Theatre

  • CHRISTOPHER VANEMAN, dean

Mission Statement

The School of the Arts at Converse College inspires, teaches, and trains artists by fostering communication, creativity and scholarship, and nurtures appreciation for the visual and performing arts.

Core Values

The School of the Arts (SOA) at Converse College values and believes in the Arts as a path to: Passion, Inspiration, Imagination, Discovery, Expression, Transformation, and Joy.

Arts Foundations: Creativity that Works

The faculty in Art and Design, Theatre & Dance, and the Petrie School of Music train students to be working professionals in the arts. All students in the School of the Arts will take the following interdisciplinary courses in collaboration, personal brand development, and professionalization:

Department of Theatre and Dance

  • MEG HANNA TOMINAGA, chair
  • BOONE HOPKINS
  • CHANDRA OWENBY HOPKINS
  • LAUREN ROGERS HOPKINS
  • MELISSA OWENS

The Department of Theatre & Dance provides opportunities which enable students to develop their skills and talents in theatre arts and dance to foster a better understanding of the contribution that live performance makes to the process of educating the whole person in a liberal arts environment. Through the availability of experiences in a number of areas, students will find a wide variety of challenges and means of expression. The program of study places emphasis on the aesthetic and practical decisions inherent to these areas, thereby strengthening the student’s general intellectual capabilities and growth as an artist.

By the time of graduation, majors in theatre should demonstrate basic competencies in each area of theatre and should be able to compete successfully for positions in graduate school and in the professional job market.

The General Education Program is a requirement for all degrees. The requirements listed below are approved for the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Fine Arts.

ENG 101 3 hours
Language and Culture 9 hours
MTH 108 or higher 3 hours
One course designated as Quantitative reasoning 3–4 hours
Health and Well-being Wellness 2 hours
Activity course 1–2 hours
Humanities 6 hours
Literature 3 hours
Fine Arts 6 hours
Natural Science 7–8 hours
Social Science 6 hours
Total 49–52 hours

Graduation requirements but not a separate course:

  • First Year Seminar
  • Writing Intensive course
  • Non-European/non-Anglophone course
  • Capstone experience

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to articulate verbal and written mastery of knowledge in theatre and dance.
  2. Students will be able to analyze the art of theatre and dance in historical and theoretical contexts.
  3. Students will be able to communicate successfully and work effectively with others in a variety of production capacities.
  4. Students will be able to produce engaging and innovative works in theatre and dance.

In order to earn a minor or a major in theatre or musical theatre, students must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 across all of their theatre or musical theatre courses. Minor and major GPAs are based on the grades earned in all theatre (and major required dance and music for the Musical Theatre degree or dance for the Dance minor) classes taken at Converse. Transfer credits from other institutions do not figure into the required calculation for minor or major GPAs.

Degrees and Certificates

Classes

THR 100 : INTRODUCTION TO THEATRE

This course is an introduction to theatrical performance, history, and theory with an emphasis on the production process. Attending live theatre is an intrinsic part of the course, and through lecture, design projects, and collaborative group performance students experience first-hand the processes of creating theatre.

Credits

3

THR 102 : SCRIPT ANALYSIS

This course focuses on contemporary dramatic literature. Emphasis is placed on positioning scripts in historical and theoretical contexts including discourses on how representation makes and challenges identity in performance. Play scripts are analyzed as the foundation documents for the choices made by directors, designers, and actors in the creation of theatrical performances.

Credits

3

THR 104 : INTRODUCTION TO ASIAN THEATRE

This course introduces students to various forms of traditional and contemporary theatre as they relate to their native cultures throughout East and Southeast Asia. In addition to exposure to a variety of theatrical forms, students will have the opportunity to explore and experience elements of production methods and performance styles found in theatre forms across India, China, Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia.

Credits

3

THR 105 : THEATRE AND DANCE STUDY-TRAVEL

This course is designed to provide an intensive look at theatre and dance arts by combining readings and classroom discussions with extended travel to study the theatre and/or dance performance histories of different countries, regions, and cultures, including but not limited to major domestic and international theatrical centers.

Credits

4

THR 110 : VOICE AND DICTION

This course is a study of voice production with major emphasis placed on laboratory work designed to help the student develop greater clarity, flexibility, and expressiveness in the speaking voice.

Credits

3

THR 115 : ACTING: FUNDAMENTALS

This studio course is an introduction to the craft of Acting, utilizing the foundational psychophysical Movement training of the Michael Chekhov Acting technique. Emphasis on acquiring the skills necessary to audition for a role in a theatrical production, including choosing and developing monologue materials and preparing an actor’s headshot and resume. Priority will be given to Theatre Majors and Minors.

