Theatre and Dance
All students are invited to participate in the curriculum and production program of the Department of Theatre and Dance.
The major in theatre arts is designed to offer the student a strong foundation in all areas of the theatre: acting, directing, design, dance, playwriting, history, literature, and performance theory. The department expects its majors to augment their knowledge and experience in these disciplines by active participation in the full production program of Theatre Sewanee, the University theatre. The department also encourages its majors to supplement their work in theatre arts with courses offered by other departments—particularly in language, literature, music, art, and art history.
A few students each year decide to combine their theatre arts major with another major, such as English, psychology, religious studies, or politics.
The department also offers minors in dance and theatre arts for those students who choose to major in another discipline.
Requirements for the Major in Theatre Arts
The major requires successful completion of the following:
|THTR 111||Elements of Production||4|
|THTR 112||Elements of Performance||4|
|THTR 114||Elements of Design||4|
|THTR 131||Fundamentals of Acting||4|
|THTR 221||Theatre History||4|
|Select one of the following:||4|
|Select twenty additional hours in theatre (THTR), dance (DANC), or both from studio offerings in major interest areas: performance, design/production, or performance studies||20|
|Total Semester Hours||44|
|A comprehensive examination 1|
In addition to a written examination covering all aspects of theatre arts, the comprehensive exam includes a senior project that demonstrates a particular competence in acting, dance, directing, design, history, playwriting, literature or theory.
The student desiring a more intense concentration in theatre may become a candidate for departmental honors. The successful candidate: a) completes with distinction eleven (forty-four semester hours) courses in theatre arts and all other related courses; b) passes the comprehensive examination with distinction; and, c) demonstrates a particular competence in acting, directing, design, history, playwriting, literature or theory and criticism.
DANC 104 Ballet I (2)
An introduction to the vocabulary and techniques of classical ballet as a foundation of skills within the dance form.
DANC 105 Experiencing Dance History and Culture (4)
Dance literacy and appreciation are established through a combination of theory and practice. Dance history is examined through alternating political, social, and economic lenses, guided by the premise that movement expresses culture.
DANC 113 Jazz I (2)
An introduction to the vocabulary and techniques of classical ballet as a foundation of skills within the dance form.
DANC 116 Beginning Dance Techniques (2)
An introduction to the basic techniques of Western concert dance as applied to ballet, modern, and jazz dance that provides a foundation for students without formal dance training and prepares them for continued study in any of those three forms.
DANC 123 Tap I (2)
An introduction to the vocabulary and technique of tap dance that builds a basic foundation of skills within the dance form through improvisation and choreography.
DANC 154 Modern I (2)
An introduction to the vocabulary and techniques of modern, post-modern, and contemporary dance that build a basic foundation of skills for the dance form.
DANC 204 Ballet II (2)
DANC 213 Jazz II (2)
DANC 223 Tap II (2)
Continued study of tap dance technique that extends the vocabulary and develops technical skills. Prerequisite: DANC 123 or placement.
DANC 224 Dance Composition (4)
An exploration of the creative process of choreography and the craft of dance composition. Dance studies are created as a means of investigating and developing a unique artistic voice and utilizing compositional skills to effectively express and communicate ideas. Dance experience or previous knowledge of composition in visual arts, music, or creative writing is recommended.
DANC 254 Modern II (2)
DANC 304 Ballet III (2)
A study of advanced techniques of classical ballet that offers and in-depth investigation of movement principles through the development and integration of technical skills and personal artistry. Prerequisite: DANC 204.
DANC 313 Jazz III (2)
A study of advanced techniques of jazz dance that offers an in-depth investigation of movement principles through the development and integration of technical skills and personal artistry. Prerequisite: DANC 213.
DANC 315 Dance Science and Somatics (4)
An exploration of fundamental principles of movement to ensure safety, development, and growth as a performing artist through studies of somatic techniques, anatomy, kinesiology, injury prevention, and nutrition. This course is equal parts lecture and embodied movement practice. Prerequisite: DANC 105 or DANC 116 or DANC 123 or DANC 204 or DANC 213 or DANC 215 or DANC 223 or DANC 224.
