Theatre Program

Earn your bachelor’s in Theatre degree and explore your passion for the stage in a well-rounded program boasting a 100% employment rate. As a Theatre major at Hardin-Simmons University, you’ll prepare for multiple roles and careers in theatre — from acting to directing to design. Whatever your personal and professional aspirations are, reach them with HSU’s Theatre program.

As one of the leading Theatre degree programs inspired by Christian faith, Hardin-Simmons University provides unique opportunities to combine your love of theatre with your faith and values. Our Theatre degree graduates are always in high demand both on and off the stage. We focus on skills like accurate communication, building a strong work ethic, and adaptability — traits that are desired in every industry, not just theatre.

A Theatre Degree That’s Uniquely You

Theatre is an incredibly diverse career field. That’s why we’ve designed a Theatre program with multiple educational tracks to prepare you for the career of your dreams. Choose between the following tracks:

  • Acting
  • Musical theatre
  • Stage management
  • Theatre design

We also offer a Theatre minor to complement your major with skills in performing, managing, and design. If you’re interested in teaching theatre to students from elementary to high school, you should explore our Theatre Education degree.

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Program Contact

Victoria E Spangler-Associate Professor of Theatre at the College of Fine Arts

Victoria Spangler

Associate Professor of Theatre

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Why Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre from Hardin-Simmons?

A Well-Rounded Theatre Degree

Regardless of which track you choose for your theatre degree, you’ll receive experience in every facet of production — from acting to producing to technical design. Our theatre department produces six to eight shows a year, giving you many opportunities to practice new roles and see which ones are right for you.

Caring and Experienced Faculty

With smaller class sizes, our theatre program lets you receive the attention and support of our highly skilled faculty mentors. Faculty members specialize in design, dance/choreography, technical theatre, direction, and acting. From your first day to well beyond graduation, you’ll benefit from their expertise and assistance finding the most rewarding jobs for theatre majors like you.

Exceptional Career Preparation

We take great pride in our theatre degree program graduates and their many successes. On top of our 100% employment rate, many of our students find satisfying jobs for theatre majors within six months of graduation. Thanks to our diverse curriculum and focus on practical experience, our alumni are in high demand in graduate programs and professional organizations around the country.

What Can You Do With a Theatre Degree?

Theatre majors work in many different settings: film, television, the stage, writing, and education. Many of our theatre program graduates are accepted into prestigious graduate programs to continue their theatre education. The fundamental skills and knowledge you’ll accrue as you earn your degree in theatre will translate to many other careers outside of acting and directing, including managing, writing, and design.

Many jobs for theatre majors also offer excellent job security. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for actors is predicted to grow 32% over the next decade, more than triple that of most occupational fields. The BLS also predicts that employment for producers and directors will grow 24%, adding about 16,000 new jobs each year.

Jobs for Theatre Majors

What can you do with a theatre degree? These are just a few of your options.

  • Actor
  • Writer
  • Director
  • Producer
  • Teacher
  • Theatre manager
  • Costume and makeup artist
  • Dance choreographer
  • Voice actor and singer
  • Instrumental musician
  • Lighting specialist
  • Prop creator and manager
  • Set and stage designer
  • Stage manager
  • Costume designer
  • Box Office manager
  • Social Media promotions

Travel the World With Your Degree in Theatre

HSU’s theatre degree program gives you several exciting opportunities to travel the world with other theatre majors to see performances and gain real-world experience performing for others. Trips you’ll be able to take include:

  • New York City: This trip is filled with Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, workshops, and conversations with professionals. You’ll also have extra time to explore the city on your own.
  • Edinburgh, Scotland: Spend two weeks in Scotland at the International Fringe Festival — the world’s largest theatre festival. You’ll get to tour, perform, and see as many shows as you can as you travel up and down the Royal Mile.

In addition to these yearly trips, you’ll also have campus-wide opportunities for study abroad, including Summer I/II courses in Spain, an entire Spring semester in London, and more.

Program Details

Students seeking admission into the BFA Program (Acting and Musical Theatre tracks only) must audition for acceptance. Auditions dates are:

  • Nov. 20, 2023
  • Feb. 24, 2024
  • March 23, 2024
  • April 13, 2024
  • Or by appointment

Application for BFA Entrance Audition and/or Theatre Scholarship

Audition/Interview Requirements for HSU Department of Theatre BFA/Scholarship Auditions

BFA – Acting

All applicants interested in auditioning for the BFA degree in Acting must select an audition date and prepare the following audition materials in addition to the required application forms online.

