Cowley Theatre Department
VOTED BEST LIVE THEATRE IN COWLEY COUNTY!
We are a generalist program where all students are encouraged to learn all sides of the business. Acting, portfolio, dance, and stagecraft are just a few of the classes we offer. We want students to leave Cowley well rounded. By wearing different “theatrical hats”, you'll have a greater chance of always working somewhere in the theatre, which will help you network, and ultimately help you land the dream jobs!
Our theatre programs has 3 tracks of emphasis: performance, technical design and arts management. We have created unique class curriculums to help our students focus their area of studies. Arts Management is especially unique as many schools do not offer it. This is a lightly tapped market where students can find job opportunities with little competition.
We also allow students to branch out. Whether it is media promotions, costumes, lighting, sound, set construction, front of house, running crew, or acting, all of our students get hands on learning opportunities in the area that excites them the most! Students in their freshman year have the prospect to design. And all understudies have the chance to perform.
"Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't."(William Shakespeare, “Hamlet”: Act II, Scene II).
There is “method in the madness” here at Cowley. “The method” is to equip students with the knowledge and experience to pursue a career in theatre. Through our well rounded classes, productions, trips and real world experiences, our students gain invaluable preparation for the future.
Meet Our FacultyCara Kem
Cara Kem has been working professionally since she was 13. She made her professional debut at the Music Theatre Wichita where she was cast in a leading role. Since that time, she has been working in theaters across the country. She has studied under top teachers from LA to NYC. She has worked beside Tony Nominees and under Tony Nominated Directors. Cara lived in NYC for almost ten years and achieved Broadway contracts without an agent. She understands success and how to achieve it. A career in the arts has its ups and downs. She has experienced times of greatness and drought and knows how to survive when either occurs and works to prepare her students for both.John Rohr
John Rohr is a product of the Cowley Theatre Program. Thanks to his studies at Cowley, he started working in the professional world as an intern and worked his way up to lead technical director and designer. During his summers, he still continues to work in the professional world. Though he leans toward technical work, John is also an actor. It is an understatement that he is well rounded. You'll still see him performing in plays and improv performances throughout the year. This gives him a unique perspective and allows him to give incredible instruction as a teacher. This summer John was the technical director for the regional premier of “Fun Home” at the Millbrook Playhouse in Pennsylvania.
Robert Brown Theatre
This theatre is an 800 seat, state-of-the-art, proscenium theatre. The building was completed in the Fall of 1995 and serves as a center piece for the arts in Cowley County, and accommodates over 10,000 patrons annually. We have a state-of-the-art scene shop and fully equipped costume shop, along with pristine dressing rooms, green room, and back stage space. The lighting and sound systems are top notch and rank among the industries best. The theatre also provides 26 fly lines (4 electric) and hydraulic orchestra pit.
Performing Arts Studio
Beginning spring of 2006, a newly created performing arts studio was added to the theatre program. In this space we are able to conduct rehearsals and stage intimate productions. This new space gives the students more opportunities to perform, direct, and experience theatre hands-on.
Each year the Act One Drama Club travels to experience the theatre and cultural events that each area has to offer. Typically the trip lasts 4-6 days and is held sometime in the spring. Usually taking an average of 20 students, the club helps assist each student with the cost. Trips include some or all of the following: watching productions, tours of theatrical spaces, and master classes. Other costs include travel (bus/train/airfare), hotel, and food. There usually will be opportunities for sightseeing as well. These trips offer amazing opportunity for personal growth.
2006 New York – “The Producers”
2007 Chicago – “Wicked”
2008 London – “Woman in Black”
2009 Chicago – “Jersey Boys”
2010 New York – "Lion King"
2011 Chicago – "Working"
2012 New York – "Spiderman"
2015 Louisville – Humana Theater Festival
2016 Houston – “Around the World in 80s Days”
2017 Orlando – Walt Disney World
Main Stage Series
Each year Cowley Theatre performs 4-7 shows each year. Included in these are our Main Stage Series. Our main stage series consists of a musical and a play, one in the spring and one in the fall. Each year we produce the best of well known plays and musicals. This series is geared towards drawing in enormous audience attendance, involving over one hundred students annually, and accomplishing the highest level of quality capable through a very robust budget and excellent facilities.
