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Theatre

Theatre students explore theatre as a cultural institution while developing their craft in a rich educational setting and professional production environment. Most of the action happens in Westminster College’s Beeghly Theater, an intimate 267-seat house. The proscenium stage is equipped with traps and a counterweight fly system. The adjoining scene shop, complete with power equipment and hand tools, provides space for the construction of sets. The lighting/sound control booth is equipped with a ETC Express 72/144 Control Console, a RAMSA sound mixer/control, digital recording, compact, and a multi-path amplification system. Most classes are held right in the theatre. Westminster offers courses in Acting, Voice, Theatre History, Dramatic Literature, Stagecraft, Lighting, and Design as well as courses in devised theatre and playwriting. The small student-to-faculty ratio guarantees individualized attention in the classroom and during productions. Students have interned at Disney World, Folger Theater in Washington, D.C., McCarter Theater in New Jersey, Pittsburgh Public Theater, The Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, and Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera.

Theatre students learn skills and that are respected beyond the classroom or stage, including critical thinking, research, analysis, oral/written communication, presentation, & problem solving. In 2001, Dr. Louis Catron of the College of William and Mary, identified twenty-five traits that make theatre majors attractive to employers, including: Self-Discipline, The Ability to Work Under Pressure, Adaptability and Flexibility, The Ability to Learn Quickly — AND Correctly, Initiative, Willingness to Work Cooperatively AND The Ability to Work Independently as just a few of the skills that make Theatre students attractive to employers inside and outside the profession.

Within the profession, just a few of the job opportunities are:

Actor
Artistic Director
Box Office Manager
Business Manager
Choreographer
Dramaturg
Director
Fight Choreographer
Designer (Lighting, Sets, Costumes, Sound, Properties, Effects)
Master Carpenter or Master Electrician
Playwright
Producer
Production Manager
Scene Painter
Stage Manager
Technical Director
Critic
Educator
Vocal Coach

Graduates are also are attractive to employers beyond the theatre. For example, they may find careers in the following fields:

Media Planner
Computer Design Specialist
Salesperson
Human Relations Specialist
Human Resource Specialist
Conflict Mediator
Public Relations Specialist
Admissions Director
Recruitment Officer
Development Officer
Advertising
Marketing Specialist
Facilities Manager
Announcer
News Correspondent
Broadcast Journalist
Public Affairs Officer
Public Relations Specialist
Communication Technology Specialist
Copy Writer
Sales Representative
Exhibit/Display Designer
Teacher
Student Affairs Specialist
Talent Manager
Tourism Program Director
Training & Development Specialist
Draftsman
Interior or Fashion Designer
Writer/Editor

Requirements for the Major

Theatre:

THE 102 Introduction to Acting
THE 111 Technical Production
THE 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306 Theatre Practicum (1 SH x 6))
THE 404 Directing for the Theatre
THE 601 Theatre Capstone. Advanced Study I
THE 602 Theatre Capstone. Advanced Study II

And one of the following courses:

THE 370 Theatre History I
THE 371 Theatre History II

And one of the following courses:

THE 151 Voice and Diction
THE 251 Oral Interpretation

And one of the following courses:

THE 202 Acting II
THE 321 Basic Performance Design

And and additional 4-12 hours of the following theatre electives (not previously taken):

THE 112 Advanced Technical Production
THE 114 Technical Practicum
THE 151 Voice and Diction
THE 201 Script Analysis
THE 202 Acting II
THE 203 Acting III
THE 211 American Playwrights
THE 212 Shakespeare’s Plays
THE 213 African-American Drama
THE 225 Theatre of Social Engagement
THE 311, 312, 313, 314 Professional Workshop
THE 321 Basic Performance Design
THE 370 Theatre History I
THE 371 Theatre History II
THE 401 Scenic Design
THE 402 Stage Lighting
THE 410 Advanced Topics
THE 590-594 Field Experience/Internship
THE 620-624 Independent Study

*Note: No more than 8 credits from THE 211-213 and THE 255 may be counted toward the major. It is recomended that at least one course is a dramatic literature course.

Requirements for the Minor

Theatre Courses:

THE 102 Introduction to Acting
THE 111 Technical Production
THE 301 Theatre Practicum
THE 321 Basic Performance Design

One of the following courses:

THE 370 Theatre History I
THE 371 Theatre History II

And an additional 4-12 semester hours of Theatre courses.

