The Department of Theatre offers an academic program of recognized excellence which develops students as practicing theatre artists and engaged audience members.

Course offerings in theatre, along with the department's co-curricular production program, are designed to provide the liberal arts student with knowledge of and experience in an art form which has played an important role in our cultural history as well as in contemporary society. Performance or laboratory experience makes possible an appreciation of the art which can be derived only from direct participation. The practical experience of working together in a disciplined collaborative art facilitates one's understanding of oneself and of other people.

The primary objectives of the theatre production program are to:

(1) Provide significant and challenging artistic experiences for our students

(2) Engage the student body as a whole by producing performances of historical, contemporary, literary and/or theatrical merit

(3) Augment the community's cultural life through the presentation of plays of social and theatrical value.

Theatre students currently

  • Participate in the mainstage production program as actors, designers, stage managers, dramaturgs, publicists and technicians
  • Mount student-directed and -produced work on a regular basis
  • Participate in the New York Arts Semester Program; The Philadelphia Center, an urban semester program sponsored by the GLCA; or the Chicago Semester program
  • Work with established professionals in theatre through guest artist residencies and through involvement with the Hope Summer Repertory Theatre

Graduates of the Department of Theatre have been involved in pursuing such careers as:

  • Acting, directing, designing, stage management and arts administration
  • University teaching
  • Serving as members of professional repertory companies
  • Internships at regional professional theatres such as the Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Steppenwolf Theatre, The New Group, the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre,  Trinity Repertory Theatre and the Wooster Group.
  • Graduate study at such schools as the Florida State University Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University, the University of Illinois, Northwestern University and Southern Methodist University


A major in theatre generally serves one of the following purposes:

  1. More intensive study in this particular discipline as the emphasis within the student's liberal arts education.
  2. Preparation for graduate work leading to an M.A., M.F.A., Ph.D., or D.F.A. degree in theatre.
  3. Preparation for work in a non-commercial field of theatre such as community theatre.
  4. Preparation for advanced training leading to a career in the professional theatre.

The major program is designed on a "contract" basis, with provisions as follows:

Theatre Major: 35 credits consisting of

  • THEA 161 – Acting I
  • THEA 205 – Principles of Design
  • THEA 210/211 – Theatre Crafts I and II
  • One course chosen from THEA 222 – Scene Design, THEA 223 – Lighting Design, or THEA 224 – Costume Design
  • THEA 243 – Play Analysis
  • THEA 250 – Stage Management
  • Two courses chosen from THEA 301/ 302 – Western Theatre I and II, and THEA 306 – American Theatre
  • THEA 331 – Stage Direction I
  • Three credits chosen from either THEA 380 – Advanced Theatre Practicum, THEA 490 – Independent Studies in Theatre or THEA 495 – Seminar in Theatre
  • Or an internship with the Hope Summer Repertory Theatre or with an off-campus program, as approved by the theatre faculty

In conjunction with a departmental academic advisor, the student will propose additional courses for completion of his or her major contract. This proposed course of study in an area or areas of special concentration will be designed to suit the student's own individual interests, needs and career goals. Typical areas of concentration are design and technical theatre, directing and performance. The major contract proposal will be submitted for approval to the Theatre Council, which is comprised of the theatre faculty and elected student representatives.

In addition to the curricular requirements, every design/technical-concentration student who does not have an assigned responsibility on- or off-stage for a major departmental production is expected to serve a minimum of 10 hours on one of the crews for that production. Majors with a concentration in performance are expected to participate in all departmental production auditions. Majors with a concentration in direction will stage manage at least one departmental production.

In order that full advantage may be taken of the individualized approach to the major program, it is in the best interest of the student to declare the major by the end of the sophomore year. It is recommended that major contracts include at least two full semesters of study following submission.

Although the department has no foreign language requirement beyond the general college requirement, students anticipating graduate school – particularly in the areas of theatre history, literature and criticism – are advised to consider the undergraduate preparation in language which may be expected by graduate departments.

A theatre student handbook is available in the department office. Majors are expected to be familiar with information provided in this handbook.


