Theatre Major

Department of Theatre and Dance

Department Faculty

The Theatre Program

A major in Theatre leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Performing Arts. The major offers students extraordinary flexibility to customize their college experience by choosing courses in the area of theatre in which they are most interested—acting, directing, costume design, scenic design, theatre history and literature, playwriting, lighting design, theatre management, arts management, theatre technology, and costume technology. Through a solid core of foundation courses and an impressive array of electives, students build a major program that allows them to pursue a professional career upon graduation.

Equally important to coursework are the many opportunities available for students to practice in our theatres what they are learning in our classrooms and studios. The Department believes that an experiential approach to theatre education offers the greatest potential of success to the emerging theatre artist. Ours is a hands-on program that emphasizes student leadership and responsibility. In addition to acting on our stages, theatre majors design, direct, build, choreograph, and manage productions in our theatres, as well as serve other leadership capacities in the Department. Beyond the main stage, students program and manage Studio 115, our flexible black box theatre, producing a season of performances that range in scope from evenings of scenes to fully-produced musicals.

The Department produces in Klein Theatre, a traditional proscenium stage, and the flexible Studio 115 in duPont Hall. Both theatres recently were transformed in extensive renovations that included the installation of state-of-the-art lighting, sound and communications systems. The Department also maintains an acting lab, design lab, craft studio, CAD lab, light lab and fully-equipped costume, lighting, and scene shops, and theatre management offices. Recent productions have included The Tempest, Harvey, Hedda Gabler, Rent, Elegies, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), Proof, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bat Boy, Sunday in the Park with George, Shakespeare’s R&J, Our Town, Summer and Smoke, The Laramie Project, Antigone, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Cabaret, Godspell, The Shape of Things, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Waiting for Godot, Sweeney Todd, As You Like It, Into the Woods, and The School for Wives.

Lectures and performances by visiting scholars and artists enrich the program. In recent years the campus has hosted such artists as James Earl Jones, Michael Kahn, Ming Cho Lee, Susan Tsu, Megan Terry, Richard Schechner, Maria Irene Fornes, Holly Hughes, and Eve Ensler.

The Department mentors majors in career preparation skills by hosting regular workshops to help students develop resumes, headshots, portfolios, and audition materials. In addition to sponsoring internships, members of the faculty accompany students to a variety of events throughout the year where majors can audition and interview with producers for professional opportunities. Our majors graduate with a strong liberal-arts education in the field, as well as with solid skills for working in theatre.

Requirements for the Theatre Major

Thirty-three (33) credits including THEA 131, 321, 361, 362, 400, and 482; either THEA 433, 434, or 436; nine (9) additional credits from Theatre courses except THEA 111, 112, 390, 491, 492, or 499. In addition, all majors are required to enroll in Theatre Practicum each semester except during the semester of the Senior Project; students may count eight practicum credits toward graduation.

Theatre Course Offerings

Theatre course offerings will be found under the 4 letter code of THEA in the course listings.

111 – Introduction to Theatre (3)

A course for the general student designed to introduce the various elements of theatrical production.

112 – Introduction to Acting (3)

An introductory course focusing on basic skills, concepts, and methods of modern realistic acting through improvisation and practical exercises leading to formal scene work.

113 – Introduction to Theatre Design (3)

A study of design elements and composition principles as they relate to stage scenery, costumes, and lighting. A survey of theatre design today.

131, 132 – Technical Production (4, 4)

Theories and techniques of designing, building, painting, and lighting stage settings; organization and operation of production crews. Laboratory.

211, 212 – Dramatic Literature (3, 3)

The reading and discussion of selected plays and of theatrical developments as an introduction to the theatre.

218 – Voice and Body Movement (4)

Voice and body training to improve vocal quality, articulation, and posture and carriage. Laboratory.

225, 226 – Summer Workshop (1-4, 1-4)

Prerequisite: Permission of Department. An intensive course focused on the production of plays and musicals for the student interested in developing professional skills in the theatre. Cross listed as DANC 225, 226.

240 – Stage Makeup (3)

Techniques and styles of stage makeup for theatre and dance.

242 – Costume Construction (3)

An introduction to the principles of pattern development and clothing construction techniques. Projects will include contemporary and period styles. Students will work on costumes for departmental productions. Laboratory.

270, 271 – Special Studies in Theatre (3, 3)

Concentration on a single area of theatre for general students. Topics vary from year to year.

280 – Stage Management (3)

An introduction to the theory and practice of stage management for the theatre.

281 –  Principles of Arts Administration (3)

An introduction to current policies and practices of arts administration.

290 – Scene Painting (3)

An examination of the technique and practical applications of painting for the stage.

291 – Fabric Modification (3)

An introduction to the basics of fabric dyeing and painting and their specific applications for the theatre.

310 – Fashion History (3)

A survey of clothing, hair styles, and accessories from the ancient world to the present, with particular emphasis on the relationship of fashion to social, political, and economic history.

318 – Stage Dialects (3)

A survey of the basic techniques for learning and applying selected stage dialects.

321, 322 – Acting (4, 4)

Must be taken in sequence. Scene study and performance, creating characters, and ensemble training.

331 – Playwriting (3)

Writing for the stage. Exercises and practice in the structure of action, character development, dialogue, critical analysis.

335, 336 – Musical Theatre Performance (3, 3)

A workshop course in musical theatre performance techniques. May be repeated, but a maximum of six credits may count toward degree requirements.

345 –Patterning (3)

Principles of pattern development including flat patterning, drafting and draping, focusing on period styles for the stage.

355 – Theatre Crafts (3)

Exploration of the specialized vocabulary, techniques and tools of the theatre artisan including furniture restoration, welding, upholstery, soft goods and properties creation.

361, 362 – Theatre History and Literature (3, 3)

Must be taken in sequence. Theatres, production methods, dramatic conventions, key figures from the Greek period to the present in the Western world.

390 – Theatre Practicum (1)

Theatre Practicum earns credit for performance or other work on major productions of the department. A maximum of eight credits may count toward degree requirements.

400 – Professional Identity and Practice (1)

Prerequisite: Declared theatre major, arts administration minor, or musical theatre minor.  Through a combination of research, discussion, and applied practice, students will develop strategies for creating a challenging and successful career.

411 – Acting Styles (4)

Prerequisite: THEA 322. An examination of period style for the stage through scene study and performance.

431, 432 – Directing (3, 3)

Prerequisite: Must be taken in sequence. Technique and practice of directing for the stage.

433 –Lighting Design (3)

Theories and techniques of lighting stage productions; lighting instruments and equipment.

434 – Scene Design (3)

A study of the theories, methods, and techniques used in scenic design.

435 – Ideas in Performance (3)

Prerequisite: Permission of department. An examination of professional productions of the dramatic literature in Washington and New York. Readings and theatre trips.

436 – Costume Design (3)

A study of the theories, methods, and techniques used in costume and clothing design.

451, 452 – Special Studies in Theatre (3, 3)

Concentration on a single area of dramatic arts. Topics vary from year to year.

481 – Resource Strategies in Arts Administration (3)

Prerequisite: THEA 281. Approaches to understanding and developing critical needs for arts organization through case study, analysis, and critical problem solving.

482 – Senior Project (3)

Prerequisite: Permission of the Department. This course may only be taken in one of the last two semesters. An independent project in Theatre supervised by a faculty advisor.

491, 492 – Individual Study (1–3, 1–3)

Prerequisite: Permission of the Department. Individual study under the direction of a member of the department.

499 – Internship (Credits variable)

Supervised off-campus experience, developed in consultation with the department.