Theatre & Performance Studies


FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a list of courses offered by Western State Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the current university catalog at To determined the courses required for your major, check the "Majors and Minors" tab for your area of study.


This course will include a general survey of Western theatre from Classical Greece to contemporary America. Students will learn the diverse practice of the art of theatre by studying theatre history, dramatic literature, and the practical components of acting, directing, design and production.

 COM 205 - COMMUNICATION ARTS I (3 credits)

This course is a study of the theory and associated terminology of visual communication including the application of concepts to film, theatre, and convergent media. Topics include aesthetics, design elements, mimesis, performance, semiotics and introduction to the primary techniques of the various communication arts. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of "C-."


This course introduces students to the diverse genre of dramatic literature in Western and Eastern theatre. Students study the origins of tragedy, comedy, melodrama, the rise of Realism and Anti-Realism, as well as the sub-genres within those general categories. Eastern traditions of text such as Kabuki, Noh, and Bunraku are also studied. Students learn how to read a play on a deeper level for content, themes, historical and sociopolitical influences, as well as the emerging and changing aesthetics of each genre. Prerequisite: ENG 102.


A study of how things are done behind the scenes in theatre and film and why they are done that way, including the basic customs and traditions of production work and the philosophy, aesthetics, and process of production. Intensive hands-on development of skills in the construction of sets, costumes, lights, sound, and props; the operation of rolling units, lights, flies, and sound; and production assistant duties.


An introduction to the principles, processes, and techniques of acting. The study is designed to balance theory and performance; to explore in detail the psychological, perceptual, and conceptual linkages to the strategies, techniques, and skills of the actor; and to develop a significant sense of self-discipline on the part of the actor. Topics include warm-up and awareness skills, basic body and voice integration techniques, the theories of Stanislavski, character analysis, and performance process

 COM 284 - SOPHOMORE PORTFOLIO (1 credits)

A course in which students familiarize themselves with the requirements for the Communication Arts program and related capstone project, formulate specific goals, and prepare strategies through which those goals can be achieved. Students will develop an awareness of field-specific expectations required of them in professional or graduate-level work, and develop a plan for creating a portfolio that reflects that awareness. A part of the course consists of formally of applying for admission to the Communication Arts program. Prerequisite or corequisite: COM 205 or instructor permission.

 COM 305 - COMMUNICATION ARTS II (3 credits)

An exploration of the philosophical and theoretical foundations of human communication, concentrating specifically on textual analysis and interpretation. Using a wide range of media, students will investigate how the particular method of communication informs, alters, and shapes the messages being consumed, and how those messages both constitute and affect self-expressive acts. PREREQUISITES: COM 205 and admission to the Communication Arts Program; or instructor permission.

 COM 306 - SCRIPTWRITING (3 credits)

An introduction to the fundamental tools and skills required to craft a script for performance on stage or in film/video. Students are expected to produce playscripts and screenplays of varying lengths; they are also expected to read and respond to one another's writing. Some history of playwriting and study of prevailing models of script- writing are also included. Prerequisites: COM 205 and COM 222, or ENG 205, with a minimum grade of "C."


An interdisciplinary course exploring the human desire to perform in both aesthetic and everyday settings. It explores the links between the arts and literature, anthropology, communication, sociology, and philosophy. Critical reading, written analysis, and performance of literary texts are essential elements of the course.


An introduction to performance studies research and artistic practice through readings, discussion and creative work. Prerequisites: junior standing and instructor permission. Repeatable for a maximum of six credits among different topic areas.

 COM 323 - MEDIA ARTS MANAGEMENT (3 credits)

An introduction to the basic principles and structure of management as it applies to Communication Arts. Particular focus is given to management of small and mid-size nonprofit media and arts organizations, and to the interrelationship between those two areas. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of the instructor.

 COM 324 - ADVANCED ACTING (3 credits)

An advanced-level course that focuses on specific areas of actor training, including methods of voice and movement training; the requirements and techniques of different styles of acting including classical, Elizabethan, Restoration/18th Century, Commedia, and Advanced Contemporary acting styles; and advanced textual analysis required of actors by specific theatrical works. Repeatable for a maximum of six credits among different topic areas. Prerequisite: COM 235


An in-depth look at the role of performance, predominantly theatre, for social change and community activism. Students learn about the historical movements combining performance and social change, study the theories behind the practice influenced by Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal, and have hands-on opportunities to train their own performance and writing skills in this manner. Prerequisite: instructor permission.


An intermediate-level study of lighting and sound production for theatre and film. Instruction is provided in the proper rigging of light and sound equipment, use of control consoles and software, optics, basic electrical theory, the nature of light, and acoustics. The design and aesthetic use of light and sound are also explored. Prerequisite: COM 231 or instructor permission. 


A multi-disciplinary and multi-media course offering significant historical, theoretical, and practical content by which to explore and discuss how meaning is conveyed in communication. Special emphasis is given to the nature of oral communication in oral societies and to the nature and function of myth, symbol, sign, and inferential reasoning. Prerequisites: COM 305 or instructor permission.


An examination of the theatrical performance convention from the perspective of the adaptor, director, and performer. This course offers invigorating challenges for the director, dramaturg, actor, and designer who will work collaboratively to explore presentational mode, theatrical convention, and conscious artifice in the performance of dramatic literature, poetry, nonfiction, and prose fiction. Prerequisites: COM 231, COM 235, COM 310 and minimum junior standing; or instructor permission.


A capstone course in which students complete their individual Communication Arts portfolios, based upon their cumulative work through the COM program and guided by their specific career or graduate school goals. The seminar provides an opportunity for students to work individually, in small groups, and with the instructor to evaluate the overall effectiveness of their finished portfolios, and revise accordingly, utilizing the critical techniques, cultural awareness, and technical skills students have developed throughout the COM program. Prerequisite: COM 305

Center stage!

You’ll get right to work in all aspects of Theatre and Performance Studies – as an actor, designer, stage manager, part of an improvisational troupe or an assistant in the costume and scene shops. You might land a work-study position learning valuable skills that make theater happen.  Western's student run theatre company, Peak Productions, produces at least four shows per year.

What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?

Whether you are a Theatre major or minor, or simply involved in the annual production season, you will learn the basics of becoming an actor, director, designer, stage manager or playwright. Anyone can become involved, on many different levels, and help stage full-scale productions.

Using original performance for social change – a unique element of our program –you’ll learn to advocate on issues affecting the campus and larger community. 

You’ll not only learn artistic skills, but also develop responsibility, dedication, adaptability, creativity, initiative and compassion for your fellow students, your faculty and yourself.

Please view the WSCU/Peak Production's Production and Safety Guide 

Beyond the Classroom

As a student in Theatre & Performance Studies, you'll be exposed to myriad opportunities.

The program sponsors four productions annually. Students make up a large part of the technical crews, the producing board and the artistic staff. Visiting guest artists provide workshops, direct and design shows, and teach. In addition, students can attend regional and national theater conferences and participate in summer internships as actors and stage and production managers.

After Graduation

Graduates of the program often continue to graduate school in their particular area of interest (costume, lighting, sound design, acting, directing). Our graduates also are teaching artists and teachers, as well as professional actors, producers, directors and designers in Denver, New York and Los Angeles.

Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's Theatre and Performance Studies Program, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

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  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.

Faculty & Staff


Professor of Communication Arts
B.A., St. Michael's College; M.A., State University of New York-Albany; Ph.D., University of Colorado.
Phone: (970) 943-3042
Office Location: Taylor Hall 218