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About Dobbins Conservatory

Mission Statements

Southeast Missouri State University provides student-centered education and experiential learning with a foundation of liberal arts and sciences, embracing a tradition of access, exceptional teaching, and commitment to student success that significantly contributes to the development of the region and beyond.

The Earl and Margie Holland College of Arts & Media prepares students to launch professional careers in the arts, entertainment, and media industries, while inspiring excellence, a passion for training, knowledge, critical thinking, creativity, and engaged citizenship.

The Jeanine Larson Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre & Dance is a professional training and liberal arts program with a fourfold mission:

  1. Diverse Technique Training
  2. Professional Quality Productions
  3. Career Preparation
  4. Liberal Arts Education


Our goal is to provide students with training, experiences, knowledge, and connections to launch a rewarding career in the arts and entertainment industries. Dedicated to the free and open pursuit of broad-based knowledge, Dobbins Conservatory also provides students with a liberal arts education, giving them a multi-faceted view of the world.

Southeast Missouri State University is ranked as a “Best in the Midwest” by US News & World Report as one of the top liberal arts educations at an affordable price, and Dobbins Conservatory is one of the preeminent programs in the Holland College and its beautiful River Campus facilities, Missouri’s only separate campus devoted solely to the arts.

Dobbins Conservatory has more than 200 undergraduate majors and 20 full-time professional faculty and staff, plus numerous adjunct faculty, box office, front-of-house, marketing, and River Campus personnel. The conservatory is also served by the Theatre & Dance Society, an extraordinary community organization dedicated to fundraising for the many co-curricular and extracurricular activities produced each year.


Southeast Missouri State University/Dobbins Conservatory a proud member of

  • National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD)
  • National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST)

Degree Programs


BFA in Dance:
The mission of the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance degree is to offer a professional training program designed to provide students the opportunity to learn and hone their technical and artistic skills in dance. The degree focuses on the areas of training, production and professional development incorporating academic courses, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities to enhance learning. The rigorous training is designed to continually challenge the abilities of the student while providing an excellent foundation for careers in dance and the performing arts industry.

BA in Dance:
The mission of the Bachelor of Arts in Dance degree is to give students a broad-based education and training in dance allowing students a wide range of flexibility to explore any and all aspects of dance. The degree combines a theoretical and analytical approach to understanding dance with a practical approach through experiential learning. The degree program allows students to combine their dance training with other disciplines to prepare for careers both within and beyond the dance industry.


  • BFA in Acting
  • BFA in Design/Technology
  • BFA in Musical Theatre

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre is a professional degree, providing students with advanced technique and academic training, developing competencies outlined in the National Association of Schools of Theatre Standards for Accreditation, while delivering ample experiential learning through professional quality productions, internships, outside master classes and professional experiences, preparing them for careers in the arts and entertainment industries.

Graduates with a BFA in Theatre degree pursue jobs and post-graduate professional internships/positions in acting, musical theatre, and all areas of design and technology in theatre, film, television, and mass media.

BA in Theatre:
The Bachelor of Arts in Theatre provides students with a broad education in theatre, meeting National Association of Schools of Theatre standards for the liberal arts degree, while providing opportunities to pursue a minor or double major in another field.

Graduates with a BA in Theatre degree pursue post-graduate degrees, internships, or careers in theatre management, directing, producing, writing, arts administration, performance, film and television production, marketing, casting, front-of-house, outreach, and education.


  • Dance
  • Fine Arts Entrepreneurship
  • Theatre: Acting
  • Theatre: General
  • Theatre: Technical

Productions / Experiential Learning

Each year, the conservatory produces:

  • 6 major, faculty-directed/choreographed productions,
  • 4 second stage productions,
  • Fault Line Film Festival,
  • 4 student showcase productions, plus
  • Numerous cabarets and showcases, student-directed one-acts and staged readings, and student choreographed dance concerts.

Emphasizing career preparation through teaching Arts Entrepreneurship and the Business of the Arts as part of most technique classes, Dobbins Conservatory provides an abundance of additional experiential learning opportunities through:

  • River Campus Summer Arts Festival, Holland College’s professional summer production
  • Outside Professional Employment
  • Competitive Internships
  • Visiting Guest Artist Master Classes
  • Professional Residencies
  • Conventions, Festivals, Intensives, Auditions/Interviews:
    • A1 Auditions
    • American College Dance Association
    • Black Hills Playhouse
    • Dueling Arts International (certification in unarmed, small sword, single rapier, rapier-dagger, broad sword, and quarter staff)
    • Midwest Theatre Auditions/Interviews
    • Southeastern Theatre Conference
    • United States Institute for Theatre Technology
  • Annual New York City and Los Angeles Showcases and Master Classes for BFA seniors through Actors Connections

Please browse our website, and we encourage perspective students and their families to schedule an appointment with our faculty, staff, and students, to participate in classes for a day, and to see a production. We are always delighted to talk about Dobbins Conservatory and to discuss our generous scholarship opportunities.

If you have any questions about Southeast Missouri State University, the Holland College of Arts and Media, or The Jeanine Larson Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre and Dance, please contact me at 573-651-2149 or

In the meantime, we strongly encourage you to click on the Prospective Student link and register for Auditions/Interviews for admission into one of the BFA programs and Scholarships for both the BFA and BA programs.

My very best,

Ken Stilson Signature

Dr. Kenneth Stilson, Conservatory Chair


Sara Steffens
River Campus Seminary 458
Conservatory of Theatre and Dance
One University Plaza, MS 7850
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701