 

Credits

3

THR 118 : VOICE FUNDAMENTALS OF SINGING

This course will explore the singing of Musical Theatre pieces in a group class setting. Topics include breath, performance anxiety, vocal health, and posture. Classes will be a combination of both lecture and studio vocal work.

Credits

3

THR 120 : PUBLIC SPEAKING

Through observation, analysis and practice this course explores the processes and techniques of effective oral communication. Emphasis will be placed on gathering and organizing material, critical thinking, effective listening, successful vocal delivery, as well as practicing a variety of public speaking situations including impromptu and planned speeches.

Credits

3

THR 125 : FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR

First-Year Seminars (FYS) constitute a common and academically significant experience in a student’s first year at Converse. All incoming first- year students are required to take a 3 credit-hour FYS course in the fall semester, choosing from a variety of discipline specific topics. Each FYS carries the corresponding departmental prefix, but with a common course number (except designated honors sections). Each FYS course is designed to have no more than 18 students, and counts in some designated category of the General Education Program. Strong writing and speaking components are elements of the course.

Credits

3

THR 145 : INTRODUCTION TO PERFORMANCE STUDIES

Performance Studies examines the participants, contexts, and mechanisms by which performance is created. Borrowing from Anthropology, Sociology, and bodies of theory including those concerned with space, gender, race, class, and nation, Performance Studies takes up those performances generally located outside the theater or beyond the traditional performance spaces. Ritual, myth, and oral traditions as well as parades, festivals, and even sporting events are analyzed through the lens of Performance Studies. What unites the objects of study are “twice-behaved behaviors”—those behaviors that are rehearsed and presented before an audience that are concerned with making human action worth watching in a measured time and space.

GEP, Major/Minor & Elective Credit

Credits

3

THR 201 : STAGECRAFT

This course familiarizes the student with the fundamentals of the physical theatrical production process. Among the areas covered are materials, tools, safety, construction methods, electricity, and plan reading.

Credits

3

THR 202 : DRAFTING FOR THE STAGE

The course will focus on drafting techniques and problem solving as it applies to the engineering of the building of the scenic elements for a play.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

THR 230 or permission of the instructor.

THR 203 : SURVEY OF THEATRE HISTORY I: 500 B.C.E. TO 1660

This survey is an examination of representative plays and staging practices, focusing on the Greek, Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, and Neoclassical periods and including selected non-western theatrical developments such as Noh and Kabuki theatre and Sanskrit drama. Writing Intensive.

Credits

3

THR 204 : SURVEY OF THEATRE HISTORY II: 1660 TO PRESENT

This survey is an examination of representative plays and staging practices, focusing on the Restoration and 18th century sentimentality, 19th century melodrama and 20th century realism including the Romantic, Modern and Postmodern periods. This course also considers selected non-western theatrical developments such as Peking Opera, Balinese, African, Latin American and Indian forms.

Credits

3

THR 210 : SURVEY OF MUSICAL THEATRE

This course is designed to expand the student’s knowledge of the history of the American Musical Theatre by tracing its major development from its early beginning to contemporary productions. Course includes study of principal artists, works and movements.

Credits

3

THR 215 : ACTING: MICHAEL CHEKHOV TECHNIQUE

This studio course continues the exploration of the psychophysical Movement training of the Michael Chekhov Acting technique, deepening students’ understanding and practice of Imagination, Concentration, Form, and Ease. Emphasis on Character development and the development of the student artist's personal artistic voice in the studio. Priority will be given to Majors and Minors.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

THR 115 or permission of the instructor.

THR 216 : ACTING: SCENE STUDY

This studio course provides students with the techniques and practice to effectively connect and communicate with fellow actors as well as audiences. The course explores actor training through the work of key practitioners, applying the methods and vocabulary to intensive scene study.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

THR 115 or permission of the instructor.

THR 217 : ACTING: PERIOD STYLES

This studio course teaches students techniques and vocabulary employed in acting perod styles, namely those genres from eras prior to the late 20th century. Dramaturgical research, textual analysis, and appropriate vocal and physical techniques will be applied to in-depth monologue and scene work from period plays.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

THR 115 or permission of the instructor.

THR 218 : DEVISING THEATRE

Devising theatre or creating theatre is the process by which performances create original works of theatre that are not dependent on a published script. These pieces rely on actor imagination, non-traditional setting and narrative, improvisation. storytelling, and physical theatre techniques. This course teaches students the necessary skills used in devising new solo and ensemble theatre performances.

