Academic Course Catalogs

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Theatre Arts and Performance Studies

Lisa M. Baird, PhD, INTERIM CHAIR
Pavlo Bosyy, MFA
Ray Chambers, BA
Evelyn Diaz Cruz, MFA
Jeannie Galioto, MFA
Terry Glaser, MFA
Nathaniel Parde, MFA
Elizabeth Shipman, MA, CMA
Monica Stufft, PhD
George Yé, MFA

The Theatre Arts and Performance Studies Department

The Theatre Arts and Performance Studies Department offers a major and minor in theatre arts, as well as core curriculum courses. Our program frames theatre within the liberal arts environment as a holistic educational experience through integrated practical and theoretical study. We offer broad-based theatre training in the following areas: performance, scenography, theatrical production as well as performance studies. In order to facilitate an understanding of the wider applications of theatre practice beyond the theatre proper, we encourage students to explore the relationship of performance to social and cultural practices both viscerally and intellectually. Additionally, we give students the tools and methodologies to investigate a range of theatre and performance practices in a variety of national, international, historical and contemporary contexts. In addition to our professionally active faculty we engage renowned theatre practitioners who mentor our students by serving as directors or designers in season productions, guest speakers or special topic workshop leaders throughout the academic year. Through their course of study at USD, a theatre arts student has the opportunity to cultivate translatable skills that will empower them to think critically, engage creatively, and collaborate effectively enhancing their life options and diversified employability.

Major Requirements

The theatre arts and performance studies major requires 39 units of study. Students may concentrate, in their Upper-Division Electives, on performance or design.

Lower Division (10 units)

Take all of the following courses:
THEA 111 Theatre and Society (3)
THEA 116 Theatre Practicum I (1)
THEA 220 Fundamentals of Theatrical Design (3)
THEA 230 Acting I (3)

Upper Division (29 units)

Take all of the following courses:
THEA 305 Technical Theatre with Lab (4)
THEA 316 Theatre Practicum II (1)
THEA 360W Theatre History (3)
THEA 370 Performance Studies (3)
THEA 375C Theatre and Community (3)

Take one course (three units) from the following:
ENGL 280 Introduction to Shakespeare (3)*
ENGL 324 Renaissance Drama (3)
ENGL 334 Restoration and 18th-Century Drama (3)
ENGL 362 Modern Drama (3)
THEA 369 Contemporary Theatre (3)
*Students selecting this course will be choosing a major of 13 lower-division and 26 Upper-Division Units.

Take four courses (12 units) from the following:
THEA 302 Acting II (3)
THEA 303 Costume Construction (3)
THEA 320 Scenic Design (3)
THEA 330 Costume Design (3)
THEA 340 Voice and Speech (3)
THEA 350 Movement for Actors (3)
THEA 365W Playwriting (3)
THEA 385 Acting for the Musical Theatre (3)
THEA 435 Acting III (3)
THEA 445 Producing and Directing (3)
THEA 455 Stage Management (3)
THEA 494 Special Topics (3)

Minor Requirements

Lower Division (10 units)

Take all of the following courses:
THEA 111 Theatre and Society (3)
THEA 116 Theatre Practicum I (1)
THEA 220 Fundamentals of Theatrical Design (3)
THEA 230 Acting I (3)

Upper Division (11 units)

Take all of the following courses:
THEA 305 Technical Theatre with Lab (4)
THEA 316 Theatre Practicum II (1)

Take one course (three units) from the following:
THEA 360W Theatre History (3)
THEA 369 Contemporary Theatre (3)
Take one from the remaining upper division courses (three units).

Special Programs

Students interested in pursuing a liberal studies major or an interdisciplinary humanities major with a concentration in theatre arts should plan their program carefully with the advisor in their major and with the theatre arts department chair to ensure that graduation requirements are met.

Core Curriculum

Theatre arts core courses that satisfy the core curriculum fine arts requirement are as follows:

THEA 111 Theatre and Society (3)
THEA 220 Fundamentals of Theatrical Design (3)
THEA 230 Acting I (3)

Theatre Arts and Performance Studies Courses (THEA)

THEA 111 Theatre and Society (3)
This course studies theatre as an art form and examines the historical role of theatre in the world and its significance as a cultural force. It involves attending plays, designing projects and/or performing. Satisfies the core curriculum fine arts requirement.

THEA 115 THEATRE PRACTICUM I FOR NON-MAJORS (1)
A course for non-majors/non-minors only. Students serve on a faculty-supervised running crew for a minimum of 30 crew hours (most productions and projects will require more hours). This course is repeatable for up to three units.

THEA 116 Theatre Practicum I (1)
A course for majors and minors only. Students serve on a faculty-supervised running crew for a minimum of 30 crew hours (most productions and projects will require more hours). This course is repeatable for up to three units.

THEA 155 Theatre in Education (3)
This course is designed specifically for future elementary school teachers enrolled in the liberal studies major as an introduction to the use of theatre and dance in the classroom. It involves theatre and dance through form, style, history, and cultural perspectives. Students learn the structure and vocabulary of theatre and dance, as well as practical methods of application in the classroom.

THEA 220 Fundamentals of Theatrical Design (3)
This course focuses on understanding foundational elements of theatrical design and developing the skills to translate text into visual content. It involves script analysis, research, creative exploration, and visual communication. Satisfies the core curriculum fine arts requirement.

THEA 230 Acting I (3)
This course examines the tradition of the actor as storyteller and challenges students to increase their ability to express their own experience and the experience of others. It involves improvisation, monologue, and scene work, technical methods in voice, physical action, and text analysis. Satisfies the core curriculum fine arts requirement.