DANC 354 Modern III (2)
A study of advanced techniques of modern dance that offers in-depth investigation of movement principles through the development and integration of technical skills in the form with personal artistry. Prerequisite: DANC 254.
DANC 444 Independent Study (2 or 4)
An opportunity for students to explore a topic of interest in an independent or directed manner. Prerequisite: Instructor prerequisite override required.
Theatre Arts Courses
THTR 101 Introduction to Theatre (4)
An introduction to aesthetics and the art of the theatre through an analysis of stage development and production technique.
THTR 103 Playing Shakespeare I: Shakespeare from School to Stage (4)
An approach to Shakespeare performance that begins with a consideration of Shakespeare's education in the verbal arts at Stratford Grammar School. In addition to intensive work in speaking and embodying Shakespeare script, student actors engage in exercises in verbal improvisation and written composition based on Renaissance rhetoric. Prerequisite or Corequisite: ENGL 101.
THTR 111 Elements of Production (4)
An examination of the collaborative contributions costumes, scenery, lighting, and property technicians make to the art of theatre. An introduction to the materials, technologies, equipment, structures, and best practices used in contemporary theatre production. Open only to first-year students and sophomores.
THTR 112 Elements of Performance (4)
An analysis of theatre as a collaborative art form with an introduction to the materials, forms, and functions of theatrical art. A discussion of genre, dramatic structure, and theory of performance. The course is designed for majors and minors in theatre arts. Open only to first-year students and sophomores.
THTR 114 Elements of Design (4)
An analysis of theatrical design as a collaborative art form with an introduction tot he materials, forms, and functions of design. An introduction to the research, analysis, graphics, materials, and techniques used in contemporary theatre design. Open only to first-year students and sophomores.
THTR 131 Fundamentals of Acting (4)
An introduction to the actor's art. Understanding the demands of performance. The execution of dramatic action. Students are expected to perform frequently in exercises and scenes.
THTR 143 Beginning Video Production (4)
Video/film techniques including primary use of camera, visual and auditory editors, visual and sound image coordination, cinematography, script planning, and basic directing. Films will be analyzed with written reviews and studied in terms of imagery and metaphor, narrative development, structural parentheses and patterns, picture rhythm, and film time and film space augmentation. Students will participate in a group film-making experience followed by three individual assignments.
THTR 201 Masks and Millinery (2)
An introduction to the methods used in the design and creation of masks and hats for stage costumes. Prerequisite: THTR 111.
THTR 202 Stage Make-up for Performance (2)
An exploration of the stage make-up techniques used by actors and designers in the creation of characters.
THTR 221 Theatre History (4)
A survey of the history of the theatre with particular emphasis on the development of theatrical presentation and stage space. Open only to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
THTR 226 Asian Theatre (4)
An introductory survey of traditional Asian theatre with particular emphasis on the cultural, sociological, and aesthetic context of theatre and dance form in the Noh, Kabuki, and Bunraku of Japan. Chinese Opera, Sanskrit drama, the Indian Kathakali, Malaysian shadow play, and Balinese dance theatre.
THTR 227 Classic Plays on the Modern London Stage (4)
An exploration of how changing cultural values and aesthetics of the late 20th and early 21st centuries have shaped approaches to the staging of classic British plays. Topics will include changing styles of acting, design, theatre architecture, stage speech, and non-traditional casting. The work of several groundbreaking contemporary theatre directors will be studied and the dramatic literature will be chosen to match productions that students can see on stage in London.
THTR 232 Shakespeare and the Actor (2)
Intensive rehearsal of selected monologues and scenes. Exercises in this course help students develop vocal and physical expressiveness and skill in speaking heightened language. Prerequisite: THTR 131 or THTR 231 or ENGL 357 or ENGL 358.
