Chicago's Professional Theatre
Take advantage of our proximity to one of the greatest theatre cities, and join classmates and faculty in attending theatrical performances in Chicago. See work ranging from Equity companies, professional touring shows, and the imaginative "storefront" theatre productions for which Chicago is well known.
Design and Technical Opportunities
Technical theatre students work closely with faculty to pursue their individual professional interests and develop the skills and portfolio necessary to work as theatre professionals. Unlike many other institutions, advanced students are given the responsibility of working as a designer on a full production with a departmental budget.
North Central College is committed to bringing in Chicago professionals each year to teach, direct, or design. It is imperative to your growth as an artist to continue learning new perspectives during your college career. This also allows you to build relationships and extend your range of networking.
Working alongside a faculty member, you can create a specialized topic of interest that may not be offered as a course. Subjects range from commissioned playwriting and solo performance to costume design and European performance art. Independent studies place the learning in the students' hands. Hear alumnus Nick Wehrwein describe how independent study helped him achieve his dream.
Our excellent reputation and long-standing relationships within the Chicago theatre community enable several annual opportunities to apply for internships with prominent theatre companies. North Central College is one of the few institutions from which the Equity theatre companies of American Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and The Other Theatre Company regularly cast students as understudies, ensemble interns, or cast members. Students have also received internships at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, First Folio Theatre, and TimeLine Theatre.
Master Classes and Workshops
You’ll be able to meet professional actors, singers, dancers, technicians, agents, and casting directors. You will learn from these seasoned professionals in weekend workshops, one-day intensives, and advanced seminars. Ask questions, trade stories, and develop an understanding of what it takes to make it in the professional world.
North Central College faculty actively support your professional development. They will assist you with one-on-one coaching of songs and monologues, provide advice on completing applications and design portfolios, and help to find summer internships and opportunites. Faculty also help prepare interested students for large annual regional auditions, such as the University/Resident Theatre Association (URTA) auditions.
This program provides grants of up to $5,000 for for individual research projects and accompanying travel. Theatre students have received money to visit locations such as the following:
- Ireland - to learn the regional dialect in preparation for work as a dialect coach
- France - to study Ensemble Theatre and relate it to U.S. practice
- London and New York City - to analyze the differences of musical theatre performance styles
- U.S. Regional Theatre Festivals - to propose strategies for actor success at a "cattle call"
Housed at North Central College, Self-Employment in the Arts (SEA) assists artists of all kinds in advancing their entrepreneurial skills and knowledge. Through SEA, performing artists learn key business concepts that help promote success. SEA also hosts an annual regional conference that focuses on career development for creative professionals, to which NCC students are provided a substantial discount.
Student Initiatives: The Company
The Company is a student-run organization that mounts a variety of activities annually, such as storytelling and snacks at the Pfeiffer Hall "Ghost Night," original student-produced One-Acts and Monologues, and improv nights. The Company receives college funding for student-proposed ideas. It is a wonderful opportunity to try out new work, or to experiment in a different creative capacity, within the supportive community of your peers.
Scholarships are available to all students, regardless of major. Scholarships are merit-based, and vary in amount depending on the quality of your audition or design/technical portfolio and interview. If you receive a full theatre scholarship, you are required to work on one show per term in some capacity (cast or crew). You also must sign up for one technical term per year. This will allow you to obtain additional production experience. When you are not on tech term, you are expected to put in ten hours of production work (shop hours) per term. (This is part of, not in addition to, the shop hours required for courses such as THE 115 - Practicum.) Limited theatre scholarships with fewer requirements are available to students who are Music or Music Education Majors; these enable you to complete your obligations to both Music and Theatre. Participating in multiple aspects of production through the scholarship program gives you broader experience and deepens your knowledge as a theatre practitioner.
North Central College hosts an annual showcase in Chicago featuring graduating Theatre Performance and Musical Theatre majors. This popular event is well attended by established local agents, casting directors, and other theatre professionals. Hear alumna Lauren Omelson describe how pivotal this opportunity was to her commercial success.
Student Directed Series
Students are selected from a competitive proposal process to direct a fully staged production that is mounted as part of North Central College's Theatre season. These students receive department support to direct their work in one of our state-of-the-art spaces, including original plays or work by emerging local playwrights.
If you wish to expand your education abroad, the Office of International Programs can help match you with one of over fifty programs worldwide. For instance, you may join North Central classmates in London and participate in an international exchange program to experience the theatrical culture of England.