Credits

3

THR 221 : THEATRE PRACTICUM

A laboratory course in which students receive a component of experiential learning toward their degree. The work created by students enrolled in this course will both directly serve Theatre Converse’s production and department needs and will offer the students a wide variety of production opportunities unavailable in the standard classroom, ranging from running mainstage shows to experiencing master-class type workshops, depending on the Theatrical Season calendar. This course is required for Theatre Majors and Musical Theatre Majors every Fall and Spring Term, thus it may/will be repeated for
credit, as the content will change based on production needs.

Credits

1

THR 229 : FUNDAMENTALS OF THEATRICAL DESIGN

This course explores the foundational principles and processes of design for theatrical production. Beginning with the basic elements of design, students will then explore the decision making process in scenic, lighting, costume, and sound areas with special consideration for the interrelated qualities of these elements.

Credits

3

THR 230 : SCENIC DESIGN

Through lectures, demonstrations and class projects, this course covers the aesthetics and conventions of scenery design for the theatre. Emphasis will be placed on the development of design ideas resulting from script analysis, research techniques, drafting, drawing and models. The interrelationship between the theatre design areas will also be emphasized. Offered in alternate years.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

THR 229 Fundamentals of Theatrical Design.

THR 231 : LIGHTING DESIGN

This course covers all aspects of lighting design for theatre. Through lectures, demonstrations, hands-on projects, topics include: script analysis, electrical theory, control, distribution, instrumentation, color theory, movement, plus the development of a light plot and associated paperwork.

Credits

3

THR 232 : COSTUME DESIGN

Through lectures, demonstrations, and class projects, this course covers the aesthetics and conventions of costume design for the theatre. Emphasis will be placed on the development of design ideas resulting from script analysis, clothing history research, figure drawing, color theory, fabric knowledge, and adapting existing garments, as well as the development of a costume portfolio and costume production paperwork. Offered in alternate years.

Credits

3

THR 233 : PROPS DESIGN

Through lectures, demonstrations, and class projects, this course covers the aesthetics and conventions of properties design for the theatre. Emphasis will be placed on the development of designs ideas resulting from script analysis, research techniques, and the understanding and implementation of some production tools, materials, and techniques used in professional theatre. Major, Minor, elective credit.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

THR 229 or permission of the instructor

THR 234 : PUPPETRY

This course introduces students to the art of puppetry as a form of theatrical storytelling. In addition to exposure to a variety of puppetry forms, students will have the opportunity to design and build puppets based on their newfound knowledge. Students will read a number of playscripts that either incorporate puppetry or use it exclusively as the mode of staging. The course culminates in production portfolio presentations and scene selection performances.

Major, Minor, Elective credit. 

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Permission of the instructor.

THR 240 : STAGE MANAGEMENT

This course introduces students to the basic theories and techniques of Stage
Management. Over the course of the semester, we will examine and discuss common practices within the position, and, through activities, gain an understanding of duties performed in various situations throughout the production process, from running meetings and rehearsals to calling shows. Successful completion of this course will prepare students to confidently undertake the actual position at the university level, and will provide the background needed to build experiences toward working in stage management at the professional level. Major, Minor, elective credit.

Credits

3

THR 250 : DRAMATURGY

Dramaturgy is the process by which a written text, artifact, or event is brought to life on the theatrical stage. As a professional theatre artist and member of the production team, a dramaturg combines knowledge of theatre and world history, playwriting, translation and script analysis, and performance practices such as directing in order to: research, examine, and share knowledge of the text of the play script, translation issues and options, the play’s original societal context, and any information that assists the director, actors, designers, or audience in understanding the theatrical performance. This course will investigate the history and development of Dramaturgy in European and later U.S. theatre and the contemporary function of the dramaturg in professional and academic theatre settings.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

THR 102 Script Analysis, or by permission of the instructor.

THR 299H : INTERDISCIPLINARY HONORS COURSE

This course is team taught by members in two departments and is open to Nisbet Honors Program participants and to others who meet Honors Program guidelines. All students registering for these courses must register not only through the Honors Program but also with their adviser and the Registrar’s Office.

THR 301 : DISNEY'S AMERICA: THEATER AND PERFORMANCE

This interdisciplinary course examines the impact of the mass media company, Disney, on American popular performance, and specifically the complex relationship between historical accuracy and representation as American history is reinscribed and reimagined through Disney’s media output. Of specific interest for this course will be the historiographic concerns that cross American history and American theatre history and performance studies including representations of marginalized identities such as indigenous populations and women of color. After analyzing key thematic concerns in Disney films, products, parks, musicals, and cruises, this course will travel to two Florida theme parks, the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, to experience firsthand the many ways in which Disney employs performance to tell America’s history.

