Theatre Arts and Performance Studies

The Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies offers three tracks within its concentration: Theatre Arts, Performance Studies, and Writing for Performance. Each track has classes that overlap with the other tracks. Each track requires 10 courses to fulfill the concentration requirements. Each track culminates in a collective senior seminar in which concentrators work with advisers to present a culminating project, as well as explore possibilities for careers in their area of study after graduation.

Theatre Arts Track

This concentration combines the study of dramatic literature, theatre history, performance theory, and studio work in the various theatre arts. All concentrators in Theatre Arts will gain practical experience through the study of acting and directing as well as in the technical production of plays, preparing students in the practical study of a cross-section of the vital aspects of theatre craft, including one class in either dance or speech. An essential aim of the concentration track is the engagement of students in performance procedures (acting, dancing, directing, choreography, design, playwriting, dramaturgy, etc.) in order to experience the inter-relationships among social contexts, dramatic texts and theatrical enactments. Along with practical study in craft, concentrators will graduate having studied theatre history and performance theory in global perspective. The study of theatre history provides a Theatre Arts concentrator with the necessary background to understand a variety of dramatic and theatrical forms. The study of performance theory enhances a student’s ability to ask fundamental questions about the role of theatre in social, political, cultural and cross-cultural arenas.

Of the ten courses required, at least four must be in theatre history and dramatic and theatrical theory that forms a backbone for further study in these areas. Students should take at least one course that exhibits geographic or topical breadth beyond what might loosely be called “mainstream” Euro-American tradition. Basic courses in technical theatre and design are required of all students, as is a senior seminar, taken by most students in their seventh semester. The remaining three courses for the concentration may be taken in areas of applied theatre arts (though this is not a requirement); there are sequences of courses available in acting/directing, playwriting, design/technical theatre, and dance.

Students wishing to enroll as concentrators in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies and take the Theatre Arts track should see the undergraduate Theatre Arts track advisor, in order to discuss options that will best serve their interests.

Required Courses

1: TSDA 0230 Acting/Directing

2: TSDA 0250 Technical Production of Plays

3: TSDA 1230 Performance Theory: Ritual, Play and Drama in Context

4: TSDA 1240 Performance Historiography and Theatre History

5: TSDA 1250 Twentieth-Century Western Theatre and Performance

6: One course in Dramatic or Performance Literature, Theory, History and/or Criticism offered or cross-listed in the department *

7: Either TSDA 0220 or any dance history or practice course. *

8-9: Two electives to be selected from applied areas and.or from relevant theoretical and text-based studies throughout the university. *

10: TSDA 1520 Senior Seminar

* At least one course in the mix of a concentrator's elective requirement's (6, 7, 8, 9) should demonstrate enhanced geographical breadth.

Performance Studies Track

The Performance Studies track in the Theatre Arts and Performance Studies concentration offers a base for students interested in a variety of performance forms, performance media, or in intermedial art. A concentrator in this track will study the multiple modes in which live performance articulates culture, negotiates difference, constructs identity, and transmits collective historical traditions and memories. Because Performance Studies is not primarily invested in one performance mode over another (such as theatre or dance), a concentrator will gain exposure to a broad spectrum of performance modes. Studying ritual, play, game, festival, spectacle and a broad spectrum of “performance behaviors” under the umbrella of Performance Studies, a concentrator will graduate having investigated the role of performance in culture, including performative acts in everyday life, political enactment, ritual behavior, aesthetic or representational practices, and social role or the performance of subjectivity. The history of aesthetic performance practices (such as the histories of theatre and/or dance) will be an important part of this track, serving to ground inquiry into the broader spectrum of performance study. Students will craft their electives on this track from a wide selection of courses both within the Department of Theatre, Speech and Dance and across the university. The study of performance behavior across mediums such as dance, theatre, ritual, and orature allows for geographic and historical flexibility as not all cultures parse theatre from dance, nor, historically, genres of religious or political ritual from genres of entertainment, play, or game.

At least two of the ten required classes must show geographic or cultural breadth, and be approved as such by the undergraduate concentration advisor. Participation in practical classes in modes of performance is also required.

Students wishing to enroll as concentrators in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies and take the Performance Studies track should see the undergraduate Performacne Studies track advisor, in order to discuss options that will best serve their interests.

Required Courses

1: TSDA 1230 Performance Theory: Ritual, Play and Drama in Context

2: TSDA 1240 Performance Historiography and Theatre History

3-5: Three of the following, one of which must show geographical breadth:

6-7: Two full credit courses based in performance craft in either Acting, Directing, Speech, Dance, Design, Literary Arts (with a performance emphasis), Visual Arts or Music. These classes must be approved by the concentration advisor.

8-9: Two additional courses in the academic study of performance and performance culture(s) to be culled from those listed above as well as other courses in the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies or throughout the university in consultation with advisor. An extensive list of courses that might be considered Performance Studies can be made available to interested students

10: TSDA 1520 Senior Seminar

Writing for Performance Track

Concentrators explore the craft and sensibility of writing for live performance in the broad context of art in a changing society. Moving through a graduated series of skill-based writing classes, students additionally encounter theater history in core courses and focused seminars, engage with the practical aspects of production, and relate theatre to other disciplines. Writing is viewed neither as an alienated cause nor a terminal outpost, but as a co-equal aspect of a creative ecology, sharing space with orature, acting, scenography, ethics, and all fields that focus attention, invoke fascination, and alert the will to the possibilities of transformation.

Ten courses are required: A minimum of two writing-skills classes relevant to live performance; a writing or composition class outside of live performance (literature, screenplay, computer programming, video editing); a technical production class; a performance-based class; TAPS 1230 and 1250; one elective drawn from inside or outside the department that broadens the cultural and disciplinary reach of the track, for example concerning the study of social phenomena from a scientific, philosophical, or political perspective (chosen in consultation with an advisor); senior seminar.

Students wishing to enroll as concentrators in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies on the Writing for Performance track should see the undergraduate Writing for Performance track advisor, in order to discuss options that will best serve their interests.

For all concentrators, regardless of track:

In cases where dual concentrations are declared, the Department allows two courses to be counted toward both concentrations.

Required Courses

1: One writing course from the following:

2: One Course from the following:

3: One writing/composition class outside of playwriting:

4: Other courses to be approved by advisor:

5: One performance-based class. Options include Acting, Directing, Speech, Dance, Visual Arts, Music, or Sign Language.

6-7: Two classes in theatre and performance history:

8-9: Two additional Theater/Performance History/Theory classes:

10: TAPS 1520 Senior Seminar

For all concentrators, regardless of track:

In cases where dual concentrations are declared, the Department allows two courses to be counted toward both concentrations.

Honors:

The standard pattern above, plus an honors thesis (TSDA 1990), the topic of which would be determined before Semester VII. Candidates for the honors program should have an outstanding academic record and should apply to the Department by Semester VI.

Further Aides to Successful Concentration Experiences:

Capstone Experiences:

The tracks come together in several courses but also in a culminating senior seminar. In addition to the senior seminar there are a wide variety of ways students who concentrate can construct a “capstone” experience– such as directing a production, a solo performance, a dance piece, an honor’s thesis, or a design project.




Page last updated in January, 2011.

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