The Theatre Arts program has a strong academic emphasis with students gaining experience to reinforce the coursework through productions, large and small. The degree program in Theatre Arts emphasizes process drama, the value of improvisation, and ensemble. Echoing the College motto, it also asks students to consider how practicing theatre arts serves “not self, but others.” In the liberal arts setting, the program prepares students to pursue a wide variety of careers. Students receive broad exposure to the various disciplines within theatre and are encouraged by the faculty to pursue their special interests. Internship experience is encouraged (required for the B.F.A) either in a summer theatre company, or in some other setting appropriate to the major such as with a television station or community theatre. The Experiential Component (a requirement of the major as a whole) can be met by successfully completing the required courses.
Note: The nature of theatre as a field of study involves a considerable time commitment outside of regularly scheduled classes. Majors are expected to participate on stage or behind the scenes in all major productions as members of the artistic ensemble. Students are also expected to participate in a yearly adjudicated audition and a minimum of 3 annual reviews of performance and academic progress conducted by theatre arts faculty. All students complete a Senior Thesis Production.
The B.F.A. is frequently, but not exclusively, chosen by those students wishing to pursue M.F.A. Degrees and professional performing careers. It stresses heavy course and performance work in the area of emphasis. Students pursuing this degree normally declare no later than five semesters before graduation. If graduation is sooner, they must gain the endorsement of the program coordinator. There are three emphasis areas: Acting/Directing, Musical Theatre, and Technical Theatre.