Credits

4

THR 303 : SPECIAL TOPICS IN PERFORMANCE

An in-depth study of one specific area of theatrical performance. Offering based on available staff/student interest. Because course content will vary, it may be taken more than once for credit.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Permission of instructor.

THR 304 : SPECIAL TOPICS IN PRODUCTION

A study/workshop course that is focused on one specific problem or aspect of technical theatre production. Offering based on available staff/student interest. Because course content will vary, it may be taken more than once for credit.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Permission of instructor.

THR 305 : SPECIAL TOPICS IN DRAMATIC LITERATURE

This course is focused on one specific aspect of dramatic literature, such as a playwright or an historical period. Offering based on available staff/student interest. Because course content will vary, it may be taken more than once for credit.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Permission of instructor.

THR 315 : ACTING: ADVANCED MICHAEL CHEKHOV TECHNIQUE

This studio course continues the exploration of the psychophysical Movement training of the Michael Chekhov Acting technique, deepening students’ understanding and practice. Emphasis on Advanced Composition tools and the development of students’ leadership voice in the studio through curricular assigned teaching opportunities. May be repeated once for credit. Priority will be given to Majors and Minors.

Major, Minor, Elective credit.
 

Credits

3

THR 318 : ACTING: THE SONG

This course focuses on the storytelling aspect of singing, specifically related to Musical Theatre. Students will work on pieces from the Musical Theatre canon, ballad and up-tempo, traditional and contemporary. Exploring the text and using the Michael Chekhov Acting technique, students will learn to develop engaging characters and truthful stories while singing.

Credits

3

THR 320 : THEATRE PEDAGOGY

This course examines the foundations of the processes of learning and teaching with special attention paid to the ways in which theatre is taught and learned. Emphasis is placed on effective teaching methods in the arts and the variety of ways students learn including practice-based means and the strategic use of technology in the classroom. Major, Minor, elective credit.

Credits

3

THR 350 : DIRECTING

This course explores leadership in theatrical productions and the skills required in contemporary directing practice. Student laboratory work will consist of solving directorial challenges and working with student artists in the creation of scenes. Students will also practice skills in script analysis, stage composition, actor coaching, communication, and collaboration.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Theatre and Musical Theatre majors only or permission of instructor.

THR 391 : PLAYWRITING

A course designed to give the student the basic understanding and practical experience in the craft of playwriting. The course will culminate in the development of an original one act script. Writing Intensive.

Credits

3

THR 399 : PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SEMINAR

This course is for Junior Theatre and Musical Theatre majors, and explores professionalism, graduate school opportunities, and performing arts career preparation. A major component of this course is the selection of and preparation for the Senior Capstone production. Offered in Spring.

Credits

1

THR 411 : PROFESSIONAL INTERNSHIP

This program is designed for students who plan a career in theatre. It offers students an opportunity to observe and participate in the activities of a regional theatre company. Students accepted for this program must receive a written recommendation from a member of the theatre department. Pass/fail grading.

THR 412 : PROFESSIONAL INTERNSHIP IN ARTS MANAGEMENT

This program is designed for students who plan a career in arts management. Students accepted for the program will observe and participate in the activities of an arts council or similar organization whose function is the management of an arts activity. Pass/fail grading.

Prerequisites

Must have the approval of a member of the Theatre & Dance department.

THR 418 : ACTING: MUSICAL THEATRE WORKSHOP

Major, Minor, Elective credit. An intensive studio course focusing on devising a Musical Theatre review; students will learn music and lyrics from multiple Musical Theatre scores with a thematic thru-line. Layering in blocking, choreography, and character development, the class culminates with a public performance of the new work. May be repeated for a maximum of six credits.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: THR318 or permission of the instructor.

THR 450 : ADVANCED DIRECTING

Advanced work in the directorial process will be covered. Topics of study include the directing of experimental works, musicals, non-realistic drama, and period work. The student’s work will culminate in the performance of selected scenes from different genres.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

THR 350 DIRECTING

THR 499 : SENIOR CAPSTONE PROJECT

This is an independent project that affords students an opportunity to work in depth on an aspect of a theatre production or project that reflects a student’s area of emphasis within the major. These areas may include but are not limited to: directing, design, acting, management, etc. Working in conjunction with a faculty advisor, this capstone experience is meant to culminate four years of study and to prepare the student for real-world experience or continued study at the graduate level. Capstone.

Credits

2