the Iowa Film Commission, Des Moines Community Theatre, Civic Center of Greater Des Moines, Ballet Iowa, the Iowa State Historical Museum-Arts Outreach Program, film production companies, recording studios, and others.


A renewable scholarship ranging from $150 - $1,250 is awarded to new full-time day students who demonstrate talent in acting, design, technical theatre, playwriting, or directing.

To qualify, students must:

  • Visit campus.
  • Meet with the Chair of the Theatre Department.
  • Be recommended by the department.
  • Apply and be accepted for admission
Reference Documents
Honorary Theatre Society

Alpha Psi Omega is the National Honorary Theatre Society.  You don't have to be a theatre arts major to join, all are welcome!

Additional Theatre Arts Opportunities

Each year the Theatre Department travels to the regional gathering of the Kennedy Center of American College Theatre Festival.  Students participate in acting and design competitions, attend workshops and see productions. 

Each summer the Viking Theatre hosts the 7-11 Theatre Project, an original play festival.  Grand View students have won awards at the festival ranging from Best Playwright to the Audience Choice Award.

We also host guest artists from theatre and storytelling arenas.  Recent visits include storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston, Improvisation group The Bearded Men, and musical duo Storyhill.

Des Moines has a thriving theatre and arts scene.  There are many chances to see and participate in productions, like seeing Broadway shows or helping with local community theatres.