Theatre Arts

Program Description

Theatre Arts students at Gettysburg explore the theatrical event as a complex unit - one that is founded in literary and historical roots, and then translated into performance through the work of playwrights, actors, directors, and designers.

The theatre curriculum includes:

-acting
-directing
-playwriting
-design
-history and literature of theatre
-the relationship of theatre to other aspects of culture and society

Theatre arts programs at Gettysburg also offer a variety of creative and technical experiences, from 10-Minute Play Festivals to Lunchtime Theatre, to participation in Main Stage Performances. What's more, the study of theatre arts offers excellent preparation for a variety of careers - both within and outside the discipline.

Program Requirements

Requirements for a major in Theatre Arts

Requirements consist of ten courses, with the specified number of courses from each of the core categories:
major course checksheet

  • THA 105: Introduction to Theatre
  • Theatre History: 203
  • Survey of Dramatic Literature: 214
  • Upper Level Literature: 329 or 331 (Prerequisite: THA 214)
  • A course in Shakespeare: ENG 211, 318, 319, or FYS 128-2 (choose one)
  • Design: 115, 116, 215, or 255
  • Acting or Dance: 120, 163, or 220
  • Directing or Playwriting: 212, 262, 282, or 382
  • Capstone Experience 400
  • One elective from the courses above

Additional Course Options

Students may also choose from among theatre-related courses in other departments, such as:

  • Interdepartmental Studies (Theatre and Religion)
  • Classics (Greek Comedy or Greek Tragedy)
  • Language department courses in German, Japanese, Italian, French or Spanish Theatre

Students may also choose to focus on a particular area in a 200- or 300-level independent study one-on-one with a faculty member. This could include (but is not limited to) such tutorial topics as:

  • Period-style acting
  • Dramaturgy
  • Women in theatre
  • Stage lighting

Requirements for a minor in Theatre Arts

Requirements consist of six courses. The minor is designed to give students an overview of theatre, and includes key required theatre courses, studio courses, plus one elective.
minor course checksheet

  • THA 105: Introduction to Theatre (1 course)
  • Theatre History and Dramatic Literature (2 courses)
  • Studio (2 courses) One course from each of the following groups:
    -One from the following: Theatre Arts 120, 163, 212
    -One from the following: Theatre Arts 115, 116, 215
  • Minor Elective (1 course) One additional theatre arts course from the Majors course listed above OR a theatre-related course from another department. This may include IDS 267 or 268, or FYS theatre-related course (FYS 180-2, 185, 190, 112-2, 112-3, 119-2, 119-3)


*Note: The minor may include no more than two 100-level courses.

 

Course Listing

Course level:
100 | 200 | 300 | 400
THA-105 Introduction to Theatre Arts
Overview of theatre, including historical background, literary works, technical aspects, and performance techniques. The theatre of today is studied in relation to its predecessors and in terms of its modern forms in cinema and television. Students read texts and analyze methods used in bringing those works into production. Field trips offer opportunities to critique performances. Open to first- and second-year students only.


THA-115 Theatre Production
Course provides an extensive investigation of historical and contemporary trends and practices essential for theatre production. Students gain an understanding of theatre procedures and acquire a grasp of equipment necessary for the execution of scenery, properties, sound, and stage lighting. Course is a combination of lecture and laboratory work and requires backstage participation in college productions.


THA-116 Introduction to Costume Design
Overview of the history of theatrical costumes with a look at fashion as dictated by economic, religious, socio-political, and other factors. Study of costume design and construction with hands-on projects which foster technical skills (primarily sewing) and minimal drawing skills. Examination of the basic processes of costume research, design, and construction as they fit into the total production concept of a play. Introduction to general and specialty stage make-up. Practical experience in preparing costumes and serving backstage for main stage productions.


THA-120 Fundamentals of Acting
Study of the theory and technique of the art of acting: movement analysis, non-verbal play, complicity. Devised scenes, status play and improvisation, and scene presentations from contemporary plays accompany critical analysis of plays, character action, and live performances.