Acting Audition Requirements:

  • Perform two age-appropriate, contrasting contemporary monologues
  • Perform one classical piece
  • (Have a fourth monologue of your choice prepared if so requested)
  • Each monologue should be memorized and 60-90 seconds in length
  • Applicants should have read the entire play from which the monologue comes in order to comprehend the given circumstances of the character
  • A chair will be provided for your audition should it be needed

*Note: This will also count as a theatre scholarship audition

BFA – Musical Theatre

All applicants interested in auditioning for the BFA degree in Musical Theatre must select an audition date and prepare the following audition materials in addition to the required application forms online.

Musical Theatre Audition Requirements (an accompanist will be provided):

  • Perform two contrasting Broadway songs (one Golden Age and one contemporary) – 32 bars – have a third song prepared if requested
  • Please bring your sheet music clearly marked for the pianist
  • Perform two age-appropriate, contrasting contemporary monologues – memorized and 60-90 seconds each
  • At the end of the auditions, all Musical Theatre applicants will participate in a dance call – please bring appropriate dance attire.

*Note: This will also count as a theatre scholarship audition

BA, BBS, and Theatre Minors

All applicants interested in applying for a theatre scholarship:

  • Perform one age-appropriate, contemporary monologue
  • Perform one classical piece
  • (Have a third monologue of your choice prepared if so requested)
  • Each monologue should be memorized and 60-90 seconds in length
  • Applicants should have read the entire play from which the monologue comes in order to comprehend the given circumstances of the character
  • A chair will be provided for your audition should it be needed

Any inquiries regarding these requirements should be made to Victoria Spangler at (325) 670-1404 or

Our theatre program offers several scholarships that students can audition for. If you have any questions about the scholarship application process, please contact Victoria Spangler at (325) 670-1404. You may also be eligible for general university scholarships. Learn more about scholarships at Hardin-Simmons University.

Coming this fall!

Purchase Theatre Tickets

Pops at the Pond,  Sept. 22
Anderson Lawn
5:30 p.m.
no admission charge 

Outdoor musical cabaret, featuring music and theatre students singing Broadway showtunes and more!   Bring a picnic basket, a blanket or lawn chairs!   Appropriate for all ages.

Honk!  Oct. 5-8
Van Ellis Theatre
7:30 p.m. on Oct. 5-7; 2 p.m. on Oct. 8

This musical adaptation, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved story, “The Ugly Duckling,” tells the story of an odd-looking baby duck and his quest to find his mother.  This updated version is a heartwarming and humorous celebration of what makes us special.

Book and Lyrics: Anthony Drewe; Music: George Stiles.  Directed by Dr. Victoria Spangler and Dr. Stace Gaddy. Appropriate for all ages.

Women and Wallace, Nov. 2-5
DCS Lab Theatre
7:30 p.m. on Nov. 2-4; 2 p.m. on Nov. 5

Aided by his keen writing skills and self-deprecating sense of humor, Wallace tries to figure out the fascinating puzzle of girls while confronting the trauma of his mother’s untimely death. This poignant and darkly humorous play follows a young man’s coming of age.

By Jonathan Marc Sherman.  Directed by senior Theatre major Danielle Broyles. Age guidance 12+

Crimes of the Heart, Nov. 16-19
Van Ellis Theatre
7:30 p.m. on Nov. 16-18; 2 p.m. on Nov. 19

Lennie, Meg, and Babe McGrath have all gathered in Hazlehurst, Mississippi to await news of their grandfather, who is living out his last hours in the local hospital.  Warm-hearted, irreverent, zany and brilliantly imaginative, this Pulitzer Prize winning play teems with humanity and humor as it examines the plight of three sisters haunted by their passions.

By Beth Henley.  Directed by Riley Arnold.  Age guidance 12+

Director’s Cut, Feb. 3-4
DCS Lab Theatre
7:30 p.m. on Feb. 3; 2 p.m. on Nov. 4

The Director’s Cut series are student driven productions that go beyond the scope and requirements of class work but are not as complex as a fully realized mainstage production.  The focus of the Director’s Cut is on the process, be it directing or design or acting.

