Theatre

Theatre

Speak up. Own your stage. Find your spotlight.

Among artistic traditions, theater has a particularly rich and unbroken history; the same Shakespearean dramas that moved audiences in the 16th century still grip them today. Oglethorpe is a great place to take part in that tradition: inspired by our historic origins, we’re forging an exciting path into the future.

As a Theatre student at Oglethorpe, you’ll focus primarily on honing your skills in performance and directing. The curriculum also includes courses on stagecraft, theater history, Shakespeare, and dramatic literature… plus electives on topics like playwriting, feminist theater, and set design.

You’ll also be able to practice your craft in outstanding facilities: Oglethorpe’s state-of-the-art Conant Performing Arts Center includes seminar classrooms, two rehearsal rooms, a number of dressing rooms, storage for costumes and props, light and sound production facilities, a box office, and a scene shop. And of course, the Conant stage itself offers modified thrust configuration with vom and trap capacities and fly space, plus orchestra, mezzanine, and balcony seating for 511 patrons.

Offered as:

B.A. in Theatre
Minor in Theatre (TU)

For artistic types, the big city is definitely the place to be! Whether you want to intern, audition, or volunteer, or simply take in all the great plays you can, Atlanta’s thriving community theater scene offers opportunities galore.

  • Oglethorpe boasts partnerships with three outstanding local theaters: Alliance Theatre, Horizon Theatre Company, and Capitol City Opera Company. Through these exciting partnerships, students will find additional opportunities to serve as teaching assistances for grade school-age students, appear on stage in polished productions at the Conant Performing Arts center, and complete internships on the business side with the Opera.
  • Oglethorpe Theatre students have more excellent options for internships, including Actor’s Express Theatre Company, Alliance Theatre, Essential Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, and the Atlanta-based Turner Broadcasting System (TBS).
  • Led by faculty and staffed by a talented crew of student actors, designers, and technicians, Oglethorpe University Theatre mounts five full productions each year… offering tons of helpful hands-on experience for each and every student.
  • Join Alpha Psi Omega, Oglethorpe’s chapter of the National Theatre Honor Society. Open to high-achieving students in the dramatic arts, membership is a great way to enhance your undergraduate experience, and your resume.
  • Learn from the insider knowledge and local expertise of Atlanta professionals, through instructive on-campus workshops on everything from the actor’s craft to the theater business, and more.
  • If Shakespeare is your inspiration, Oglethorpe is a great place to learn. Along with the one-of-a-kind minor in Shakespeare and Renaissance Studies, there’s “Shakespeare at Oxford,” a summer study abroad experience that includes excursions to the Globe Theatre, Regents Park, and other premier venues throughout London and Oxford.
  • Interested in acting for TV and film? Atlanta is an ideal spot to dip your toe into the movie business, as Hollywood has increasingly been finding Georgia the perfect spot to film big budget productions from “The Vampire Diaries” to “The Walking Dead.” Casting calls for extras abound.

Oglethorpe’s Theatre department produces graduates who revel in their creativity, communicate effectively with an audience, collaborate productively with a team, and think quickly on their feet: all great skills in many careers (think education, events planning, journalism, marketing, psychology, law, and more). So whether you choose to pursue your passion for the stage or put your talents to work in another field, a theater degree is great training for whatever lies ahead.

  • Oglethorpe Theatre grads are working in professional theaters all over the region; others have landed local film and television jobs. Many are making big names for themselves, like Weston Manders ’12, voted as Best Actor in Atlanta by Creative Loafing in 2014; Kyle Brumley ’12, who was honored as one of 30 Under 30 Creative Atlantans by Arts ATL; Vince Pisani ’00, who’s appeared in a lengthy list of TV shows and films; and Jason Gabriel Dean ’03, a rising star in the playwriting world, who just received a prestigious fellowship from Princeton.

Programs offered:
B.A. in Theatre
Minor in Theatre (TU)

Students majoring in theatre engage in both the scholarship and practice of theatre and its various disciplines. Courses in acting, directing, stagecraft, design, history, playwriting and administration offer students a broad depth of study firmly rooted in the liberal arts tradition. A variety of department productions provide students ongoing opportunities to apply their knowledge in public venues. Oglethorpe’s unique relationship with professional theatre companies in residence provides students with performance opportunities and professionally oriented internships unparalleled in the region.

A theatre minor serves as an appropriate complement to a variety of majors in communications and the humanities.