THA-163 Introduction to The Dance
Overview of the history and development of modern dance, with emphasis on the such pioneers as Duncan, Denis-Shawn, Humphrey, Weidman, Hawkins, and Cunningham. Course develops an appreciation of dance as an art form. Emphasis is placed on the discipline and control of the body to best serve the dancer.


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THA-203 History of the Theatre
Survey of the theatre from the Greek to the present. Emphasis is placed on the relevance of theatre design, production techniques, and acting styles to the plays of their periods. The course covers Greek, Roman, Medieval, Elizabethan, Oriental, and Italian Renaissance.


THA-207 Theatre Practicum:Performance
Rehearsal, performance, or technical aspects of theatrical productions for the Gettysburg Department of Theatre Arts season. Students work alongside professors of Acting, Directing, and Design and of the department and under professional direction. ¼ credit awarded (partial credit courses do not count toward the 32 units needed to complete the degree)


THA-208 Theatre Practicum:Technical
Rehearsal, performance, or technical aspects of theatrical productions for the Gettysburg Department of Theatre Arts season. Students work alongside professors of Acting, Directing, and Design and of the department and under professional direction. ¼ credit awarded (partial credit courses do not count toward the 32 units needed to complete the degree)


THA-212 Fundamentals of Directing
Study of the theory and technique of the art of the director. Course explores dramatic action, script and story analysis, why a play is selected, auditions and casting, and the purpose and techniques of blocking, movement, and acting, including Viewpoints. Particular attention is given to the preparation of the director's production promptbook and other written analysis. Students are required to direct scenes in class and a short play as part of the Laboratory Theatre Series. Prerequisite: THA 105 or THA 120, or permission of instructor.


THA-214 Survey of Dramatic Literature
Overview of dramatic literature from the Greeks to the present. Play structure is analyzed, and comparisons made between methods of executing plot, development of character, and theme. Includes plays from the Greek and Roman periods, medieval, Elizabethan, and seventeenth through twentieth centuries. Emphasis is placed on written analysis.


THA-215 Fundamentals of Stage Design
Basic theories and technique of design for the stage. The theory behind the design, and the interrelationship of scene design, lighting, costumes, and properties. How stage design interprets themes and moods of a play is studied, as well as identification of period and place. Course follows a lecture-discussion format and involves extensive studio work. Students analyze, create, and execute basic designs for the Laboratory Theatre Series, in association with students in Theatre Arts 212


THA-220 Advanced Acting
Further study in the theory and techniques of the art of the actor, the analysis and interpretation of acting roles, and the building of characterization. Analysis and performance of 20th Century Realism, Shakespeare, Chekhov, and comedic physical play, including mask work and clown. Prerequisite: Theatre Arts 120 or permission of the instructor.


THA-248 Traditional Japanese Theatre
Study of traditional Japanese theatre, focusing on Noh, Bunraku Puppet Theatre, and Kabuki from the fourteenth century to the present. The course examines major theories and a variety of representative plays of the three theatrical forms and investigates their artistic, religious, and socio-cultural significances. Emphasis is on adaptation of literary canons, treatment of convention, seminal playwrights, and performance styles. Instruction in performing Noh chanting and dancing unites theory and performance to deepen understandings of the non-western tradition. Readings in English


THA-255 Advanced Stage Design
Examination of historical and contemporary theories of scene, lighting, and costume design. Students consider design as the visual manifestation of a playwright's concepts. In addition to designing both a play for proscenium, arena, thrust, and profile stages and a period play for a period other than its own, students complete advanced designs in scene, lighting, and costumes, and create designs for the Laboratory Theatre Series in association with students in Theatre Arts 282. Prerequisite: Theatre Arts 215.


THA-262 Playwriting and Devising
Workshop in art of writing and collaborative devising of works for the stage. Students will learn to identify and analyze play structure, character development, and effective plot construction through writing and movement exercises, both individually and collaboratively. Through improvisation, rehearsed readings, and intensive post-reading feedback, students will produce their own scripts, experimenting with different genres. Students will attend performances, read and analyze playscripts, and analyze and perform each other’s works, culminating in a public staged reading of texts. Prerequisite: Theatre Arts 105 or 120.


