Student Stories: Lindsay Smiling

Lindsay Smiling

Major: Theater

Lindsay Smiling never really acted until taking classes at College of DuPage.

“In high school, my best classes were in math and science. I was able to absorb the material really easily without too much study outside of class,” he said. “And I was really good at drawing/painting.”

When it came time for college, Smiling didn’t know what field to enter. He considered graphic arts, architecture and teaching mathematics as possible career paths but didn't feel a strong passion toward any of them. Rather than attend an expensive university and accrue debt while trying to find direction, he enrolled at College of DuPage.

On a whim, he took an acting class with Connie Canaday Howard as an elective.

“I really had no intention of going into theater as a profession,” he said. “Almost immediately my mind was challenged in a way I hadn't experienced before. I continued to take classes and was cast in my first play, ‘Balm in Gilead,’ directed by Craig Berger. After finishing COD, I went on to study at Illinois State University double majoring in Theater and Math. By the time I finished ISU, I pretty much knew what my career was going to be.”  

Now a professional actor and director, he has worked at more than 20 different professional theaters across the country in more than 50 different productions. This includes the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Milwaukee Repertory Theater (where he is an Associate Artist), Pittsburgh Public, Victory Gardens, and Baltimore Center Stage. He is also a member of Wilma Theater’s resident acting company called The Hothouse.  

He has appeared in “Treasure Island” Off-Broadway and in “Don Juan Comes Home From Iraq” at the Wilma Theater, located in Philadelphia. During the 2018-19 season, Smiling performed at the Wilma in “Kill Move Paradise” (pictured above), “Mr. Burns” and “Romeo and Juliet.”

In 2016, he was featured in American Theatre Magazine as one of six people to know. 

“I’m not quite sure how it happened or how I got on their radar but I was truly honored to be featured,” he said.

He also is an adjunct professor of acting at Temple University, where he earned his MFA in Acting.

Smiling credits College of DuPage for providing the foundation for his theater career.

“Being able to work and be taught by professional actors was instrumental in establishing my work ethic,” he said. “In addition to developing the basics of acting technique, the professionals at COD taught me how to audition, what my resume should look like and what to expect after academia.

“College of DuPage provides excellent resources to learn how to be a professional. If you decide to enroll at COD, be open and prepared to learn.”

More about the Theater program