B.A. in Theatre (see Sec. 7.5.1. for a complete list of B.A. graduation requirements)
1. Completion of the following course a minimum of four separate times:

  • THE 100 Production Lab

2. Completion of all of the following courses:

  • THE 105 Beginning Characterization
  • THE 205 Intermediate Characterization
  • THE 210 Theatre History I
  • THE 220 Theatre History II
  • THE 310 Stagecraft
  • THE 330 Directing for the Stage I
  • THE 407 Internship in Theatre

3. Completion of one of the following courses:

  • THE 315 Scenic Design
  • THE 316 Lighting Design
  • THE 317 Costume Design

4. Completion of four of the following courses (see “Note” in 5.a., below):

  • ENG 204 Shakespeare: Early Plays to 1603
  • ENG 206 Shakespeare: Late Plays, 1603-1613
  • THE 305 Shakespearean Performance
  • THE 340 Directing for the Stage II
  • THE 350 Playwriting
  • THE 400 Advanced Independent Study in Theatre
  • THE 405 Voice and Speech for the Actor
  • THE 410 Movement for the Actor
  • THE 490 Advanced Special Topics in Theatre

5. Additional requirements and things to note: Note: Students may also choose a second design course (THE 315, THE 316 or THE 317) as one of the four courses.

Minor in Theatre (TU)
1. Completion of all of the following courses:

  • THE 105 Beginning Characterization
  • THE 205 Intermediate Characterization
  • THE 310 Stagecraft

2. Completion of one of the following courses:

  • THE 210 Theatre History I: Greeks to Restoration
  • THE 220 Theatre History II: Renaissance to 20th Century

3. Completion of one of the following courses:

  • ENG 204 Shakespeare: Early Plays to 1603
  • ENG 206 Shakespeare: Late Plays, 1603-1613
  • THE 407 Internship in Theatre THE 490 Advanced Special Topics in Theatre

THE 100 Production Laboratory (1 hour)
Production Lab is a course for Theatre majors who participate in OU Theatre full productions throughout the semester. This 1-unit lab is designed to offer a diversity of experience and provide students with comprehensive and hands-on training in the creation of a fully realized theatrical production. Theatre majors are required to take Production Lab for four semesters, concentrating on at least two different areas of production (e.g., two semesters as an actor and two semesters as Asst. Electrician or some other role). The primary meeting times for this class will vary depending on the individual student’s schedule and role in each production. All required meetings, rehearsals, production crew hours and performances will be clearly specified for each student. A non-refundable fee will be billed to every student who is registered for this course at the end of the drop/add period.

THE 105 Beginning Characterization (4 hours)
This course explores the physical and mental foundations necessary for successful stage performance. Students will be expected to engage in hands-on exercises, physical and vocal warm-ups and performance work (both individual and partnered) throughout the semester. The basic principles of the Stanislavski method will be explored through improvisation, movement, vocalization and contemporary characterization.

THE 200 Independent Study in Theatre (1-4 hours)
This course will be conducted as supervised research on a selected topic. Prerequisites: Submission of an application which contains a proposed, detailed outline of study approved by the instructor, the division chair, the student’s advisor and the provost or associate provost. The completed application must be submitted to the registrar’s office no later than the final day of the drop/add period of the semester of study. For additional criteria, see Independent Study Policy (Sec. 5.15.).

THE 205 Intermediate Characterization (4 hours)
Intermediate Characterization explores the methods of 20th century American acting teacher Sanford Meisner. This course is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of his approach to acting, which builds upon the theories of Constantin Stanislavski. Meisner’s technique will be uncovered through immersive studio exercises, in-depth scene study assignments and review and discussion of Meisner textbooks and other related literature. Prerequisite: THE 105.

THE 210 Theatre History I: Greeks to Renaissance (4 hours)
An in-depth study of theatrical history, examining not only the theatrical literature of particular periods, but the staging practices, costuming, social customs and performance styles as well. Periods covered include: Greek, Roman, Medieval, Elizabethan and Restoration.

THE 220 Theatre History II: Restoration to 20th Century (4 hours)
An in-depth study of theatrical history, examining not only the theatrical literature of particular periods, but the staging practices, costuming, social customs and performance styles as well. Periods and styles covered include: Renaissance, Neo-classic, Sentimental Comedy, Domestic Tragedy, Melodrama and Realism.

THE 290 Special Topics in Theatre (4 hours)
Courses of selected topics will be offered periodically as determined by the needs of the curriculum. Prerequisite: See individual course listing in the current semester course schedule.

THE 305 Shakespearean Performance (4 hours) This course affords the advanced acting student an opportunity to explore methods for rehearsing and performing texts written by William Shakespeare. With a focus on the practical demands of Shakespeare’s language, the course addresses technical, stylistic, historical and interpretive considerations as they relate to performance. Prerequisite: THE 205 or permission of the instructor.

THE 310 Stagecraft (4 hours)
Stagecraft provides hands-on experience and assignments designed to physically and mentally engage the technician and designer. This class will focus on historical perspective as well as individual research and design. Students will be evaluated on the basis of a mid-term examination, written assignments, the completion of a minimum number of practicum hours and a final design project.