See Course Descriptions for a complete list of THE courses.

Course Descriptions

Theatre Courses:

THE 101 Introduction to Theatre (4 SH). An examination of the process by which dramatic literature becomes theatre. The course examines the forms of comedy, tragedy, and their offshoots as well as the elements of theatre—structure, character, language, scenography—and the styles of theatre with an emphasis on modernism and post-modernism. This course does not meet major requirements.

THE 102 Introduction to Acting (4 SH). Concentrates on approaches to acting and analysis of scenes from an actor’s point of view. The laboratory section concentrates on scene work, monologue exercises, and improvisation.

THE 111 Technical Production (4 SH). An introduction to the fundamentals of technical theatre, THE 111 provides the student with the knowledge of modern stagecraft and the theater plant and with practical experience in handling tools and materials essential to constructing, painting, assembling, dressing, and shifting stage scenery. Students will construct the scenery for departmental productions. Lab and participating as part of the crew for the current main stage productions required.

THE 112 Advanced Technical Production (4 SH). A continuation of THE 111 Technical Production with advanced study of technical aspects of play production. Theory will be emphasized as well as discussion of scenography. Students will construct the scenery for departmental productions. Lab required. Prerequisite: THE 111 or consent of the instructor.

THE 114 Technical Practicum (1 SH). Experiences can include carpentry, lighting, scene painting, costuming, props and management. In addition to gaining marketable skills in various area of technical support and design, the student also has the opportunity to build leadership and interpersonal skills essential for work in the theater. Students are encouraged to shape the experience to their interests and are only limited by the needs of the show in which they are involved. Prerequisite: THE 111 or consent of the instructor.

THE 151 Voice and Diction (4 SH). Theory and practice in the basic techniques of developing a clear and expressive speaking voice. Breath control, proper phonation, full resonance and projection, and articulation will be covered as well as exercises for improving use of pitch, timbre, and vocal quality. (Also listed as COM 151.)

THE 201 Script Analysis (4 SH). A basic study in interpretation: How does a script “mean?” Fundamental skills in “discovering meaning” are developed by examining different models for analysis and synthesis, exercises in interpretation, and the directing of short scenes.

THE 202 Acting II (4 SH). A seminar/laboratory study. The seminar segment will concentrate on more advanced study of approaches to act. The laboratory segment is designed to increase effective use of concentration, observation, sensory awareness, and emotional truth on stage. Prerequisite: THE 102.

THE 203 Acting III (4 SH). A seminar/laboratory study. The seminar segment continues to concentrate on advanced study of approaches to acting. In the laboratory section, more emphasis will be placed on building a character. Activities will include exercises, improvisations, longer scenes, and an increased number of monologues from period plays.

THE 211 American Playwrights (4 SH). This entry-level course introduces students to significant, often groundbreaking dramas by the most acclaimed American playwrights of the 20th century: Eugene O’Neill, Philip Barry, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, John Guare, Sam Shepard, David Mamet, August Wilson, Tony Kushner, and Suzan Lori-Parks, among others. Students will explore varying use of dramatic content and structure across time and through major American themes, as well as the ever-changing understanding of theatrical convention and innovation. Satisfies IP for Humanities and Culture (HC). (Also listed as ENG 108.)

THE 212 Shakespeare’s Plays (4 SH). An introductory course in the drama and stagecraft of the undisputed Titan of English literature, William Shakespeare. Students will analyze and discuss Shakespeare’s achievement in poetic and theatrical presentations of popular stories for the Elizabethan stage. The syllabus will draw from five to six plays, ranging from comedy to history play to tragedy to romance, and lessons may incorporate screenings of notable films, stage, and TV productions, in their entirety or choice selections. (Also listed as ENG 113 Shakespeare.)

THE 213 African-American Drama (4 SH). This class will explore African-American culture from the days of slavery through the present, examining African-American playwrights’ characters and personal lives, and by exploring the historical climate at the time the texts were written. (Also listed as ENG 124.)

THE 225 Theatre of Social Engagement (4 SH). In this highly participatory course, students will engage the social issues of the day using various interactive performance methods, including Playback Theatre and Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed techniques. The course culminates in the creation of an original devised production that addresses a local social issue and is produced in collaboration with an under-represented segment of the local community.