THTR 234 The Physical Actor: From Neutrality to Clown (4)
An introduction to the actor training methods of Jacques Lecoque with an emphasis on comedy. Exercises in movement, mime, character, improvisation, clowning, and for the neutral, larval, and Commedia mask. Students develop performance projects: original clown acts and performance pieces, traditional clown entrances, improvisations based on Commedia lazzi, scenes influenced by the Commedia from plays by authors such as Shakespeare and Molière. Prerequisite: THTR 131 or THTR 231.
THTR 235 Voice and Interpretation (4)
Work in voice production, articulation, and interpretation through readings of literary and dramatic texts. A substantial amount of memorization is required. Prerequisite: THTR 103 or THTR 131 or THTR 231.
THTR 236 Acting with an Accent (4)
An advanced scene study course in which students master the International Phonetic Alphabet and apply it to scenes written in a variety of dialects. Particular attention is given to regional American dialects and to the dramatic literature of English, Irish, and South African playwrights. Prerequisite: THTR 131 or THTR 231.
THTR 239 Playing Shakespeare II: From Rehearsal to Performance (4)
Advanced practice in speaking and embodying Shakespeare's language. Close scrutiny of Shakespeare's script for clues to performance. Students undertake written and oral exercises in understanding Shakespeare's rhetorical strategy, as well as intensive rehearsal of selected monologues and scenes for end-of-semester presentation. Not available for credit to students who have taken THTR 232 or THTR 233. Prerequisite: THTR 103 or THTR 131 or THTR 231 or THTR 232.
THTR 240 Costume Technology (4)
An in-depth study of the techniques used in the creation of stage costumes. Students will explore historical and modern methods of drafting, draping, and fabric modification, including advanced construction skills. Prerequisite: THTR 111.
THTR 245 The Audition Process (2)
Selection and preparation of audition monologues from the modern and classical repertories. This course provides information on the business of acting, various audition situations, and will include information sessions with an agent, a casting director and professional actors. Prerequisite: THTR 131 or THTR 231.
THTR 246 Design and Décor Period Styles (4)
A survey of architecture, decor, and clothing from ancient to modern with special emphasis on the stylistic trends of each era. Emphasis in this class is on research and analysis of period styles. By looking at the common decorative elements of a certain era, the stage designer and director are able to understand the period style to create a more believable and unified stage picture.
THTR 301 Special Topics in Theatre Design and Technology (2)
This course offers an opportunity for students to explore in depth a variety of specialized topics in theatrical design or technology. Advanced, new, or experimental techniques for creating exciting visual elements for the stage are emphasized.
THTR 302 Special Topics in Theatre Performance (4)
This course offers an opportunity for students to explore in depth a variety of specialized topics in theatre performance theory and techniques. Advanced, new, or experimental techniques in performance will be emphasized in this course.
THTR 323 Aspects of Contemporary Theatre (4)
A seminar in the development of post-modern performance theory. Theatricalization of contemporary thought and concepts of performance are studied in the work of Antonin Artaud and Bertold Brecht, in The Theatre of the Absurd, environmental theatre, impossible theatre, theatre of images, and others. Open only to juniors and seniors.
THTR 337 Writing for Solo Performance (4)
An introduction to the art of solo performance. Exercises in dramatic style, storytelling, and in writing and performing such solo genres as the autobiographical and character monologue. Consideration of selected examples of solo work from Homer, Sappho, the Medieval jongleurs, the West African griots, and such modern performance artists as Ruth Draper, Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Hoch, and Spalding Gray. Each student writes and rehearses an original performance project for public presentation at the end of the semester.
THTR 340 Acting: Classic American Plays (4)
This scene study course focuses on the plays of the 1930s-1950s, the era when American theatre first established itself internationally. Particular attention is given to the work of Eugene O'Neill, Clifford Odets, Lillian Hellman, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, William Inge, and Lorraine Hansberry as well as the approaches of prominent acting teachers during the period when the term "method acting" was coined. Prerequisite: THTR 131 or THTR 231.
THTR 342 Scene Design (4)
Deals with script analysis, scenic research techniques, periods and styles of production, exercises in scale, proportion, volume, and color. The student is expected to complete a series of projects culminating in the completed design of a classic or contemporary play. Prerequisite: THTR 114.
