The 5 Most Underrated Theatre Colleges for 2018 - Southwest

Here at OnStage Blog, we spend months compiling, researching and comparing college theatre programs to come up with what we feel are the very best colleges in the country. While names like Tisch, Juilliard, Emerson and Baldwin Wallace get plenty of attention, there are a ton of schools out there with incredible programs that deserve more.

So we wanted to highlight some of these underrated programs. Whether they are programs that have amazing facilities and curriculum or have a ton of value when it comes to their cost, these are schools that are doing tremendous things in theatre that might not be known on a national level. 

Remember, we're talking about schools we feel are underrated. If you don't see certain programs here, it's more than likely that they're already getting a ton of credit.

Because this list is so massive, we're going to break it down region by region using this map. So, no particular order, here are our picks for the five most underrated theatre colleges for 2018. 

Yesterday we covered the NortheastMidwest and Southeast. Today we're moving onto the Midwest. We'll be using this map to divide the regions. 

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK

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Fast Facts: Facilities include The Vivia Nail Locke Theatre. Housed in the Seretean Center for the Performing Arts, it seats 600 and is home to the Department of Theatre's main stage season, which includes the annual musical. The Locke is a fully functional theatre equipped with fly space, an orchestra pit, and all of the latest stage technology. The Vivia Locke is named after Professor Vivia Locke, who was an important faculty member at OSU who saw the department's tremendous growth throughout the mid-twentieth century. A statue of her is located in the theatre lobby.

Lamar University -  Beaumont, TX

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Fast Facts: Chair of the program is Golden Wright. He is a classically trained ballet dancer and was a member of Ballet Austin. He performed as a guest artist with various other companies such as Ballet Arkansas, Beaumont Ballet Theatre, Corpus Christi Concert Ballet, Corpus Christi Ballet and Victoria Ballet Company. He attended Joffery Summer Workshop in San Antonio and Ballet Austin Summer Intensive before joining Ballet Austin. His performing repertoire includes various ballets such as CinderellaCoppeliaSleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker.

University of Texas at El Paso - El Paso, TX

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Fast Facts: Program provides professional quality Musical Theatre year-round in a dinner theatre setting.  The UTEP Dinner Theatre is the only year round full-time dinner theatre on a college campus in the United States!  Founded in 1983 the UTEP Dinner Theatre presents 4 fully staged musicals each season and a fully staged student produced musical under our Side Dish Student Productions banner. Over the past 3 decades the UTEP Dinner Theatre has grown to become one of the most successful performing arts programs in El Paso.

Texas Wesleyan University - Ft. Worth, TX

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Fast Facts: Faculty include Jeanne Everton. Having worked professionally for over 40 years as an actor, director, dramaturg, designer, talent agent, casting director and producer, Jeanne brings a wide variety of experience to the classroom. She teaches on-camera acting for film and television, Meisner-based acting classes and entrepreneurship for performers at S.T.A.G.E. in Dallas and throughout the country. Recently she and her long-time professional colleague voice actor Bob Michaels have developed the Perspectives series of seminars, designed to assist professional performers adjust to the new technologies and practices of production work in the 21st century. Jeanne records books for Reading and Radio Resource, a Dallas agency providing alternatives to reading for those who are visually or physically disabled and/or learning differenced and she broadcasts a weekly program for NTRB, North Texas Radio for the Blind and Austin Information Radio.

Abilene Christian University - Abilene, TX

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Fast Facts: School boasts one of the largest performing arts facilities in the country. The 92,000-square-foot WPAC is the second largest building on campus and one of the top performance venues among colleges and universities in the Southwest. It was part of the $100 million "To Lead and To Serve" campaign that raised more than $114 million for ACU. Designed to be the home of ACU's departments of music and theatre, it includes the 325-seat Lewis and Jerry Fulks Theatre, a thrust-stage facility designed to the theatre department's specifications with the help of acoustical and theatre consultants. It also houses a 282-seat Recital Hall that is acoustically "tuneable" to accommodate the performing artist(s) and number of patrons.