THE 315 Scenic Design (4 hours)
This course explores the artistic and theoretical aspects of scenic design for the theatre. Topics covered will include the history of scenography, the elements of design, play analysis from the designer’s perspective, historical research, conceptualization, rendering and modeling techniques. Discussions and design projects will draw from a variety of contemporary and classical plays.

THE 316 Lighting Design (4 hours)
This course covers the tools and techniques of designing lighting for various stage forms as well as the creative planning and implementation of designs for specific productions. This course explores the basic principles of design, the science of light, play analysis from the designer’s perspective and painting with light. Other topics include translating theatrical moments and music into lighting sketches, storyboards and atmospheres; creating transitions from one atmosphere to another; and developing points of view. Learning and demonstrating standardized safety protocols when working with lighting equipment and electrics will also be a central feature of the course.

THE 317 Costume Design (4 hours)
The class is designed to give students a basic understanding of the principles of theatrical costume design and the psychology of clothing. Students will develop designs that emerge through a process of character analysis based on the script and directorial concept. Period research, design and rendering skills are fostered through practical exercises. Instruction in basic costume rendering will provide tools for students to produce final projects.

THE 330 Directing for the Stage I (4 hours)
This course offers the intermediate to advanced theatre student an opportunity to explore the foundations of play directing. Through practical exercises and assignments, students will experience the process of theatre directing from preproduction to performance. A variety of approaches will be investigated for each phase of the director’s work: play analysis, interpretation, collaborating with designers, casting and rehearsing. Emphasis is placed on directing scenes within the style of contemporary realism. Prerequisite: THE 205.

THE 340 Directing for the Stage II (4 hours)
Building on the foundations of directing developed in Directing for the Stage I, this course explores the unique demands of directing plays with heightened language and theatrical style. The plays of Shakespeare, Chekhov, Ibsen, Beckett and Ionesco will be considered among others. The format of this course is a directing practicum focusing on the director’s process in the rehearsal room. Prerequisite: THE 330.

THE 350 Playwriting (4 hours)
Through reading plays, studying structure and form, and writing in and outside the classroom, this course will enable the student to write a short play or develop fully realized scenes for a longer piece. Students will discover the value of events, action, stakes and subtext in their own writing, combining classic structure with their creative impulses. In addition to exploring the creative process, students will be required to practice the arts of revising, rewriting and editing. The student should be prepared to read plays, write daily and bring work to every class.

THE 400 Advanced Independent Study in Theatre (1-4 hours)
Supervised research on a selected topic related to theatre. Prerequisite: Submission of a proposed outline of study that includes a schedule of meetings and assignments approved by the instructor, the division chair and the provost or associate provost. The completed application must be submitted to the registrar’s office no later than the final day of the drop/add period of the semester of study. For additional criteria, see Independent Study Policy (Sec. 5.15.).

THE 405 Voice and Speech for the Actor (4 hours) This course teaches students the tenants of healthy and expressive vocal production for speaking theatrical texts. Students will practice exercises for centering the breath and body, locating and releasing vocal tension, exploring pitch and resonance, and working towards a free and well-placed voice for the stage. Students will be introduced to the basics of vocal anatomy. Text work will include contemporary American drama and approaches to speaking Shakespearean text. Prerequisite: THE 105.

THE 407 Internship in Theatre (1-4 hours)
An internship is designed to provide a formalized experiential learning opportunity to qualified students. The internship generally requires the student to obtain a faculty supervisor in the relevant field of study, submit a learning agreement, work 30 hours for every hour of academic credit, keep a written journal of the work experience, have regularly scheduled meetings with the faculty supervisor and write a research paper dealing with some aspect of the internship. Written work should total five pages of academic writing for every hour of credit. Internships are available at most of the 147 theatres which are members of the Atlanta Coalition for Performing Arts. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisites: Permission of the faculty supervisor and qualification for the internship program, permission of an internship site supervisor and acceptance of learning agreement proposal by the Experiential Education Committee.

THE 410 Movement for the Actor (4 hours)
Drawing from traditional and current trends in movement training for the actor, this course will explore the fundamentals of the most prevailing movement techniques studied today. The techniques and systems investigated will vary each time the course is offered, but may include: Alexander, Commedia dell’arte, contact improvisation, Grotowski, Laban, Lecoq, stage combat and Viewpoints among others. Prerequisite: THE 105.

THE 490 Advanced Special Topics in Theatre (4 hours)
This course will be a study of a selected topic in theatre. Recent topics have focused on adapting non-dramatic texts for the stage, devised and collaborative theatre, and advanced playwriting.. Prerequisite: See individual course listing in the current semester course schedule.

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