Arts I: THEA 101, 153

Arts II: THEA 110, 130, some sections of THEA 280



21-22 credits consisting of :

  • THEA 161 – Acting I
  • THEA 243 – Play Analysis
  • THEA 210 and 211 – Theatre Crafts I and II
  • THEA 301, 302 and 306 – One theatre history course chosen from Western Theatre History I and II and American Theatre

An additional 3-4 credits chosen from the following:

  • THEA 205 – Principles of Design
  • THEA 222 – Scene Design
  • THEA 223 – Lighting Design
  • THEA 224 – Costume Design
  • THEA 250 – Stage Management
  • THEA 331 – Stage Direction, or a second theatre history course.

The theatre student handbook, available in the theatre department office, contains further information on the theatre minor.

General Education Courses

101. Introduction to the Theatre — This course will examine the role and value of theatre in our culture and introduce students to the art of theatre by exploring the ways in which playwrights, directors, actors, designers, technicians, and audiences collaborate and make choices to create theatre. Through individual creative projects or lab experiences, lectures, demonstrations, readings, discussions, and viewing live and videotaped theatre performances, the student will have the opportunity to enrich his/her awareness and understanding of the artistic process inherent in creating theatre. By the end of the semester, the student will attend, read, discuss, and write about theatre with greater sensitivity and insight.
4 Credits | As Needed | The Arts I (FA1)

110. Acting for the Non-Major — The course will introduce the student to the creative process of acting. Through readings, discussion, class exercises and improvisations, written analyses, scene work, and viewing live theatre performances, the student will recognize, understand, and participate in acting as an interactive and artistic expression of the human experience. Through his/her observation of and participation in this process, the student will gain a deeper awareness and appreciation of the challenge and value of acting.
2 Credits | Fall, Spring - When Feasible | The Arts II (FA2)

130. Oral Interpretation of Literature — A basic course designed to develop an increased understanding and appreciation of literature while cultivating and strengthening vocal skills through the process of interpretive reading.
2 Credits | As Needed | The Arts II (FA2)

153. Art of the Cinema — An introductory course in film appreciation. Films viewed and critiqued in class will be approached in terms of the cultural context of each film and the filmmaker's relation to the society in which he or she lives -- its values, mores, and aspirations.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring - When Feasible | The Arts I (FA1)

Performance/Production Courses

105. Introduction to Theatre Practice — Introduction to the performance and production aspects of theatre art. Through readings, discussions, laboratory experience, and class projects, the student will become acquainted with the functions and the relation to the total production organization of the director, designers, technical director, actors, technicians, and stage manager. Course is designed primarily for the intended Theatre major. Course is open only to entering freshmen.
1 Credit | Fall

161. Acting I — An introduction to basic principles of acting and to ensemble playing. Recommended that intended performance-concentration majors enroll in the freshman year.
4 Credits | Fall

162. Acting II — A study of observation, sensory recall, focus, characterization, and improvisation, together with the actor's approach to script analysis, leading to the presentation of short scenes.
4 Credits | Spring

205. Principles of Design — This course will explore through various projects the basic design vocabulary used in set, costume, and lighting design and the basic principles, controls, and use of visual elements in design.
2 Credits | Spring

210. Theatre Crafts I — An introduction to the fundamentals of technical production in the performing arts. Areas of study will include scenery construction, drafting, scene painting, properties, and costume construction. Students will examine the theatre plant and the collaborative process and will be provided with a solid understanding of theatre terminology. Two one-and-one-half-hour lectures and one two-hour lab per week.
4 Credits | Fall

211. Theatre Crafts II — Continuation of Thea 210 as an introduction to the fundamentals of technical production in the performing arts. Areas of study will consist of lighting and sound design and implementation. Students will examine the processes, terminology, and techniques applicable to these areas. Two one-and-one-half-hour lectures and one two-hour lab per week.
4 Credits | Spring

215. Stage Makeup — Study of the principles of makeup for the stage. Training in skills and techniques needed for understanding the application of straight, character, and fantasy makeup. Emphasis will be on facial anatomy, physiognomy, corrective makeup, skin textures, materials, modeling, analysis, special structures.
2 Credits | As Needed

