82% of graduates from the last 5 years work in theatre.
Each season we produce:
• One main stage show
• One Broadway-style musical
• 2 studio shows
• One summer main stage show
• 24-hour theatre event
• A touring group
• Student-directed scenes
Bethel’s main proscenium stage, in the Everest-Rohrer Chapel/Fine Arts Center – Auditorium, seats 860 and is equipped with a state-of-the-art sound and LED lighting system. Directly under the stage, “The Cave” houses more than 9,000 costumes, props and furniture pieces.
Faculty professional backgrounds include acting, designing, directing, stage management and playwriting. Their critiques, individual instruction and mentoring will help students excel as artists throughout their time at Bethel.
Students can major in Theatre Arts, minor in Musical Theatre or minor in Theatre. The small school experience means more opportunities to participate. Even non-majors are welcome to participate.
Our Auditorium seats 860 people and is equipped with a state-of-the-art sound and LED lighting system. The proscenium stage is 48 feet wide by 32 feet deep and includes an orchestra pit.
Scenery and props are constructed in our 1,600-square-foot Scene Shop. Students learn to build and transport sets, a skill that is necessary in real-world theatre.
Our Costume and Prop Shop houses nearly 10,000 pieces, including costumes, props, and furniture, all housed under the stage in "The Cave."
Whether you want to be on stage or behind the scenes, there are many careers to choose from in the theatre field.
Jennie Sophia ’02
Singer and actress
The acting and singing credits of Jennie Sophia include more than 24 stage shows and appearances in film and television. Read about her in the Bethel Magazine.
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Complete our free online application to be considered for admission.
Don Hunter has an MFA in stage management from Wayne State University (2010) and a B.A. in theatre from Bethel (2006).
While in graduate school he was the production manager and stage manager for Waterworks Theatre Company, where he worked on an original version of Alice in Wonderland and the Laramie Ten Years Later: An Epilogue.
Professional experience includes production stage manager for the Hilberry Repertory Theatre Company in Detroit, Mich., company manager for the 2010 MFA/BFA acting showcase, production manager and stage manager for Waterworks Theatre Company in Royal Oak, Mich., and an electrician and local call for touring shows at the Honeywell Center in Wabash, Ind.
Johan Godwaldt grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and attended Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, where he earned his B.A. in philosophy and theatre. He earned an MFA in design and technology at the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Upon graduation from UMKC he served as technical director at Mankato State University (Minn.). He also served as lighting designer on numerous productions. After three years at Mankato State he moved to New Orleans to teach at Loyola University. Godwaldt served as T.D. Lighting Designer at Loyola.
He was awarded the Chancellor’s Award of Excellence for Professional Staff. In addition, he was selected by KC/ACTF for the Lighting Design Intensive for his work within the lighting area.
Derrick Null serves as Bethel’s resident lighting and sound designer. As the technical director of the Everest-Rohrer Auditorium, he manages the care of the stage and lighting equipment. He previously worked for the Santa Fe opera, as well as local calls for Broadway touring shows.
Erin Bryant is the costume shop supervisor, managing the theatre department’s 4,000+ piece costume collection. She is a stitcher, cutter/draper and designs costumes for Bethel’s productions. She has a B.A. in liberal studies from Bethel College and has worked local calls for touring shows.
Deb Swerman has a B.A. in theatre from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and her M.F.A. in theatre/directing from University of New Orleans. She has teaching certifications in New York (performing arts/drama) and Indiana (theatre arts).
Karen Pajor has been teaching and choreographing in the South Bend area for more than 10 years. She teaches tap, jazz, and ballet for Bethel College and did choreography for Bethel's Collegians. Pajor has worked with the theater department on: Cinderella, Jane Eyre, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and The Pirates of Penzance.
Having spent most of her theatrical career in Connecticut, she performed in many productions as an actress and dancer. Pajor also toured New England with several improv groups.
Barb Franklin serves as the theatre department secretary as well as the box office manager.