Program and Courses
Theatre Program Objectives
- Students will receive a balanced curriculum rooted in the fundamental aspects of the theory and practice of theatre.
- Students will elect to specialize in a particular aspect of theatre arts and receive extensive preparation for the professional world or futher study in their field.
- Classwork and productions will incorporate the latest theoretical and practical developments in the theatre arts.
- The program will provide courses which serve the liberal arts general elective needs of the campus community.
- Students will participate in a season of public theatrical productions, representative of various styles and periods.
Major and Minor Programs
The Bachelor of Arts degree is for students interested in careers in any area of theatre, including acting, directing, design, and technical theatre. This degree program also prepares students to pursue graduate studies in the performing arts. Each student, in consultation with a faculty adviser, can design a plan that allows concentrated study in performance, design, dramatic theory/literature/theatre history, and technical theatre. Many SCSU students who choose to major in another subject choose the option of being a Theatre Minor. This option allows them to take fewer courses through the theatre department but still have their academic transcript reflect a substantial academic concentration in Theatre.
All SCSU students are welcome and encouraged to enroll in any courses in the theatre curriculum, so long as they fulfill any prerequisites or obtain required permissions. The Program does not “reserve” courses for theatre majors/minors only. Many of our courses typically include students majoring in English, Art, Mass Communication, Communication Studies, and History.
For theatre majors and minors:
In order for a theatre student to complete the necessary degree requirements within a reasonable period of time, careful planning with an adviser remains essential. Students should enroll in the introductory sequence (TH 198, 230 and 236) as early as possible since these courses are prerequisites to most other theatre courses. While the program offers many courses every year, some of the required courses may only be offered in alternate years.
Selection of Theatre Majors
The rigors of the theatre major and the other courses required for a bachelor's degree demand a high level of commitment. Therefore, the program requires all students who wish to major in theatre to apply for admission to the program. Generally, a student applies to become a theatre major at the end of the second semester at SCSU. By this time a student has taken some introductory theatre courses, has participated in the theatre production work, has completed twenty-four semester credits, and has been observed by the theatre staff. Students transferring from community colleges or other four-year institutions may apply at the end of their first semester, so long as they have enrolled in at least one theatre course and participated in some capacity in at least one theatre production at SCSU.
A student is eligible to become a major when he/she meets the following criteria:
- Currently enrolled at St. Cloud State University (this is a university policy);
- Overall GPA of 2.0 or higher, including transfer credits (this is a university policy);
- Has completed 15 semester hours or the equivalent (this is a university policy);
- Has submitted an application, including selection of an academic adviser from among the department's faculty;
Students may obtain application forms in the Theatre & Film Studies Department Office. Students should return the completed forms to the departmental secretary. The staff reviews each applicant's credentials and decides to (1) accept, (2) put on one semester's probation (usually because the faculty has not had the opportunity to see the applicant in a full spectrum of curricular and production activities), or (3) reject the applicant.
The staff applies the following criteria in its evaluation:
- Successful academic performance;
- Willing and active involvement in all aspects of theatre production;
- Willing and active participation in all aspects of the department's activities (such as crews, roles in shows, courses, Dramatic Action, Repertory Dance Theatre, student productions, conferences);
- Presence at the auditions and/or strikes for all major productions;
Once the Program accepts a student as a major, he/she should:
- Obtain a copy of the university's major application worksheet from the departmental secretary;
- Meet with the faculty adviser that the student selected on the major application form;
- In consultation with the faculty adviser, complete the university's major application form and obtain the signature of the adviser and department chairperson;
- Take the completed and signed form to the university's Office of Records and Registration.
Once that office processes the student's forms, all transcripts, report cards and official records will indicate that the student is a major in theatre. Students should meet with their adviser whenever questions arise or problems occur. Students may also seek advice from the chairperson or other staff members in specialized areas.
Once a student becomes a major, he/she must meet certain expectations:
- Earn a 2.0 GPA in all theatre courses (this is a university policy);
- Earn a 2.0 GPA in any declared academic minor (this is a university policy);
- Attend all strikes for all productions;
- Graduate with a 2.5 overall GPA.
Special Components of the Program
Participation of Majors and Minors in Productions
THEATRE MAJORS AND MINORS ARE EXPECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE MAJOR PRODUCTIONS PRESENTED BY THE DEPARTMENT THROUGHOUT THE ACADEMIC YEAR.
The program includes special components to ensure that students earn academic credit for their active involvement in productions.
Some of the courses required by the department include a co-requisite laboratory credit in areas such as scenic, costume and properties construction, sound and lighting preparation, and in the areas of acting, promotion, directing, and stage management. Through this laboratory experience, the student will apply classroom theory to actual experience. For example, a student must complete a 45-hour laboratory co-requisite in each course in the introductory sequence (TH 230 and 236).
The requirements of the theatre major ensure that students acquire practical skills along with their academic preparation. The sequence of practicum courses offers students academic credit for their involvement in departmental productions. Students may elect to enroll for credit in any of the following areas: acting, stage management, construction of scenery, properties or costumes, sound engineering, lighting, running crews, and publicity/box office. The program requires students to complete practicum credit in four of the above areas.
Advanced students may elect to enroll in Creative Projects courses in any of the following areas of specialization: acting; directing; design; technical theatre; promotion and management; theory/criticism/literature; creative drama/children's theatre; and theatre education. Students may complete a maximum of 9 Creative Projects credits in any one area, and they may apply a maximum of 18 Creative Projects credits toward graduation.
The department encourages students to pursue opportunities to work under the guidance of producing artists in the wider theatre community, because the experience becomes a natural complement to academic training. Students may arrange internships in cooperation with the Guthrie Theatre, Children's Theatre Company (MINNEAPOLIS), the Paramount Theatre (ST. CLOUD), Valley Fair, Disneyworld, Theatre Jeune Lune, Mixed Blood Theatre and a number of others in the region.
Pending approval by the Theatre faculty, students who are selected for these programs may earn a maximum of 12 credits, 3 of which may be applied to the electives required by the program.
Upper-Division Writing Requirements
University policy requires that each student "must complete one course designated as writing intensive within the major at the 300-400 level.” The department has designated TH 493 to meet the standards of the upper-division writing requirement, and this course is designated as writing intensive. Students enrolled in this course are expected to:
- demonstrate superior fundamental skills (grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, organization, source citation, etc.);
- develop proficiency in advanced writing skills (argumentation, evaluation, rhetoric, synthesis);
- develop proficiency in fundamental computer technology skills (basic web page design, building links, importing graphics, constructing diagrams/tables, etc.).