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Division of Performing Arts

The Division of Performing Arts was founded on the belief that the role of the artist is to give beauty back to the world.

We have always believed that the beauty of music, dance, theatre, and film hold the power to sooth the wounds of an increasingly abrasive society.  Therefore, we believe it is our mission to shape pathways of discovery for our students, helping them see that creativity holds the power to illuminate truth and elevate the human spirit.

Whether on film, on stage, or in the classroom, our rigorous training programs, taught by seasoned, professional teaching artists, help students become tellers of enchanting and provocative stories, which, with the mere rise of a curtain, unlock the limitlessness of the imagination.

We are committed to the Bachelor of Arts degree which provides the flexibility that allows our student artists to pursue a minor or even a dual major.  The B.A. also allows our students to spend a semester abroad and participate in internship/experiential learning opportunities. 

Our division fosters very healthy relationships between the disciplines.  Actors act in filmmakers’ films.  Filmmakers and dancers collaborate on dance on camera creations.  Actors learn acting techniques specific to the camera, etc.

The division's network of visiting guest professionals and artists enrich the experience of students through residencies and master classes.

These are just a few of the reasons why the DeSales performing arts programs have such outstanding reputations.   We cherish the performing arts and all they do to lift the human spirit, better our world, and positively impact peoples’ lives.

Laura Benanti 1920_615x400
I had the great honor of working with some of the DeSales University students recently and was blown away by their talent, technique and sense of community.... Anyone attending DeSales is lucky to do so.
Laura Benanti Tony Award-Winning Performer
Read more about her masterclass visit
Arts in Action

Act 1 Productions

Act 1 is DeSales University’s highly-acclaimed performing arts company and features professional-caliber productions.

Each year we welcome another group of eager young actors, designers, dancers, and filmmakers all drawn to DeSales to hone their craft and create art that will inspire and entertain. We offer enchanting and provocative stories that will — with the mere rise of a curtain — unlock the limitlessness of your imagination. 

Act 1 Productions

Act 1 Ushers in the Holidays with a Sparkling Take on a Nostalgic Story

by Roseann Damico Schatkowski Nov 4, 2019

Act 1 DeSales University Theatre kicks off the holiday slot of its 50th Anniversary season with a new twist on a legendary classic.

Filled with Christmas spirit and featuring spectacular musical numbers, “Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play,” opens on November 20, and runs to November 24, then resumes again after the Thanksgiving holiday from December 4 to December 8, 2019 on the Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts.

This unforgettable holiday classic is retold in the tradition of a live 1940s era radio broadcast. Staged with live Foley effects and a score of Christmas favorites, “Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Radio Play” is brimming with holiday cheer. When Kris Kringle, the real Santa Claus, gets mistaken for a department store wannabe in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, he pleads his way all the way to the Supreme Court where a miracle unfolds that is sure to melt even the most cynical of hearts.

“Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Radio Play” follows the original 1948 Lux Radio Broadcast script, which featured cast members from the 1946 film such as Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, and Edmund Gwenn, to name a few, and was performed in front of a live studio audience. The Act 1 production is directed by Associate Professor Steven Dennis, with musical direction by Professor John Bell and choreography by DeSales University alumna Christine Baglivio ’15. Professor Wayne Turney plays the iconic role of Kris Kringle.

The appeal of “Miracle on 34th Street” continues to reach new generations as time goes on. “The overarching theme of the production,” says director Dennis, “is the need to keep imagination alive. Susan’s mother is a realist, and raises her daughter to be that way as well, telling her there is no such thing as Santa Claus. But the audience is able to see that growing up this way can stifle a childhood, and even stifle a life. It comes to a point where that child may grow up, limited to asking the question, ‘What is’ rather than ‘What could be.’” The classic show challenges audiences, young and old, to continue to value the gift of imagination in our lives, each and every day.

“Miracle on 34th Street” opens on Wednesday, November 20, and performs through Sunday, November 24, 2019. The production resumes after the Thanksgiving Holiday on Wednesday, December 4, and runs through Sunday, December 8. Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. There is a Talk-Back performance with the director and cast on Sunday, November 24, immediately following the matinee performance. Ticket prices are $33 for adults and $31 for students and seniors on Wednesdays and Thursdays and $34 for adults and $32 for students and seniors on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Group discounts are available for all performances.

Act 1 will introduce the first of its Page to Stage Dinner events on Friday, November 22, at 5:00 p.m. Join director Steven Dennis and musical director John Bell as they share their expertise into recreating the sights and sounds of this timeless holiday classic. The event includes full bar and dinner. Prices are $32 for adults and $27 for subscribers. 

Tickets for performances and reservations for the Page to Stage Dinner may be purchased by calling the Labuda Center box office at 610.282.3192 or online at

In an effort to improve accessibility for all patrons, the Saturday, November 23, 2:00 p.m. performance will feature Open Captioning for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing and Audio Descriptions for patrons who are blind or visually impaired. During Open Captioned performances, all dialogue and sound effects are presented in real-time on an LED screen that is adjacent to the stage. During Audio Described performances, all action and physical appearances are described live through a headset. Tickets are half price for patrons using these special services on this date. Please call Associate Box Office Manager Zach Weidner at 610.282.3654, ext. 2, for more information.


Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

A leading Shakespeare festival with an emerging national reputation for excellence, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) is a professional theatre company on the campus of DeSales University.

Each summer, PSF produces a season of Shakespeare and other classics, musical theatre, and children’s theatre. 

Visit PSF
PA Shakespeare Festival at DeSales