OnStage Blog Ranks Southeast’s Conservatory of Theatre and Dance ‘Best’ in Missouri

Popular theatre website OnStage Blog has recognized Southeast Missouri State University in its 2019 edition for having the best undergraduate theatre program in Missouri.

The ranking reflects the mission of The Jeanine Larson Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre and Dance as a professional training and liberal arts program providing diverse technique training, professional quality productions, career preparation and a liberal arts education.


OnStage Blog is dedicated to Broadway and Community Theatre Show Reviews and regularly highlights esteemed stage directors, actors and technicians.

Southeast was named the top program based on cost and scholarships, selectivity, performance opportunities, faculty with terminal degrees and experience, facilities, post-graduate career support and location resources. Southeast joins the ranks of other renowned theatre programs that are ranked, including Brown University, Florida State University, Carnegie Mellon University, DePaul University and Pace University.

“Every year, OnStage Blog deep dives into college theatre programs to find what we feel are some of the best in the nation,” according to the blog. “While the perfect program is the one that fits best with the student, schools can become that fit with fantastic facilities, strong faculty, multiple performance opportunities, among other things. In truth, there are some schools that do that better than others and should be recognized for it. At the end of the summer, we will be publishing our top 25 theatre program rankings. But as we start to close the books on this academic year, we felt it’s time to name some programs that did exceptional work this year.”

More than 3,000 people saw performances of “Sister Act” this spring.

The Jeanine Larson Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre and Dance is one of the preeminent programs in Southeast’s Holland College of Arts and Media. The College is housed in Southeast’s beautiful River Campus facilities on the banks of the Mississippi River and is Missouri’s only campus dedicated entirely to the arts. The Conservatory is a destination program for theatre and dance students across the Midwest and beyond, said Rhonda Weller-Stilson, dean of the Holland College of Arts and Media.

“Not only are we recruiting talented students from our region and the Midwest, but from all over the country,” she said. “We have students joining us this fall from New York and Florida. It’s wonderful to be recognized as an excellent University theatre program, and we are in great company being listed amongst other prestigious theatre and dance programs. Hopefully, more prospective students will look into Southeast as an option in the future.”

The Conservatory, accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST), offers a Bachelor of Arts and three Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in theatre with options in acting, design and technology, and musical theatre.

The program is dedicated to providing real-world, experiential learning opportunities, and each year, the Conservatory produces six major, faculty-directed/choreographed productions; four second stage productions; two festivals; four student showcase productions; and numerous cabarets and showcases, student-directed one-acts and staged readings, and student choreographed dance concerts.

Additionally, the Conservatory emphasizes career preparation in and out of the classroom, including hosting outside professional employment representatives, competitive internships, visiting guest artist master classes, professional residencies, conventions, intensives, and auditions and interviews from programs across the nation.

For more information on the OnStage Blog ranking, visit

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