• Cast members perform in "Antigone," text that reads "2022 National Award winners, Antigone" with the KCACTF logo
  • A theatre company member performs on stage
  • A student hangs a theatre light
  • Two theatre students learn stage combat from a guest artist

Study Theatre at Detroit Mercy

Your creative future starts at Detroit Mercy!

Earn your Bachelor of Arts with a major in theatre at the University of Detroit Mercy! Join us as we DISCOVER new worlds and places that look just like our own. Learn by COLLABORATING and exploring diverse perspectives with courage and compassion. Develop diverse SKILLS leading towards many different career paths. Experience how MENTORSHIP is at the cornerstone of our program and the launching pad for a network full of connections and opportunities.  Be amazed as you apply classroom theory to stage-time practice while creating transformative experiences that lead to FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES.

Detroit is a city on a resurgence filled with enthusiasm and diversity. It is also a strong community for culture, arts and theatre. If you are looking to earn a Bachelor of Arts with a major in theatre, Detroit and Detroit Mercy are where you want to come to live, breathe and study theatre. 

Core Concepts

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    Discover

    Theatre artists develop and rely upon courage, compassion and connection. This triad anchors our students and program to a mission of creating relevant theatre and serving the community through art’s reflective power. In building connection to our community, students learn to construct and maintain more secure and dynamic connections to their own intellect, priorities and life goals. We build the habit of discovery and the expectation that an artist is always on the path to deeper and greater understanding.

    Students discover by:

    • Engaging with a comprehensive curriculum designed to create well-rounded theatre artists, integrating training in performance technique, theory, and design;

    • Connecting classroom curriculum with practical experience by utilizing skills through on and offstage work with Detroit Mercy Theatre Company;

    • Personal attention through small class sizes and professional relationships with performing arts faculty and staff; 

    • Participation in immersion trips to Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and other theatre epicenters to meet with industry professionals and experience life as a working artist;

    • Annual attendance at and participation in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Region 3 Festival;

    • Workshops spanning creative disciplines such as stage combat, improvisation and on-camera auditions;

    • Mentorship by working industry professionals;

    • Opportunities to thrive in the creative urban hub of Detroit;

    and more!

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    Collaboration

    We value integrative programming that promotes teamwork, problem solving, diverse perspectives and professionalism.

    Teamwork is essential for bringing a production to life, as each member’s contribution is vital to overall success. Through collective effort and shared goals, students cultivate a sense of unity and mutual support. Collaboration between actors, directors, designers, and crew creates a dynamic environment where creativity and innovation flourish.

    Problem solving is the framework enabling creativity to express itself fully. Identifying and solving problems together is a fundamental focus of student work.Students learn to navigate the unique challenges of each production aspect, from technical issues to creative differences, to ensure a cohesive and successful performance.

    Different perspectives bring us deeper comprehension of the world. We promote this habit through interdisciplinary studies and community outreach. In 2023, we raised $5,000 for Quilombo communities in Brazil through our production of Unheard Voices: Afro-Brazilian Diaspora.

    Professionalism is modeled for our students by the constant presence of faculty, staff, alumni and artistic associates in our productions and classrooms. Working side-by-side with seasoned actors, designers and directors, students build habits of observation and adaptability as they experience a wide variety of strategies and practices.

    Recent artistic collaborations include: 

    • Partnering with UDM's Department of Psychology to provide a sensory-friendly performance of A Year with Frog and Toad, tailored for individuals who face social, cognitive, and physical challenges leading to heightened sensory sensitivities. This unique performance features adjusted lighting, reduced sound levels, and a supportive atmosphere to ensure a comfortable experience forindividuals with sensitivities. 
    • Working with Live 6 Alliance in Detroit to produce a staged reading of Kayak by Jordan Hall as a part of our second stage TheatreLab series. 
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    Skills

    We teach students effective presence through verbal, physical and imaginative expression to convey ideas through compelling performance and presentations. At every stage of a student’s progress through the program, we introduce new skills while refining existing skills. A promotion of lifelong habits of learning and skill development is central to a theatre artist’s success.

    Click here to see the courses we offer.

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    Mentorship

    An instructor shows students a model set.Students receive personal guidance provided by faculty, staff and professional artistic associates. An emphasis on small class size enhances students’ potential for rapid development.

    Recent professional artistic associates include:

    • Seth Amadei, DMTC resident lighting designer

    • Alan Batkiewicz, scenic artist and props designer

    • Alexis Black, fight director and intimacy coordinator (IDC)

    • Dave Davies (SAG/AFTRA), actor

    • Sarah Drum, DMTC resident stage manager

    • Maritoni Harte, choreographer

    • David Leidholdt, director

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    Future Opportunities

    From theory to practice, our network of professional artistic associates and alumni help students enter the world through auditions and interviews for internships, apprenticeships, graduate studies and many other careers. Students and alumni secure opportunities with local, regional and national theatres, broadcast companies and organizations, utilizing skills acquired while studying in the Department of Performing Arts.

