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Department of

Theatre Arts and Performance Studies

Theatre Arts and Performance Studies FAQs

Q: Do I need to audition in order to be admitted as a Theatre Arts and Performance Studies major at the University of San Diego?
A: No, however, we do encourage interested prospective students to read through the Theatre Arts and Performance Studies website, visit the USD campus and stop by the Theatre Arts and Performance Studies Department. Feel free to call us to arrange an interview with the Department Chair and to tour our facilities.

Q: How many productions do you do a year?
A: Theatre Arts and Performance Studies generally produces four productions a year: three faculty (or guest) directed productions, and one student-directed production, but there are many opportunities to create and mount work within our Lunchbox and Dinnerbox series. In any given year we are apt to stage a mix of contemporary, experimental or devised plays, re-imagined classics or a musical. Over the course of four years we attempt to assemble a good variety of shows to provide our students with exposure to a broad range of theatrical styles and approaches. While we hope our productions are entertaining, our pedagogical aim is to give students a practicum environment which allows students to extend the in-class experience into an inventive and creative non-traditional learning environment. This becomes a crucible where a student can apply and reinforce level-appropriate mastery of the skills and knowledge of a budding scholar-practitioner.

The Student Lab will stage one production each year which is entirely student-produced and often provides opportunities to write, direct, design, and crew in addition to perform.

Q: Do you have to be a Theatre Arts and Performance Studies major or take Theatre Arts and Performance Studies classes in order to appear in productions?
A: No, the audition process is open to all. It is true, however, that students who take courses here tend to do better than those who do not. In class students are developing skills and enhancing their critical and creative thinking abilities which are applicable both inside and outside of the Theatre Arts and Performance Studies discipline. Non-majors are welcome in all our
classes, however, they must have met the appropriate prerequisites to participate in upper division courses. Non-majors have acted, directed, designed and stage-managed with some frequency in our department productions.

Q: How many Theatre majors are there at present?
A: We have over 30 Theatre Arts and Performance Studies majors.

Q: It is possible to pursue a double major?
A: Yes. Many of our Theatre Arts and Performance Studies majors tend to pursue a second major, in everything from English to Political Science to Business to Education. We strongly encourage students to consider this option as Theatre Arts and Performance Studies is inherently an interdisciplinary affair. Our department offers a very good advising system to help guide students effectively should they decide to pursue a double major.

Q: Is your program a conservatory program (BFA) or a liberal arts program (BA)?
A: USD is itself a liberal arts university and our program reflects that fact. We are not a conservatory.

Q: Will you prepare me to have an acting career in television and film or in the musical theatre?
A: While we offer classes with such concentrations our program is designed to offer a well-rounded Theatre Arts and Performance Studies education within a liberal arts institution. Majors are required to explore a broad range of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies classes in Performance, Scenography, Theatrical Production and Performance Studies. The benefits of exploring multiple areas of emphasis are two-fold:

1. The student is provided with a useful range of translatable skills and competencies.
2. Students often discover entirely new areas of expertise and interest that lead to fulfilling careers previously unimagined within the Theatre Arts and Performance Studies field.

Q: Do you have a graduate program in Theatre?
A: While there is a graduate theatre department that administers a classically-focused acting program, ours is an undergraduate program solely. There are many opportunities to crew graduate productions and the occasional opportunity to perform small roles, assistant direct or assistant stage-manage for the graduate program when need arises. These opportunities, however, are not guaranteed to any undergraduate Theatre Arts and Performance Studies student and only occur at the discretion and recommendation of the Theatre Arts and Performance Studies director.