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Rockford University Performing Arts Department

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Welcome to Rockford University Performing Arts (RUPA)! 

The Performing Arts Department at Rockford University is an intensive, supportive, and dynamic community of student artists who are passionate about training and eager to pursue a professional career in theater. RUPA offers exceptional conservatory-style training in a rich, liberal arts setting. Students have ample opportunities to perform, beginning freshman year, while honing their craft and receiving a broad base of knowledge in history, literature, science, social sciences and more. A distinguished faculty with many years of professional experience provides classroom teaching and one-on-one mentoring to our students in a practical and experiential learning environment. 

Rockford's well-established acting curriculum has a proven track record that ensures students reach their fullest potential as actors before they graduate. Superior voice (expert instruction combining CCM and classical styles) and dance training, hands on technical instruction, and relentless personal attention are just a few things that set us apart. The faculty is dedicated to helping students transfer their work in the studio to riveting and life-changing performances on stage. 

Students are expected to perform and work professionally during the summers, and faculty assist them in finding those important first jobs. The real proof of Rockford's outstanding training program is the fine work of our graduates in theaters and grad schools around the country from New York to Los Angeles. Rockford University is home to Artists Ensemble Theatre (, a nationally recognized Equity theatre that produces thought-provoking dramas and hilarious comedies right on our campus. 

RU boasts two amazing theaters as well as smart classrooms, studio spaces, practice rooms, and more. Our proximity to Chicago makes it an easy destination for auditions, professional theater, or a weekend getaway. Many of our graduates settle there after graduation, and our professors have numerous connections in the city.

Located just ninety minutes from downtown Chicago, Rockford University is a small, private liberal arts university situated on a 150-acre park-like campus with a true sense of community. RU boasts a 10:1 faculty to student ratio and more than 80 majors, minors, and concentrations. Named by The Princeton Review as a Best Midwestern College and as a 2018 Best Midwest Regional University by U.S. News and World Report, we currently serve approximately 1,260 full-and part-time students.