Children’s Theatre Series
Each fall semester our students present a children’s theatre production to over 2,000 school children from the surrounding communities. These productions introduce children to live theatre. For many children, this is their first, and hopefully not their last, exposure to live theatre. The shows are well budgeted and provide our students additional performance opportunities in quality productions.
Our theatre curriculum is designed to provide a solid introduction to theatre. Each class offered easily transfers to four year colleges and universities. This gives student’s maximum amount of flexibility in furthering their college education.
Theatre Appreciation (3hr.)
Acting I (3hr.)
Theatre Practicum (1hr.)
Dramatic Literature (3hr.)
Theatre Portfolio (2hr.)
Introduction to Dance (1hr.)
Advanced Stagecraft (3hr.)
Theater Scholarship Courses
The following classes are required courses for Theatre Scholarship students, but all students are encouraged to enroll. Theatre Appreciation fulfills a Humanities credit; the others are electives.
Intro to Dance
This class offers a glimpse into the world of dance. In the first three weeks, you’ll learn basic tap sounds and understand the importance of rhythm and how it enhances all areas of dance. The next 8 weeks are dedicated to ballet- learning basic barre technique and understanding why each move is important and how it is the foundation of all dance styles. Some floor work is involved when time permits as well as terminology. The final five weeks open the door to the style of jazz, incorporating warm-ups with isolations, balance, coordination and a street jazz combination, which utilizes some of the rhythm and technique learned in the earlier semester. This class also covers your physical education requirement.
This is a theatre overview course. Units of study include a basic introduction to the exciting world of theatre performance and technology, a focus on the lives and styles of contemporary actors of merit, famous playwrights, as well as a brief study on the contributions of the early Greeks and Shakespeare. No acting required! Rather, the class is highly interactive and enthusiastically paced. There's a lot of wonderful information to cover together! This class covers one of your humanities requirements.
This course is designed to introduce students to the technical side of theatre. Emphasis is placed on set design and construction, lighting, and sound technology, as well as painting and building techniques. Scene shop safety is stressed. A major project of this course is to provide the set, and technical support for the semester's major production. Each student will achieve a great deal of hands-on training and practice in technical theatre, and most of this is done with the radio on!
Good acting can be taught! This course provides a concrete process that each student that each student can use to develop and sharpen their performance skills. Each class meeting provides opportunity to practice the skill learned that day. Students enjoy solo, duet and ensemble acting exercises, as well as performing for an audience. No matter what your major, acting skills can make you more effective. Come join the fun!
This is an application/practicum course. College credit is awarded to those enrolled students who are actively involved in a semester's major production (perform a role, work in a technical position, and/or both.) Students should be highly interested in theatre and be self-motivating, independent workers. (Required of all theatre scholarship students.)
Cowley offers an Associate of Arts Degree in Theatre.
The theatre courses transfer to virtually any four-year institution, with Theatre Appreciation fulfilling a Humanities credit. Counselors can work with individual students to coordinate their program of study so transfer to a four-year school is smooth.
For the Techie…
Our facilities are among the elite in the nation. We have upgraded technical aspects of our program every year for the last four years. Some of the recent additions are a $100,000.00 hydraulic spiral orchestra lift from Gala Systems, 20 Shure ULX wireless microphones with Countryman B-2 mics, and a brand new ETC Emphasis Lighting Control System. Future upgrades include a new 42 channel sound mixing console, and six intelligent lighting fixtures.
In addition to the amazing equipment, our students have several opportunities each semester to work with professional performers and professional stage crews. Our students have worked recently for The Rolling Stones, The Marshall Tucker Band, Rockapella, Pro Audio Systems, Wichita Local IATSE #190, just to name a few.
For more information contact:
Director of Theatre
Office: Brown Center #212
Technical Director of Theatre
Office: Brown Center #207