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ESU Theatre Academics + Programs


Welcome to Emporia State University Theatre. For more than a century, ESU Theatre has trained generations of professional theatre artists, educators, and scholars. Housed in the School of Visual and Performing Arts, theatre students receive one-on-one mentorship vis-á-vis industry professionals, a clearly defined path towards matriculation, and hands-on artistic opportunities on and off stage that enrich and diversify their resumes. Every student receives a full faculty review each semester that highlights individual strengths and opportunities for development, and a senior capstone course prepares each graduate with the tools and knowledge to thrive while attaining their professional “next step.” Students can earn a BFA or BA degree in theatre, or gain certification to become a high school speech and theatre teacher in our BSE program. Through our affiliation with the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival our students are part of a vital and thriving national theatre.

Undergraduate programs

Discover our undergraduate degrees, which include majors and minors in theatre and a teaching field degree.


There are three basic types of production in which the student may be involved as a member of the cast or crew: Department productions, Summer Theatre and Lab productions. Lab productions are short works usually generated by classes or student directors. Other student opportunities include:

Educational Theatre Company

Sponsored by the Department of Communication and Theatre, the students who comprise the Educational Theatre Company, serve as an academic resource pool in performing dramatic presentations of plays, poetry, stories, novels, non-fiction, and original scripts before classes in all academic areas of the university. The company also provides its services to educational groups off campus. The coordinator, with the supervision of the faculty sponsor, works with the company to prepare scripts and scenes that will serve the various requests made by different academic units. The company has a student coordinator selected by the theatre faculty. Members of the company are selected by audition and are enrolled in TH 377 for academic credit. For additional information contact Dennis Turney, Jr at the faculty sponsor.

ZOIKS! Improv Group

ZOIKS! Is an affiliated student organization and receives funding support from student government. Members rehearse weekly and perform at university functions throughout the year. Like ETC, they also represent the program at schools, with civic groups and at various meetings. On occasion, ZOIKS! Artistic director is assisted by a Business Manager and Technical Director. All leadership positions are elected members of the company, which is sponsored, by Chris Lohkamp. Membership is by audition.


(The Pantomime and Non-Traditional Theatre Society) is a student organization that explores performance outside of the traditional theatre norms. Members spend the semester writing and directing original pieces culminating in an hour long performance of 30 two-minute scenes in an order randomly selected by the audience. The P.A.N.T.S Artistic Director is assisted by a Business Director and Technical Director. All leadership positions are elected members of the company, which is sponsored, by Chris Lohkamp. Membership is by audition.


Students enrolled in Directing (TH 426) present 10 minute plays and cuttings from full-length plays throughout the academic year. Consult the Student Production Call Board for additional information.


This national theatre honorary provides opportunities for service and performance. The Nu Rho chapter - organized in the spring of 2014 after many years of inactivity. The faculty sponsor is Pete Rydberg


The Theatre Department usually maintains several paid student staff positions. The number of positions varies due to budget allocations and the needs of the department. Positions will be assigned to the Costume Shop, the Scene Shop, and to the Director of Theatre. Additional positions are filled as budgets allow. Students assume positions in production areas to assist with routine operation and maintenance of the shops and daily activities necessary for the technical support of current university theatre productions. All hourly positions are paid at the current minimum hourly rate.


Students must apply initially at the student employment office and must satisfy the minimum requirements of the job description as posted. Theatre majors must satisfy the standards as required by the academic eligibility policy.

Work Study Program

The student employment office and the financial aid office will determine a student’s eligibility for the federal work study program. Most positions will be available to students who qualify for work study funding.