THTR 343 Advanced Video Production (4)
This seminar course involves the production of video, sound, and the moving image. Students pursue a combination of advanced assignments and self-directed projects aimed towards furthering the study of these art forms through a focused set of methods and technologies. Prerequisite: ART 102 or ART 104 or ART 202 or ART 231 or ART 243 or ART 331.
THTR 344 Lighting Design (4)
Exercises in script analysis, research options, styles of production, lighting theory, techniques and equipment. Through journals and projects, students interpret and communicate with light. Prerequisite: THTR 114.
THTR 347 Scene Painting (4)
A study of basic techniques, tools and procedures employed by the scenic artist. Projects include exercises in color theory and mixing; problem solving; and common finishes on hard, soft, and three-dimensional scenic units.
THTR 351 Fundamentals of Stage Direction (4)
Introduction to the theoretical and technical aspects of directing through production of short scenes from the classical repertoire. Prerequisite: THTR 131 or THTR 231.
THTR 352 Advanced Stage Directing (4)
THTR 360 Computer Aided Design for Performance (4)
An opportunity for advanced students to explore drafting, drawing, rendering, and modeling software used for scenery, lighting, and costume design. Designers will work together on various advanced projects and have the opportunity to experiment in each area of design using the related software. Prerequisite: THTR 342 or ART 342 or THTR 344 or ART 344.
THTR 361 Costume Design (4)
Fundamentals of costume design and construction taught through principles of design, concept development, play analysis, character study, and visual metaphor. The laboratory includes basic methods of pattern making and costume construction.
THTR 362 Advanced Costume Design (4)
A continuation of the study in the design of costumes for theatre and dance. Advanced research in the history and development of costume rendering, construction methods, and design practices. Culminates in actual design projects for theatre and dance. Prerequisite: THTR 361.
THTR 370 Design Studio: Model Making for the Theatre (2)
This project-based course prepares the advanced scenic designer to conceive, craft and present actual 3-D scenic models to the production team. Models are explored as part of the process of exploration and discovery, initial sharing of ideas, and final presentation. Basic and advanced model-making techniques are learned and executed on a series of projects, culminating with a fully realized scenic model as the final project. Prerequisite: THTR 342.
THTR 372 Design Studio: Perspective and Rendering for the Theatre (2)
This project-based course prepares the advanced scenic designer to conceive, craft, and present fully rendered perspective scenic sketches to the production team. Perspective sketches are explored as part of the exploration and discovery process, initial idea sharing, and final presentation process. Basic and advanced perspective and rendering techniques are learned and executed on a series of projects, culminating with a fully realized series of scenic perspectives as the final project. Prerequisite: THTR 342.
THTR 411 Rehearsal and Performance Lab (2)
Work on projects of particular interest to individual actors: character work, scenes, short plays, monologues, original work, or honors presentations. Prerequisite: THTR 131 or THTR 231.
THTR 412 The Shakespeare Project (2)
Actors rehearse and perform a workshop presentation of a Shakespeare play, or selections from various plays that illustrate a prominent aspect or theme of Shakespeare's work. Examples: Shakespeare's Women, Shakespeare and the Italian Commedia, Shakespeare and the Clown. Prerequisite: THTR 103.
THTR 431 Projects in Performance (2 or 4)
An opportunity for advanced students to work on particular acting, directing, design, or technical problems-either in production situations or in special workshops. Open only to juniors and seniors. Prerequisite: Instructor prerequisite override required.
THTR 444 Independent Study (2 or 4)
Advanced work for selected students. Prerequisite: Instructor prerequisite override required.
THTR 447 Advanced Scene Painting (4)
Further study in scenic art, emphasizing the advanced techniques, tools, and procedures employed by the scenic artist. Advanced exercises in color theory, color mixing, color manipulation, problem solving, and painting techniques used for hard, soft, and three dimensional scenery will be explored. Major projects include stencil, spray, texture, and representative painting techniques used in the modern theatre. Prerequisite: THTR 347.