Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Theatre and Dance at High Point University is to inspire personal and artistic development and challenge students to lead lives enriched by curiosity, expression, and empathy. The department uniquely prepares students for creative careers by emphasizing a collaborative company philosophy, faculty mentoring and the fostering of new works.

In the department of Theatre and Dance at High Point University, we value:

Work ethic – accountability, discipline, integrity, timeliness, preparation, and the mutual respect of our colleagues.

The creative process – taking artistic risks, making choices, being willing to fail, and pride in product and completion.

Creative problem solving – intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, questioning, and investigation.

An examined life – social awareness, the liberal arts tradition, inter-disciplinary study, and well rounded citizens.



Theatre students at High Point University…

  • Receive individual mentoring from a faculty advisor
  • Learn by doing in our an active and challenging productions program
  • Collaborate and work with renowned guest artists on new work








































Our students receive experiential learning opportunities daily by being part of our theatre ensemble and working multiple production jobs throughout their undergraduate career. In addition, thanks to the Mikulay Family Fellowship, we bring in guest artists and artists in residence and host multiple workshops each year to give our students the opportunity to learn from and create with top industry professionals.

Guest Artists

  • John CarianiAlmost, Maine, cul-de-sac, Last Gas, and Love/Sick (world premiere at HPU) playwright and Tony Nominated Actor (Fiddler On The Roof)
  • Daniel Baldwin – Film, television actor, Award-winning screenwriter/director
  • Jessica Dickey – award-winning American actor and playwright most known for her play The Amish Project
  • Ian Gallanar – Founding Artistic Director, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company
  • Brandon Burk – Professional actor/playwright
  • David Wells – Hollywood film and TV actor
  • Michael Lilly – Award-winning Los Angeles director/producer
  • Bruce Graham – Award-winning playwright and screenwriter
  • Don Wildman – Host of History Channel’s Cities of The Underworld
  • Brad Battersby – Feature film director/writer
  • Pat Green – Three time Emmy Award-winning writer and producer
  • Brenda Lilly – TV producer/writer and creator of ABC Family Channel’s State of Grace
Playwright John Cariani and Professor Jay Putnam host a talkback after the opening of John’s play cul-de-sac


The Department of Theatre and Dance regularly hosts visiting professionals from the entertainment industry to teach workshops and to share their talents and experiences with our students. During one academic year alone, the Department of Theatre hosted ten guest artists who conducted over 60 classes and workshops with our students! Workshops are offered each semester in such topics as:

  • Shakespeare
  • Playwriting
  • Artistic directorship
  • Career advice and mentorship
Professor Jay Putnam winds up a Shakespeare workshop in advance of auditions for As You Like It, 2017.

Artists in Residence

Artists in Residence often spend 4-5 days with our students, but when our department collaborates with playwrights they come to campus once a semester for 1-2 years, working with students and faculty as the play(s) are developed. For example, John Cariani came to HPU at least 6 times over 3-4 years during our 2 collaborations with him (for Love/Sick and Cul-de-Sac). Students had the opportunity to develop a working relationship with him, and many have been able to work with him or connect after they graduated. Playwright Brandon Burk came for 3 semesters while working with our department on developing/writing his one-man play, INVENTION.

Artist in Residence Jessica Dickey speaking to students and having a table read of her newest play
John Cariani with students before rehearsal for cul-de-sac


Click to read the article in the HPU magazine about our collaboration with John Cariani.


We are proud to offer an exclusive and permanent relationship with the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company in Baltimore, Maryland where our students work during the summer. This partnership has been around since 2013, and over 10 of our students have been offered summer employment either as performers or in technical roles. Each spring Ian Gallanar, the founding artistic director, comes to our campus to interview and audition students. We offer a housing stipend of up to $1,500 to assist with costs for our students. We are the only university that CSC has guaranteed positions for each year and this partnership has provided many opportunities for our students and alumni, such as:

  • Roxanne Daneman (’16) played Louisa in the Fantasticks, May 2017
  • Molly Feinstein (’17) performed in The Tempest, June-July 2017
  • Lauren Engler (’13) is employed as a stage manager, performer, and scenic painter
  • Jay Burgin (’17) is employed as sound designer/board operator


Featured Student Internship:

Cara-KramerCara Kramer, ’16 – marketing and editorial intern for Samuel French Inc. in New York City

Responsibilities include editing scripts, creating social media posts, attending shows on behalf of Samuel French and reviewing scripts to determine if they are ready for publication.