It's Not Too Late: Apply for the M.A. in Theatre Arts at BJU

Looking to take your Theatre training and experience to the next level? Check out the links and information below.


Feel free to reach out to David Schwingle or Erin Naler for advice guidance on grad. school work. 

Masters Students in Theatre Produce Staged Reading

For the first half of the Masters in theatre Thesis project, Ashley Gwillim and Amy Murray produced a staged reading of two new plays. Ashley Gwillim wrote the plays while Amy Murray played the central role in each. 

The talk-backs were lively! Look for the production of Antigone that's coming next semester from Ashley and Amy. This production will complete their Thesis work.

M.A. Ensemble Create Derived Play

Under the direction of David Schwingle, the M.A. students in Theatre created a derived play. Using acting exercises, research, and historical photographs, the group created a 70 minute original play in the spirit of Grotowski and Commedia. The group researched a number of historical places and time periods, including rural America in the 1900s, the roots and early days of World War I, treason and imprisonment facts during World War I, and so on. The scenes and dialogue included historical details of place and time. 

Ensemble members include: John Cox, Kaitlyn Chisholm, Rebekah Nason, Bethany Woodfin (dramaturge), Ashley Gwillim, and Amy Murray.


The bare-bones performance was given during the final week of classes. The group hopes to continue work on the script. 

Thinking about Grad. School . . . ?

Thinking about Grad. School in Theatre? The Deadline for applying to the BJU M.A. in Theatre is April 15. Contact David Schwingle or Erin Naler if you have any questions about the program or the application process. 

Below are links to the application instructions and the online grad. school application form.

Check out the PDF for more detailed info. on the program--or ask a current M.A. student or our alumni!


David Schwingle--

—Interested in a GA position to help cover the M.A. Cost? Begin your search here:…

—Program Info:

—Application Page--click on the Grad. application section:




The Man Who Came To Dinner: Cast Profiles

Bethany Woodfin—as "Lorraine Sheldon."


Who is your character and how are you connecting to the role? 

Lorraine Sheldon. Lorraine is a famous star in the days of Old Hollywood. I’ve been a fangirl of this era for most of my life; I grew up watching all of the oldies and adoring the fashion, accents, and sparkle from that time period.  So in a way, I’ve been connected to Lorraine for years. But, in other ways, its been a real challenge to connect with her level of manipulation and “total diva” attitude. But, let’s be real, acting ridiculous can be a real blast on stage.

What are some of your favorite parts so far working with this script and cast?

This script is SO funny! Classic American humor! The script is full of random, unexpected moments, and the audience won’t be able to predict what crazy thing will happen next. I’m really looking forward to their reactions to the zaniness on stage. This cast has been awesome to work with. At the end of a long day, there’s just something about working on a comedy with people that can make you laugh night after night. I’ve enjoyed getting to connect with some old friends and getting to connect with some new students doing their first BJ show! Very exciting and I absolutely love it.

What is your favorite line from the play?

Can I say that more than anything, I just like *how* the lines are being said? I love getting to both use and hear the old accents and running around saying, “Dahling!” over and over. Personally, I enjoy doing the proposal scene, but I don’t want to give too much away. It’s just ridiculous and I have a lot of fun with it. 

Is there anything else you would like the audiences to know about you?

I really do subconsciously exist in this 1940s era. Even as a 7 year old kid, I preferred to watch Cary Grant films over cartoons. If there was a way to hear what your soul sounds like, I think you would hear Big Band music from mine, ha! My makeup cues have always come from Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly, and I’ve never followed modern trends, just how to create an old school look (even before dressing vintage was cool). So, when I was given the role of an Old Hollywood star, all of my friends just laughed and figured that there was some stereotyping going on.



The Man Who Came To Dinner: Cast Profiles

Elisabeth Emhoff—as "Maggie Cutler"

Who is your character and how are you connecting to the role? 

For part of my senior project, I get to play Maggie Cutler, Whiteside's secretary and right-hand woman. To be honest, his life would pretty much fall apart without her organizational skills... Maggie is somewhat like me in personality, so it hasn't been too difficult to connect with her. I actually have some experience as a legal secretary and personal assistant, so I know what it's like to be doing a million things at once all for somebody else! 

What are some of your favorite parts so far working with this script and cast?

I love how sassy Maggie gets as the play progresses. She starts pretty professional, but she's able to stand up for herself when things start to go awry. There's so many great sarcastic comebacks between Whiteside and Maggie which is always fun. And as for the cast, well, they're some of my favorite people in the world. They're all so hilarious in their own way, and so encouraging as well. It's very common for people to congratulate one another for a good performance as they come off stage. 

What is your favorite line from the play?

Movie star Lorraine Sheldon and Maggie can't stand one another, and when we have a very civil but snarky conversation, she condescendingly asks me about a book that no one can put down it's so good, to which I reply "I put it down, right there".  

Is there anything else you would like the audiences to know about you? 

I think it's easy for characters like Maggie to become 2 dimensional. My hope is that Maggie changes throughout the play, just like a real person would, and that the audience would get to see her different sides: vulnerability, sassy, love-crazed, and straight-up furious!

The Man Who Came To Dinner: Cast Profiles

Rebekah Nason—as "Miss Preen"

Who is your character and how are you connecting to the role?

My character is Miss Preen, Mr. Whiteside’s nurse. It was actually very hard to figure her out at first. She’s not necessarily a major character—she doesn’t get a lot of stage time. But we learn a lot about Mr. Whiteside by how he and Miss Preen interact. It’s hard for me to act older (she’s in her 40s) but Mrs. Nolan gave me a direction that really helped. I realized that Miss Preen is a strong character, she doesn’t back down and she’s not afraid to speak her mind if the time is right. I just have to remember to be “big” (take the stage and not be afraid to be a little crazy) and I need to connect with the other characters on stage!


What are some of your favorite parts so far working with this script and cast?

One of my favorite (and least favorite) moments to work on in the script is when Miss Preen meets Banjo. It’s one of those moments that audiences are going to remember. It’s slightly terrifying for me because I have a tricky “stunt” (for lack of a better word). But it’s fun because it’s when I can let go and make Miss Preen really go crazy! My other favorite moment is at the end when Miss Preen tells Mr. Whiteside what she really thinks of him. She doesn’t hold back and I can just scream and get out all the pent up energy. I love the moment when she realizes she is screaming and pulls back for just a moment, then goes right back to screaming. It’s a lot of fun to see how big I can get that moment. 

What is your favorite line from the play? 

 “Mr. Whiteside, if Florence Nightingale had ever nursed you, she would have married Jack the Ripper instead of founding the Red Cross. Good day.”

Is there anything else you would like the audiences to know about you?

My grandfather played Dr. Bradley in 1959/60 for his senior year of high school! Anyway, I hope audiences enjoy the show. It’s one of those shows you leave quoting because it’s just so funny. It’s perfectly timed so that it can be a distraction from school and stress for an hour or two. I’ve loved being a part of this show. It’s definitely one of my favorites!

M.A. in Theatre Arts at BJU

We recently met with Seniors and interested students and discussed grad. school/advanced work  in general and the BJU M.A. in Theatre Arts specifically. Below is some info. on our program. Feel free to reach out to David Schwingle or Erin Naler for advice guidance on grad. school work.