222. Scene Design — An introduction to designing scenery for stage production. Course work is divided into three major areas of study: (a) history of architecture, furniture styles, and interior decor from the early Egyptians to the present day; (b) theoretical considerations in analyzing a production visually for an open theatre space; and (c) training in the techniques of sketching, painting, and model-building for set designs. Thea 210 and Thea 211 are highly recommended prior to this course.
3 Credits | Spring, Odd Years

223. Lighting Design — A study of the tools, technology, and artistic considerations of theatrical lighting. Course deals with the aesthetic problems of lighting design as the artistic effort of an individual working within a producing group. Thea 210 and Thea 211 are highly recommended prior to this course.
3 Credits | Fall, Even Years

224. Costume Design — An introduction to the role of the costume designer in the theatre. Emphasis will be placed on developing each student's imagination, creativity, and technique in designing costumes for the theatre. Course work will include consideration of the designer's responsibilities as a visual artist, based on analysis of the script and production concept, development of techniques for analysis, historical research, and rendering. Thea 210 and Thea 211 are highly recommended prior to this course.
3 Credits | Spring, Even Years

243. Play Analysis — The objective in this course is to learn how to read a playscript as a work intended for stage performance. Regularly assigned written analyses will deal with such matters as structure, plot, characterization, relationships, motivation, and language. It is recommended that intended theatre majors enroll in the freshman year.
2 Credits | Spring

250. Stage Management — This introduction to theatre stage management will emphasize: (1) management and communication practices during the production, rehearsal, and performance periods; (2) the stage manager's role in the rehearsal process; and (3) guiding and maintaining the production in performances. This course will include in-class laboratory exercises.
2 Credits | Fall

256. Playwriting — Practice in the art of writing for the stage through work on selected special problems of the playwright. Whenever possible provision will be made for reading performances of work-in-progress, and in cases of exceptional merit arrangements may be made for public performance of a finished script. Cross-listed with Engl 257.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor
4 Credits | Fall, Even Years

261. Acting III — An integrated study of voice and movement in relation to the actor's craft The work of Shakespeare and the ancient Greeks will serve as the predominant performance material. Recommended that intended performance-concentration majors enroll in the sophomore year. Thea 161 and Thea 162 are highly recommended prior to this course.
3 Credits | Fall

262. Acting IV — A continuation of Thea 261, emphasizing the voice and movement challenges inherent in the plays of Moliere, Restoration and Georgian comedy, Chekhov, and absurdist writers. Thea 161, Thea 162, and Thea 261 are highly recommended prior to this course.
3 Credits | Spring

280. Theatre Laboratory — Practical experience in theatrical production through involvement as an actor, technician, or assistant stage manager in a departmental major production. The amount of credit to be granted will be determined by the number of hours required for the particular assignment as agreed upon by student and instructor: minimum of 40 hours for one credit, 80 hours for two credits. Casting by the director, or acceptance on a production crew by the technical director is required.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor
0-2 Credits | Fall, Spring

295. Studies in Theatre — Instruction in specific performance or production techniques, such as furniture design, mime, stage combat, and special problems in acting. Each class will be limited to one such performance or production area. Frequency of course offering is determined by student demand and by availability of theatre specialists or guest artists.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor
1-2 Credits | As Needed

331. Stage Direction I — A basic course in the principles of textual analysis, design collaboration, rehearsal process, and communication skills for the director in proscenium, thrust, and arena staging. Thea 161, Thea 210, and Thea 211 are highly recommended prior to this course.
3 Credits | Fall

332. Stage Direction II — A continuation of Thea 331. Each student will produce at least one one-act play. Thea 161, Thea 210, Thea 211, and Thea 311 are highly recommended prior to this course.
2 Credits | Spring

361. Acting V — This is an advanced course and will focus on a particular facet of acting that may vary from semester to semester and will remain responsive to students' needs and interests. These classes will incorporate a combination of acting/technique exercises, written analytical work, and scene work. Thea 161, Thea 162, Thea 261, and Thea 262 are highly recommended prior to this course.
2 Credits | Spring, Odd Years