Title and Director:  TBD

The  Ballad of Maria Marten,  Feb. 15-18
Van Ellis Theatre
7:30 p.m. on Feb. 15-17; 2 p.m. on Feb. 18

Summer, 1827.  In a red barn in Suffolk, England, Maria Marten awaits her lover.  A year later, her body is found. It was an event that had all the hallmarks of a classic crime drama, but in the hysteria, Maria’s story got lost.  Until now. This spine-tingling version rediscovers her story, bringing it back to vivid, urgent life. (This play will be our entry in the Christian University Theatre Festival to be held at Howard Payne University in early March.  In addition, we will be performing The Ballad of Maria Marten at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland in August 2024.)

By Beth Flintoff.  Directed by Dr. Victoria Spangler.  Age guidance 12+

24 Hour Shakespeare, Feb. 24
Van Ellis Theatre
7 p.m.

Students present a somewhat abbreviated version of one of Shakespeare’s plays, all prepared in 24 hours. Title will be revealed on Friday at 6:00; that’s when the students begin their rehearsal process.  This performance will be a fundraiser for our HSU Theatre Travel Fund.  Appropriate for all ages.

Smoke on the Mountain, April 11-14
Van Ellis Theatre
7:30 p.m. on April 11-13; 2 p.m. on April 14

Smoke on the Mountain tells the hilarious and heartwarming story of a Saturday Night Gospel Sing at a country church in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains in 1938. The show features two dozen rousing bluegrass songs played and sung by the Sanders Family, a traveling group making its return to performing after a five-year hiatus.

Book by Connie Ray; Conceived by Alan Bailey.  Directed by Dr. Stace Gaddy.   Appropriate for all ages.

DirectFest Spring ’24, May 3-4
Van Ellis Theatre
7:30 p.m. each evening

The Spring Directing I class will produce and direct a series of 15-minute shows. Appropriate for all ages.

The Department of Theatre is a member of:

  • Texas Educational Theatre Association
  • Kennedy Center American Collegiate Theatre Festival
  • International Collegiate Theatre Festival
  • Student chapter of the Alpha Psi Omega National Dramatic Fraternity
Victoria E Spangler-Associate Professor of Theatre at the College of Fine ArtsVictoria Spangler holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from McMurry University, Master of Arts in Theatre from Texas A&M Commerce, and a doctorate in Theatre at Texas Tech. She serves as our Artistic Director University Theatre; Department Head, Associate Professor of Theatre.
Dr. Stace GaddyDr. Stace Gaddy holds a B.A. in Theatre from Texas State, an M.A. in Theory and Analysis from Texas State, and a Ph.D. from Southern Illinois State in Speech Communication and Playwriting. He serves as Assistant Professor of Theatre, teaching Intro to Theatre, Lighting, Directing II, and Auditioning.
Samantha SpielerSamantha Spieler is our adjunct instructor of Dance. She is also Head Coach for the HSU athletics dance team and manages the Spirit Program.
Trey SpiveyTrey Spivey received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from McMurry University. He is currently serving his fourth year as our Technical Director.
Riley Arnold is Guest Director for “Crimes of the Heart.” Riley graduated from HSU in 2018 with a BFA in Musical Theatre. He currently serves as the CALF Director and Development Assistant for the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council; he also works with Dance Discovery. We are delighted to have Riley as a guest director this year!

HSU graduates are working in their field. From Oregon to Florida to Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York, our theatre grads are in demand.   They are teaching, acting, managing, and designing. They work at schools, independent theatres, regional theatres, and touring companies. They are being accepted into the country’s top graduate programs. Armed with the skills, training, and experience that they need to succeed, they are soaring.

Jess Westman ‘21

BFA Musical Theatre

Writer, composer, lyricist, actor, & disability activist. While at HSU, Jess wrote Wheels: An Original Musical, which was a 2022 Eugene O’Neill National Music Theater Conference semifinalist. He currently lives in Queens, New York.

Dom GordonDom Gordon ’18

BFA Musical Theatre

Currently working as a dancer/ performer with Carnival Cruise Lines.

Michael Kelly ‘18

BFA Acting

Currently working at the Gyeonggi Future Education Campus in Seoul, Korea as an Artist-in-Residence and Playwright Fellow.


If you’re considering a bachelor’s degree in theatre, you may also be interested in learning more about similar programs available at Hardin-Simmons University:


Music, Worship Leadership Concentration