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Students acting on stage.


Brains. Body. Voice. Heart… Pick your part. Acting at McDaniel is a chance to explore so many of the parts of ourselves that make us human—and to put them to use in bringing the stories of others to life.

Degree Types
Complementary Programs
Distinctive Requirements
Special Components of the Degree
Headshots in Senior year (included), Stage Combat training

A minor offered in the Theater Arts program, Acting prepares you to pursue work on stage or on the screen. You’ll take courses that help you realize the full potential of all the actors’ tools—movement, voice, and improvisation (among many others)—and courses that give you a grounding in the art of Acting and its history. Look out Netflix, here you come.

Future Career Paths

In addition to acting opportunities on stage and in film and television, graduates of the Theater Arts program have gone on to careers in:

  • Technical direction
  • Costume design
  • Lighting and electrical design
  • Music direction
  • Stage management
  • Teaching

Special Opportunities

Streetcar Named Desire performance on stage.

Student Productions

The Theatre Department offers an active season of performances, giving student actors many opportunities to showcase and practice their craft. Typically, a season will include four or five productions, including plays directed by faculty and visiting artists, student-directed plays or scenes, and a community-based performance. Additionally, there are several student productions that happen when active theatre students get excited about doing their own "thing.”

Distinctive Courses

THE 2234 - Voice for the Actor

An introduction and exploration of the range of techniques used in developing the potential of the actor’s voice. Exercises emphasize vocal production, articulation, posture, and breathing—all applied through work on texts and other forms of performance.

THE 3358 - Costume and Makeup Design

A study in costume design theories and techniques for modern and period plays in a wide variety of styles. You’ll be introduced to the history of Western dress and will be expected to research period costume. A laboratory session each week will explore the principles of makeup design and application.

THE 2215 - Theatre Improvisation

Explore various forms of improvisation: contact improv, authentic movement, viewpoints, impulse improv, as well as short and long form improv. The course is largely experiential, but will also employ written critique and analysis of both the student’s own work and that of classmates.

Acting Program Requirements

The McDaniel Commitment in Action

The McDaniel Commitment—a series of opportunities guaranteed to all students—provides enhanced mentoring and coaching, and ensures every undergraduate student completes at least two meaningful experiential learning opportunities.

The Capstone Experience

Theatre Arts major Najee Banks talks about his senior capstone — his role in the musical “Hair” as the culmination of his theatre training at McDaniel.

A capstone experience is a requirement of all McDaniel students. Typically defined as "a culminating experience in which students are expected to integrate special studies with the major, and extend, critique, and apply knowledge gained in their major" (Wagenaar, 1993), your capstone showcases your knowledge and your critical thinking. Adding an element of cohesion to your four years of study, capstone experiences vary by major and demonstrate your mastery of your discipline. Capstones might include an original screenplay in Cinema, a gallery show in Art, or a field placement in Social Work.



McDaniel College student Amanda Halcott portrayed Caroline in “The Grass is Greenest at the Houston Astrodome,” directed by McDaniel College student Patsy Zetkulic. Halcott is with Marshall, played by McDaniel student Corey Van Huff.

Theatre Arts students receive national nominations

Theatre Arts majors Amanda Halcott and Kevin Tyson were nominated by the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) for the national Irene Ryan Scholarship Award for their acting work during McDaniel College’s 2020 Student-Directed Play Festival, and competed at the 2021 KCACTF. Other McDaniel students earned regional recognition for their acting.

Peter Mark Kendall '08

Alumni Spotlight Peter Mark Kendall 2008, Theater Arts

From stage to screen, Peter Mark Kendall has made a mark as a professional actor, on shows like Strange Angels, Girls, and The Americans.