Theater at the high school level is both an academic discipline and a performing art. A study of theater motivates students to study and to discuss and develop ideas, insights, and values. Theater is helpful in increasing self-esteem, motivation, aesthetic awareness, cultural exposure, empathy, creativity, improved emotional expression, and appreciation of diversity.  Students have the opportunity to take classes in theater and/or perform on stage.

Performance class offerings include Acting I, II and Acting+.  Acting I is open to any student. Acting II and Acting+ are for students who have successfully completed Acting I.  A course in Play Production is offered for students with interests in the backstage aspects of staging performances.  A course in Film is offered to explore styles, themes, and genres of motion pictures.

Stage performance opportunities include:

Fall Play

All DCHS students are welcome to audition for the annual Fall Play. Rehearsals occur after school and culminate in four performances. The plays selected for each fall rotate annually between traditional high school fare, American classics, and Shakespeare. There is a $20 participation fee.

Interpretive Speech

Acting opportunities exist as part of Speech and Debate.

Winter Play

This theatrical event is the first weekend of December. The winter play is produced by the Acting+ class. This year the class performed Gooney Bird Greene and Her True Life Adventures. Students not enrolled in the class can help backstage with sets, costumes, lights and serve as ushers. Past performances of the winter play include James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

IHSSA Large Group Speech

This is a theater competition including events such as a one-act play, short film, improvisation, acting, and mime. There are also a variety of opportunities for students behind the scenes. Meetings are held November - February in room 500 with competitions in January and February. 

Spring Musical

All DCHS students are welcome to audition for the annual Spring Musical. The Spring Musical is a collaboration of all faculty in the Performing Arts Department and frequently other educators from Dowling Catholic and the Des Moines arts community. There are opportunities for singers, dancers, actors, musicians and technicians. Rehearsals occur after school and culminate in four performances. Annually, the show is adjudicated for the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards. There is a $145 participation fee.

Moderators & instructors

Mr. Timothy Sheaff  |  515.222.1035
Mr. Alex Baranosky  |  515.222.1035


Dowling Catholic High School  |  1400 Buffalo RD.  |  West Des Moines, IA  |  50265  |  (515) 225-3000