THA-263 Dance Technique
Studio work in ballet technique, modern technique, composition and theatre movement. Ballet will emphasize principles of alignment and style. Modern technique will be rooted in principles of release, breath, and weight. Composition will explore and manipulate dance materials and ways of putting them together to make individual and group works. In Theatre movement, the work will involve the Alexander Technique, in relaxation, breathing, and alignment.


THA-282 Advanced Directing
Further studies in the theory and technique in the art of the director. Students engage in directional analyses of plays representing different periods, including Shakespeare. Particular attention on contemporary and experimental methods of presentation. In addition to directing scenes in class, students direct scenes and a one-act play for public presentation, the latter as part of the Laboratory Theatre Series. Prerequisites: Theatre Arts 212.


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THA-307 Theatre Arts Practicum:Acting
During a seven-week program, students rehearse and perform in two mainstage productions for children and families as part of the Gettysburg Theatre Festival (founded 1963). Students work alongside professional actors, administrators, and designers of the Festival and under professional direction. Commedia dell'Arte and other improvisational techniques are employed in the creation of each presentation. A study of the works represented on the mainstage, as well as discussion sessions and workshops with professional actors and directors are included in class work.


THA-311 Theatre Arts Practicum:Technic
During a seven-week period, students participate in the varied technical aspects of mounting two mainstage productions for children and families as part of the Gettysburg Theatre Festival (founded 1963). Hands-on experience is gained from the construction, painting and placement of sets, hanging and running of stage lights, and the construction and gathering of properties and costumes. A study of the technical and design aspects along with the cultural and aesthetic heritage of the works produced is integral to the course.


THA-320 Contemporary Theatre Performance
The course aims to expand the range of theatrical means by merging the skill sets of the actor with the playwright, designer, and director. Emphasis on the student’s personal artistic vision and choice of expression. Research and creation assignments in self-scripting and ensemble creation; utilizing non-traditional forms and spaces; and the collision of performance with emerging technologies.


THA-329 20th Century Drama since WW II
Study of major dramatists from after World War II to the present and of dramatic movements such as realism, naturalism, expressionism, as well as Theatre of the Absurd. Prerequisite: Theatre Arts 214.


THA-331 World Drama
Overview of dramatic literature and stage practices of contemporary African, Caribbean, Indian, and Asian theatre. The course includes an introduction to post-colonial literature and theory, including the ways that indigenous theatrical practices were affected by colonial traditions. Focus is on the historical context of each work as well as on themes of national identity, liberation and oppression. Prerequisite: Theatre Arts 214.


THA-355 Problems in Stage Design
Design Course for students who have demonstrated the skill and talent to undertake further studies in design. Culminates in an independent study project. Prerequisite: Theatre Arts 155 and 255.


THA-377 Th Arts Practicum: Adv Acting
For students who have demonstrated that their skills in performing before the public (both young and old) might be further developed. Students continue work begun in Theatre Arts 307; they are expected to produce mature and advanced work and undertake a broader range of roles and more complex ones. Prerequisite: Theatre Arts 307.


THA-381 Th Arts Practicum: Adv Technic
For students who have demonstrated that their skills in the technical aspects of theatre might be further developed. Students continue work begun in Theatre Arts 311 and are expected to undertake more advanced assignments in set construction, stage lighting, costumes, and properties. Prerequisite: Theatre Arts 311.


THA-382 Problems in Directing
Course for students who have demonstrated the skill and talent to undertake further studies in directing. Culminate in an independent study project. Prerequisite: Theatre Arts 212 and 282.


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THA-400 Capstone Experience
Examination of concepts, approaches, and professional practices in the Theatre Arts, culminating in an intensive experience for Theatre majors. Under faculty supervision, students develop and present a final production or research project, either individually or in collaboration with other seniors. Offered every spring.


THA-450 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


THA-451 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


THA-452 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


THA-453 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


THA-460 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


THA-461 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


THA-462 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


THA-463 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor graded S/U


THA-470 Individualized Study-Intern
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


THA-471 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


THA-472 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


THA-473 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


THA-474 Summer Internship
Summer Internship graded A-F, counting in the minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office.


THA-475 Summer Internship
Summer Internship graded S/U, counting in the minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office


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