    After graduation, our Detroit Mercy theatre majors have made the world their stage.  Just a few of the places our alumni have worked or performed are:

    • ABC
    • Arena Stage
    • Barrow Group
    • Broadway
    • CBS
    • Cherry Lane Theatre
    • Detroit Opera
    • Detroit Repertory Theatre
    • Disney Channel
    • Fox
    • HBO
    • Indiana Repertory Theatre
    • La Mama ETC
    • Netflix
    • New York City Center
    • Open Book Theatre
    • Santa Fe Opera
    • The Public Theatre
    • The Purple Rose Theatre
    • The Ringwald Theatre
    • The Second City, Chicago
    • The Second City, Hollywood
    • Tipping Point Theatre
    • TLC

What Our Students Are Saying

Kaelyn Johnson '22

A headshot of Kaelyn Johnson
"The theatre company is so special because we work with professional guest artists who are included in the collaborative process of production. Working with professional guest artists helped me to get feedback from someone with experience, and I felt myself grow as a performer because of it."

Gavin Rapuzzi '26

A headshot of Gavin Rapuzzi

"I feel that my art and my acting have evolved so much in my time with Detroit Mercy through my various collaborations with individuals from so many different and unique backgrounds."

Li Udell '27

A headshot of Li Udell

"Detroit Mercy has allowed me to have flexibility in my creativity. I’ve gotten to experience aspects of theatre I never thought I would, from props design to stage management!"

More about the Department of Performing Arts

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    Detroit Mercy Theatre Company

    Detroit Mercy Theatre Company (DMTC) is an award-winning collective of artists composed of students, faculty, staff and professional guest artists producing gritty and relevant theatre that entertains and awakens the imagination. Students receive hands-on training through mainstage and second stage productions as they work with faculty, staff, and professional artistic associates. 

    Learn more about Detroit Mercy Theatre Company here.

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    Award-Winning Theatre

    Detroit Mercy Theatre Company Awards:

    Regional Award Winners - Encore Michigan Wilde Awards, 2023

    • Best Play (Comedy): Pride and Prejudice
    • Best Director (Play): Sarah Hawkins Rusk, Pride and Prejudice
    • Best Supporting Actor (Play): Luke Adamkiewicz '24, Pride and Prejudice

    National Award Winners - The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, 2022

    • Special Achievement in Ensemble Performance, Antigone
    • Special Achievement in Lighting Design, Seth Amadei for Antigone
    • Antigone Special Commendations:
      • The Company, Distinguished Achievement in Collaboration
      • The Company, Distinguished Achievement in DEI
      • Mary Elizabeth Valesano, Distinguished Achievement in Costume Design
      • Alan Devlin, Distinguished Achievement in Scenic Design
      • Maritoni Harte, Distinguished Achievement in Choreography

    Regional Award Winners - Encore Michigan Wilde Awards, 2022

    • Best Play (Drama): Antigone
    • Best Director (Play): Sarah Hawkins Rusk, Antigone

    Regional Featured Associate Production - Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region 3, 2019

    • Silent Sky

    National Featured Production - The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, 1978

    •  The Brig

    National Featured Production - The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, 1976

    •  The Me Nobody Knows
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    A Commitment to Social Justice

    We believe social justice theatre experiences are integral to training student artists to value equally the development of their aesthetic skills and their social consciousness, combining their passion for making art with their desire to make a positive impact on their communities and the world.

    Since 1998, the Performing Arts Department at University of Detroit Mercy has raised more than $200,000 for the homeless and abused, and for community shelters and centers. In 2023, we raised $5,000 for Quilombo communities in Brazil through our production of Unheard Voices: Afro-Brazilian Diaspora.

     

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    Performance Spaces

    The advantage of multiple venues allows students to produce their own work while exploring performance styles and the imaginative ways those spaces can be transformed. 

    The Marlene Boll Theatre is located inside the Boll Family YMCA. The Marlene Boll Theatre is an intimate, 140-seat, state-of-the-art, black box theatre in the heart of downtown Detroit. Fantastic restaurants, energetic bars and historic architecture surround this thrust-style performance space.

     

     

     

    Studio 164 in Reno Hall is Detroit Mercy Theatre Company’s rehearsal space which also hosts a variety of student-driven projects, directing scenes as well as multiple classes within the Department of Performing Arts curriculum. Auditions for main stage productions also occur in this room.

     

     

     

    Community and Found Spaces: Detroit Mercy Theatre Company utilizes community spaces, such as Live 6 Alliance in Detroit, and found spaces around campus to create immersive and engaging theatrical productions.

     

     

      

    The Future of DMTC: Black Box Theatre Project

    University of Detroit Mercy envisions a bright future for the performing arts. We are developing plans for a black box theatre located on the lower level of the newly renovated Student Union. Our students will explore their creativity and showcase their talents in this state-of-the-art performance and rehearsal space. This hub for cultural and artistic events will serve all of our students and transform our broader community.

    Construction begins July 2024. Learn more about the project here.

Notable Alumni

  • Keegan-Michael Key '93 | Emmy-winning actor
    Keegan-Michael Key '93 | Emmy-winning actor
    While you are most likely to recognize the Emmy winner from his hit Comedy Central show Key and Peele, Keegan-Michael Key has been wowing people on the stage and screen for more than a decade.
  • Jaime Moyer '01 | Actor
    Jaime Moyer '01 | Actor
    “The theater program was an amazing and unique place for me to cut my teeth on all things theater... Seasoned actors were my teachers, and their practical and diverse knowledge was essential to my growth as a performer.”
  • David Deangelis '94| Executive Producer: HGTV, Fox
    David Deangelis '94| Executive Producer: HGTV, Fox
    "My degree and being part of the Theatre Company was instrumental in preparing me for my career."

Ready for the Next Steps?