Theater

With immediacy, exhilaration and eloquence, theater can take audiences to places real and imagined. Students of theater must study the human condition and understand how social forces affect individual behavior and practice technical skills and performance techniques.

Our vibrant theater program is renowned for training students in all performance areas by offering a strong curriculum and production program. You can begin your training through various courses that immediately place you in front of audiences, including Fundamentals of Acting, Stage Movement, Acting for the Camera and Intermediate Acting or you can join Oakton’s very own improvisation troupe, “OMG.”

Do you prefer to work behind the scenes? Gain experience by working backstage in productions, building sets on a stage crew and further your behind the scenes knowledge with courses like Stagecraft I and Directing.

Whether it’s performing in front of the audience on stage, acting through the camera lens or working behind the scenes, students in the theater curriculum will gain a wealth of experience and understanding in all aspects of theater.

Questions? Contact Professor John Frisco at jfrisco@oakton.edu or 847.635.1958.

Degree and Pre-major

The 18-semester-hour theater concentration is designed for students with an interest in theater. Students will experience different learning pedagogies within a common theme as they complete their general education requirements and prepare for transfer with a solid knowledge base and concentrated portfolio in the performing arts. The curriculum includes a core of fundamental courses in acting and stagecraft, along with multiple options for courses in speech, humanities, and literature, many of which have IAI transfer codes.

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Our pre-major program will prepare you to continue your performing arts studies after earning your associate in arts (A.A.). Students who finish this program are eligible to receive a notation on their transcript if they've completed all requirements for our special theater concentration program during their pre-major studies. Learn more about requirements for an associate in arts degree and the theater pre-major in our catalog below.

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Job Outlook

A degree in Theater can help you in a wide range of careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for producers and directors was $76,400 in May 2020. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,070, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $184,660.

Employment of producers and directors is projected to grow 24 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 15,600 openings for producers and directors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Meet Your Faculty

Our exceptionally dedicated and highly competent theater faculty and staff are committed to supporting student success every step of the way. We provide the best possible environment in which to grow as an actor, director, stagehand or other role.

Frisco, John
Chair, Music, Speech and Theater
Coordinator, SpeakEasy
Professor of Speech & Theater
B.A. San Francisco State University
M.F.A. Indiana University
jfrisco@oakton.edu
847.635.1958
Room 2612, Des Plaines

Carey, Veronda
Associate Professor of Speech and Theater
B.A. Roosevelt University
M.F.A. West Virginia University
vcarey@oakton.edu
847.376.7428
Room 2554, Des Plaines

Ringstad-Gagliano, Mary
Professor of Speech and Theater
B.A. University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
M.F.A. Ohio University
ringstad@oakton.edu
847.376.7092
Room 2602, Des Plaines

Meet our part-time faculty:

Curtis, Tim
Lecturer
B.A. Towson University
M.F.A. Indiana University
tcurtis@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Room 2430, Des Plaines

Fliess, Jason
Lecturer
B.A. Point Park University
M.F.A. DePaul University
jfliess@oakton.edu 
847.635.1910
Room B206, Skokie

Gaitsch, Tom
Lecturer
B.F.A. Illinois Wesleyan University
M.F.A. Indiana University
tgaitsch@oakton.edu 
847.635.1950
Room 2430, Des Plaines

Knapp, Margaret
Lecturer
B.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.F.A. University of Missouri-Kansas City
mknapp@oakton.edu
847.635.1910
Room B206, Skokie

Performing Arts Center

In addition to classroom learning, students can take the stage at Oakton's modern performing arts center (PAC) for hands-on learning on our Des Plaines campus.

Discover the PAC

What’s Next?

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton Community College. No matter where you are in your decision-making process, we are here to help you with your next steps. Whether you're ready to apply now, need information on paying for college or have questions and want to contact someone, we're here to help.

Contact Us

Professor John Frisco
Chair, Music, Speech and Theater
847.635.1958
jfrisco@oakton.edu