THEA 302 Acting II (3)
Focusing on contemporary dramatic scripts and actor transformation, this course teaches students to work creatively within a structure and to develop an acting process that balances and integrates text analysis and creative imagination. Prerequisite: THEA 230.

THEA 303 Costume Construction (3)
This course introduces theatrical costume construction techniques, procedures, and overall process. Students develop basic machine and hand-sewing skills, become familiar with costume-shop tools and equipment, pattern development, and all aspects of costume building. Also involves costume history, millinery, costume props, and accessories. Extra class laboratory hours for semester theatrical productions are required. Prerequisite: THEA 111, 220, or 230.

THEA 305 Technical Theatre with Lab (4)
This course covers the primary technical process, the behind-the-scenes work, necessary to mount a theatrical production. It involves stagecraft vocabulary, set construction, lighting and sound technology, stage management, production organization, and theatre architecture. In the technical theatre lab portion of this course, students learn how to put theory into practice in the support of the semester’s theatrical productions. It involves the construction and installation of sets, hanging and focusing lights, and the installation and configuration of the sound system. Hours outside scheduled class time will be required, including some weekends.

THEA 315 THEATRE PRACTICUM II FOR NON-MAJORS (1)
A course for non-majors/non-minors only. Students serve on a faculty-supervised running crew for a minimum of 30 crew hours (most productions and projects will require more hours). This course is repeatable for up to 3 units.

THEA 316 Theatre Practicum II (1)
A course for majors and minors only. Students serve on a faculty-supervised running crew for a minimum of 30 crew hours (most productions and projects will require more hours). This course is repeatable for up to three units.

THEA 320 Scenic Design (3)
This course is an advanced study of theatrical set design. It involves script analysis, research, sketching, model building, drafting and presentations. Students are required to attend theatrical productions, both on and off campus. Prerequisite: THEA 220.

THEA 330 Costume Design (3)
This course is an advanced study of the process of costuming a theatrical production. It involves how the social impact of clothes translates to theatrical costuming, visual and textual research, play analysis, costume history, rendering, design elements, production procedures, and collaboration with other artists. Prerequisite: THEA 220.

THEA 340 Voice and Speech (3)
This course will integrate various vocal training approaches and methods in order to encourage vocal growth in the areas of breath support, clarity of speech, diction, and range. It is specifically designed for actors, but can benefit anyone interested in public speaking or in communicating with more clarity and confidence. It involves cultivating vocal potential and performing monologues, scenes, and poetry. Prerequisite: THEA 111 or 230.

THEA 350 Movement for Actors (3)
This course focuses on physical communication through exploring personal habit, body language, character development, transformation, and style through physical action. Prerequisite: THEA 111 or 230.

THEA 360W Theatre History (3)
Centering on the contributions of theatre in mirroring cultures, this course examines the roots and development of world theatre, from ancient Greece to modern realism. It involves, along with the reading of plays, the historical approaches to studying the creation of theatre. Prerequisite: THEA 111.

THEA 365W Playwriting (3)
This course will focus writing scenes and creating work in playwriting format through reading, writing and acting exercises. A final project is the writing of an original one-act play. Prerequisite: THEA 111, 230, or ENGL 121.

THEA 369 Contemporary Theatre (3)
This course examines diverse contemporary plays, including alternative and avant-garde forms of theatre. It involves textual analysis, production history, and critical theory as is applicable to current dramatic criticism and interpretation. Prerequisite: THEA 111 or permission of instructor.

THEA 370 Performance Studies (3)
This course focuses on the critical terms and practices of the contemporary study of performance. Several key terms and important genres of artistic and social performance will be engaged through an in-depth analysis of live and recorded performances as well as performance texts. The course will draw disciplinary methodologies from anthropology and ethnography in addition to employing concepts from literary and cultural theory. Projects combine written and performance elements to help students develop as scholar-practitioners. Prerequisite: THEA 111 or permission of instructor.

THEA 375C Theatre and Community (3)
This course focuses on the use of theatre and performance as a means of exploring social and political issues. Students will examine the skills needed to create theatre for and about specific communities and their concerns. It involves all levels of creation, including researching, interviewing, writing, and performing. When available and appropriate, students will be guided in establishing partnership building with community-based organizations. Cross-listed with community service-learning. Prerequisite: THEA 111, 230, or permission of instructor.

THEA 385 Acting for the Musical Theatre (3)
This course cultivates the skills of analyzing, interpreting, and performing the two primary texts of the musical theatre song: lyrics and music. By learning the performer’s mind/body connection through researching musical theatre repertoire, students ultimately are prepared for an effective musical theatre singing audition. Prerequisite: THEA 230.

THEA 435 Acting III (3)
This course will focus on performing classical texts. Students will address the challenges of heightened language, rhetoric, argumentation, style, scansion, poetry, and period movement. Prerequisites: THEA 230, 302.

THEA 445 Producing and Directing (3)
This course examines the process of producing and directing for the theatre. It involves choosing a play, securing performance rights, paying royalties, negotiating contracts, casting, scheduling, design collaboration, script analysis, actor coaching, blocking, publicity, marketing, and house management. Prerequisites: THEA 230, 305.

THEA 455 Stage Management (3)
This course, by examining the role of the stage manager in the theatrical process, prepares students for practical experience and employment in educational or professional theatre, as well as for developing stage management skills in other arts-related or non-related fields. It involves field experience/observation of productions on and off campus. Prerequisites: THEA 116, 230, 305/305L.

THEA 494 Special Topics in Theatre (3)
Courses examining specific aspects of theatre not covered in other classes. See program listing each semester. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.