375. Musical Theatre Workshop A — Forming the initial segment of a two-semester workshop in musical theatre performance, this course will focus on the selection and preparation of solo and duet material, culminating in performance assessment by a professional guest evaluator or divisional jury. This course may be repeated to develop new skills. Thea 161 is highly recommended prior to this course.
2 Credits | Fall, Odd Years

376. Musical Theatre Workshop B — A continuation of Thea 375, this capstone workshop will provide performance students the opportunity to synthesize experiences in music, dance, and acting. Drawing material from genres of musical theatre appropriate for each individual, students will develop a “song book” portfolio and a musical theatre audition. The course will culminate in a showcase presented at the end of the spring semester. Thea 161 is highly recommended prior to this course.
2 Credits | Spring, Even Years

380. Advanced Theatre Practicum — Specialized study of a particular production aspect of a play in performance. The student will be assigned to a departmental production as an assistant director, assistant designer, or stage manager. A report, the form of which is to be governed by the nature of the project, will be submitted to the project supervisor. Registration is restricted and requires departmental approval. Ordinarily, no student will be permitted to register for practicum who has not taken basic course work in the particular area.
Prerequisites: Permission of department
0-3 Credits | Fall, Spring

381. Summer Theatre Laboratory — An integral part of the Hope Summer Repertory Theatre program, the course will concentrate on a consideration of the interrelated problems of play production. Aspects to be covered include script and character analysis, production planning and design, construction procedures and techniques, and management. Course may be taken for a maximum of six credits (i.e., two summer sessions).
Prerequisites: Acceptance into summer theatre company
3 Credits | Summer

395. Studies in Theatre — A course offered in response to student and instructor interest. Topics are not generally covered in the regular course listings. Course may be taken multiple times if topics are different.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor
1-4 Credits | As Needed

490. Independent Studies in Theatre — Independent work for the advanced student in one of the following areas: directing, acting, scene design, costuming, lighting, sound, playwriting, theatre or film criticism, theatre management. Course is offered on a selective basis, by permission of the department. The student must submit in writing, on a form available from the department office, a project proposal for departmental approval during the previous semester and prior to registration for the course.
Prerequisites: Permission of department
1-3 Credits | Fall, Spring

History And Theory Courses

296. Special Topics in Theatre — Study of an area of theatre or film history, literature, theory, or criticism not specifically covered in the regular departmental offerings. Offered occasionally as warranted by student and faculty interest.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor
2-3 Credits | As Needed

301. Western Theatre History I — Plays, theatre, and theatre performances reflect the cultural, political, and spiritual climate of the particular epoque in which they are created. By surveying Western theatre from the ancient Greeks through the 17th century, the course will attempt to make contact with the theatre of those distant times and places, to understand the forces and conventions that shaped past theatrical creation, and to examine the viable connection between the spirit and practice of our theatre past and the spirit and practice of our contemporary theatre world. Thea 243 is highly recommended prior to this course.
4 Credits | Fall

302. Western Theatre History II — As a continuation of Western Theatre History I, this course will survey theatre from the late 17th century to the present (excluding American drama). Thea 243 is highly recommended prior to this course.
4 Credits | Spring, Even Years

306. American Theatre — A study of theatre in the United States from colonial times to the present. Emphasis will be placed on contemporary developments, beginning with O'Neill and the Provincetown Playhouse. Thea 243 is highly recommended prior to this course.
4 Credits | Spring, Odd Years

495. Seminar in Theatre — Intensive study of the work of a playwright, critic, or specific movement in or period of theatre history. Past topics have included Moliere, Strindberg, American scene design, Tennessee Williams, the Moscow Art Theatre, and modern directing theories and practices from Artaud to the present.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor
2-3 Credits | As Needed

499. Readings in Theatre — Readings, under the tutorial supervision of an instructor assigned by the department chairperson, in a specialized or advanced area of theatre studies.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor
2-3 Credits | Fall, Spring

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