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There’s nothing quite like the captivating story of the stage. And when it comes to theatre at SVSU, Cardinals tell that story at the local and national level. Performing far beyond the classroom, Cardinals have gained a reputation in both our region and at the national competition of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, which draws more than 600 different universities together to compete in and elevate the culture of theatre. With the talented faculty, small class sizes and versatile range of productions, our theatre students receive the personal attention and challenge they need to defy expectations and land defining roles, whether they’re cast as a lead or shaping a production from behind the scenes. At SVSU, you’ll find your voice and your place in creating theatrical performances that endure. Your Cardinal story starts when you apply.

Meet A Cardinal

For Karli Jenkins, theatre has always served as a space where childhood wonder comes alive. Karli’s first experience came through SVSU’s summer theater camp for elementary and junior high students. As a fourth grader, Karli found a stage to discover herself as an actress. The lessons she gained that summer would deepen years later when she returned to earn her undergraduate degree at SVSU. Since that time, Karli’s not only graduated with her degree in theatre, but she has also taken the skills she gained and applied them to a much larger stage. Karli now works for one of the nation’s leading theatre companies for children, the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis. There, Karli grants a stage for thousands of children to experience the wonder that first captivated her young heart so many years ago, passing the love of theatre on to the next generation.

Course of Study

The world of theatre reflects a vivid creative landscape of artists and actors. That’s why our program at SVSU blends common core requirements with a customized set of courses to prepare you for the role you want to play — be it makeup artist or playwright. The faculty will expand your performance range — training you to act for the camera and to block for the stage. Here, your creativity will find expression through monologues, musical numbers and mood-setting scenes you’ll learn to craft. The knowledge you gain in the classroom will then apply directly to the stage as you participate in campus productions.


SVSU believes in supporting every student in the pursuit of their aspirations. Whether you find yourself drawn to center stage or you’re a technical genius in theatrical production, we offer financial resources to help you prepare for your eventual career goals. All theatre students are eligible for a program scholarship. To be considered, you must audition during a scheduled slot and according to the audition requirements. Scholarships are allotted based on individual performance and renewable for up to three years as long as you continue to meet the scholarship requirements. Click to read additional details on auditioning.

Student Opportunities

When you join theatre at SVSU, you step onto a national stage. SVSU is a member of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Committed to improving collegiate theatre throughout the United States, KCACTF partners with 600 colleges and universities throughout the country to encourage original and provocative theatre through competition and scholarship. SVSU scholars consistently perform well at the festival, earning awards and advancing to nationals in Washington, D.C. 

Career Options

The world of theatre offers career opportunities in performance, design, direction, playwriting, education and business. Through your courses, faculty will cultivate your passion and skill both on the stage and in the classroom, empowering you to confidently pursue the world of theatre according to your interests and goals. Whether you see yourself working in television or hope to teach drama at the collegiate level, your experiences with SVSU’s many productions will develop your talents and provide room for you to express yourself. On our stage, Cardinals find the wings they need to soar. So if your goal is Broadway or if your heart is set on becoming a broadcast executive, SVSU will help you get there. Explore more of the opportunities available to theatre students.


"The SVSU Theatre Department is right-sized for student success. I was put in the driver's seat from the moment I walked in. I found leadership roles that prepared me to excel, learned skills that enabled me to be an effective artist and administrator, and most importantly, was granted one-of-a-kind opportunities that catapulted my career into the professional arena."  ~ Brett Elliott, Executive Director, Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center

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Saginaw Valley State University


SVSU students address the needs of local and global communities through the integration of meaningful service and traditional instruction that incorporates reflection and critical thinking to enrich the learning experience. 

Saginaw Valley State University