THE 251 Oral Interpretation (4 SH). A study of the methods of creating for a listening audience an interpretation of the printed page. Attention is focused upon literary form, imagery, inflection, word stress, and other factors which influence listener response and understanding, and also which aid in the effective expression of one’s own ideas. (Also listed as COM 251.)

THE 255 Playwriting (4 SH). The playwriting course will look at the challenges of writing play scripts by studying and writing scripts. After exploring language as action, building characters, non-verbal communication through writing scenes, we will work at structuring and writing one-act and two-act plays. (Also listed as WRI 255.)

THE 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306 Theatre Practicum (1 SH). Major assignments in departmental productions: acting, directing, stage managing, lighting, sound.

THE 311, 312, 313, 314 Professional Workshop (1 SH per workshop). A variety of specialized topics will be presented by theatre professionals. Topics may include but are not limited to costuming, make-up, publicity, art’s management, children’s theatre and playwriting. The student will attend two six-hour weekend sessions or four three-hour evening sessions. Grading is S/U.

THE 321 Basic Performance Design (4 SH). This is an introductory course to performance design. The material covered will be primarily hands-on projects designed to provide students the chance for self-expression as it relates to stage design. Skills to be covered will be sketching and drawing, painting, drafting, and model building. Prerequisite: THE 111.

THE 370 Theatre History I (4 SH). History of theatre and its relationship to the arts and sciences: Greek, Medieval, Renaissance and the Age of Reason. Major emphasis of study focuses on the correlation between the physical stage, the theatrical conventions, and the playscripts of the period.

THE 371 Theatre History II (4 SH). History of theatre and its relationship to the arts and sciences: Romantic Period and the Modern/Post-Modern World. Major emphasis of study focuses on the correlation between the physical stage, the theatrical conventions, and the playscripts of the period.

THE 401 Scenic Design (4 SH). Introduction to scenic design for the theatre. Graphic presentation and/or model making. Prerequisite: THE 321.

THE 402 Stage Lighting (4 SH). Supervised practicum in elements of stage lighting: theory and practice. The course provides experience in color theory, instrumentation, methodology, stage electricity/electronics, and control. Prerequisite: THE 321.

THE 404 Directing for the Theatre (4 SH). The course explores the elements comprising an approach to directing for the theatre. Elements include script analysis, stage composition, picturization, and techniques in working with actors. The course is hands-on. Students work from a study script as well as other scripts of their choice. Prerequisite: THE 102.

THE 410 Advanced Topics (1-4 SH).

THE 590-594 Field Experience/Internship (1-4 SH).

THE 601 Theatre Capstone. Advanced Study I (2 SH). Advanced Study I focuses on the scholarly research required to prepare for the performance/practical element of the capstone experience. THE 601 usually culminates in an advanced research paper that explores and explains a specific topic in theatre studies chosen by the student in conjunction with his or her capstone adviser. Prerequisites: advanced junior standing and permission of the instructor.

THE 602 Theatre Capstone. Advanced Study II (2 SH). In Advanced Study II, students apply the practical skills developed while pursuing the theatre major. THE 602 usually culminates in the presentation of scenes related to the topic studied in THE 601. Depending on the student’s area of interest, scenes will be directed, designed, and/or acted in by the capstone student. In some cases, special projects such as directing or designing a main stage production may provide the content of THE 601 and 602 and fulfill the capstone requirement. Prerequisites: successful completion of THE 601 and senior standing.

THE 620-624 Independent Study (1-4 SH).

THE 660, 670, 680, 690 Honors Research (1-4 SH).

Facilities

Westminster's Beeghly Theater has an intimate 238-seat house. The proscenium stage is equipped with traps and a counterweight fly system. The adjoining fully equipped scene shop provides space for the construction of scenic units and easy access to the stage. The lighting/sound control booth at the rear of the auditorium is equipped with an ETC Express 72/144 lighting console, RAMSA sound mixer, compact and mini-disc decks, and a multi-path amplification system.

Most of Westminster's theatre classes are taught in the theater complex itself. The low student/ faculty ratio and the excellent theater facilities allow students to receive individual attention and care in the classroom.

Online Ticket Reserve

We have updated our ticket reservation system. Please visit https://thtrwestminster.tixato.com/buy to choose your seat.

 

What can you do with a Theatre degree?

Imagine yourself a playwright, actor, stage manager, set designer or lighting specialist.

Quick Facts


Theatre

Degree Offered

Bachelor of Arts


 

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