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. They must 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 Robert Gynn at or 847.635.1843.

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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What's Next?

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton 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.

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 $79,000 in 2021. 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 8 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 17,500 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

Theater crew standing onstage.

Enrolling at Oakton College can save you thousands of dollars and help you earn more over the course of your career. Our tuition is among the lowest in the region, and we offer many ways to bring your costs down even more.

99 percent of Oakton students graduate without debt.

To help you get there, you can apply for a scholarship, which you don’t have to pay back. We award $12 million in scholarships annually. Financial Aid includes grants, loans, and other forms of financial assistance that can reduce your costs of attending college.

We offer payment options that give you control over how you pay. Pay all at once or spread your payments over the course of the semester.

Learn more about your options for paying for your education

An Oakton College student smiles while using a computer.
As your community college, we serve students from various backgrounds. We aim to make the application process as easy and as clear as possible for everyone.

We can help you get started on a degree or certificate. Applying to Oakton is fast and easy.

Your first step before you begin your studies is filling out an admission application and completing your enrollment process.

Get Started at Oakton
Oakton College students celebrate graduating in full regalia.

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.

Robert Gynn
Chair, Speech, Theater and Music Department
Professor of Speech and Theater
B.A. DePauw University
M.A.T. Beloit College
M.S.C. Northwestern University
Office 2612, Des Plaines

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

Christy Carter
Associate Professor of Speech and Theater
B.A. Northern Illinois University
M.Ed. Loyola University
M.A. Northeastern University
Room 2602, Des Plaines

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

Meet our part-time faculty:

Curtis, Tim
B.A. Towson University
M.F.A. Indiana University
Room 2430, Des Plaines

Fliess, Jason
B.A. Point Park University
M.F.A. DePaul University 
Room B206, Skokie

Gaitsch, Tom
B.F.A. Illinois Wesleyan University
M.F.A. Indiana University 
Room 2430, Des Plaines

Wirth, Daniel
B.S. Central Michigan University
M.F.A. University of California - San Diego
Room 2430, Des Plaines

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

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