Program and Courses
Theatre Program Objectives
- Using the process of theatre students will demonstrate the ability to work independently or collaboratively to analyze a problem, then create and implement a successful solution.
- Using the process of theatre students will demonstrate the ability to communicate successfully about ideas in a manner appropriate to the relevant audience.
- Students will build an appreciation and respect for all the theatre crafts.
- Students will demonstrate a fundamental grounding in theatre theory and practice.
Major and Minor Programs
The Bachelor of Arts degree is for students interested in careers in any area of theatre, including acting, directing, design, technical theatre, or management. 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 some concentrated study in performance, design, dramatic theory/literature/theatre history, technical theatre, or theatre management. 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 the theatre area.
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 (usually four years), careful planning with an adviser remains essential. Students should enroll in the introductory sequence (TFSD 235 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.
Courses offered every year:
- Acting for Everyone
- Acting I
- Script Analysis
- Introduction to Production
- Voice Production for the Actor
- Directing I
- Practicum Courses
Courses offered alternate years:
- Costume History
- Stage Make-up
- Design Courses
- Theatre History I and II
- Drama I and II
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 and work. 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 basic 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 to St. Cloud State University from community colleges or other four-year institutions may apply at the end of their first semester in attendance, so long as they have enrolled in at least one theatre course and participated in at least one theatre production in some capacity 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. At a staff meeting near the middle of each semester, the staff reviews each applicant's credentials. At that time the staff 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:
- Academic performance in all courses taken, not just theatre courses;
- 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 for all major productions;Presence at the strikes for all productions.
Once the Program accepts a student (not probationary status) as a major, he/she should:
- Obtain a copy of the university's major application worksheet (and instruction sheet) 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 235 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 Program 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 Minnesota State Legislature, 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.
Advanced students who wish to work in a professional environment for a semester may apply to the theatre department chairperson for admittance into one of these in-residence training programs. 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 department.
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.” (1998-2000 Undergraduate Bulletin, p. 51). The department has designated TH 481 and 482 to meet the standards of the upper-division writing requirement, and these courses are designated as writing intensive. Students enrolled in these courses 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.).