OnStage Blog Names Southeast to ‘Best College Theatre Programs in Every State’ List


Theatre website OnStage Blog has recognized Southeast Missouri State University in its “Best College Theatre Programs in Every State” list for 2021.

The ranking reflects the mission of The Jeanine Larson Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre and Dance as a professional training and liberal arts program providing diverse technique training, professional quality productions, career preparation and a liberal arts education.

OnStage Blog is dedicated to Broadway and community theatre show reviews and regularly highlights esteemed stage directors, actors and technicians.

OnStage Blog said, “Programs were adjudicated including both performance, design & technology as well as direction, writing, and any other areas of training. Factors taken into consideration were quality of faculty, variety of curriculum, facilities, career support, performance opportunities [and]scholarships.”

A committee including students, educators, parents and alumni compiled the list of schools. This list puts Southeast’s theatre program among those at Northwestern, Boston University, the University of Michigan, Dartmouth, Syracuse, Brown and Carnegie Mellon.

Rhonda Weller-Stilson, dean of the Holland College of Arts and Media and professor of theatre, said, “It’s very nice to be recognized as a top theatre program in our state. Southeast’s theatre and dance program has always focused on course training, productions and career development for students. Excellent experiential learning and career development opportunities for students makes this program stand out. This accolade would not have happened without the outstanding faculty and staff in The Jeanine Larson Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre and Dance.”

Dr. Kenneth Stilson, conservatory chair and professor of theatre, said that designations such as this one from OnStage make a big difference for recruiting theatre students from across the country. After OnStage named Southeast’s musical theatre program one of the top 30 programs in the nation for 2019-2020, the theatre program admitted students from 35 states versus 18 states from the previous year.

Stilson said, “Students come from all over the country to study theatre at Southeast, from Los Angeles to New York City and everywhere in between. We also have a few foreign exchange students.”

There are currently 202 students studying theatre in the conservatory, 158 of which are pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD) and National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST), The Conservatory is one of the preeminent programs in Southeast’s Holland College of Arts and Media. The College is housed in Southeast’s beautiful River Campus facilities on the banks of the Mississippi River and is Missouri’s only campus dedicated entirely to the arts.

For more information check out the OnStage Blog ranking story.