Theatre & Performance Studies

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.

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.

 

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. 

Share your interest with friends and family: 
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  4. Start the online application process - apply online now.
  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.

Courses

 COM 121 - INTRODUCTION TO THEATRE (3 credits)

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 216 - DRAMATIC LITERATURE AND SCRIPT ANALYSIS (3 credits)

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.

 COM 231 - TECHNICAL PRODUCTION I (3 credits)

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.

 COM 235 - FUNDAMENTALS OF ACTING (3 credits)

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 310 - INTRODUCTION TO PERFORMANCE STUDIES (3 credits)

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 lit-erary texts are essential elements of the course.

 COM 317 - STUDIES IN THEATRE AND PERFORMANCE (3 credits)

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

 COM 330 - TECHNICAL PRODUCTION II (3 credits)

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

 COM 331 - SCENOGRAPHY IN FILM AND THEATRE (3 credits)

A study of designing visually for the stage and screen, with an emphasis on a unified look and a single intense effect. A strong emphasis on script analysis as a basis for design. Additional information on visual research for theatre and film including location scouting and contextual research into the background of the story. Hands-on development of skills in generating graphic communication of design ideas is included. Prerequisite: COM 231 or instructor permission.

 COM 423 - PRESENTATIONAL ASTHETICS (3 credits)

An examination of the theatrical performance convention from the perspective of the adaptor, director, and performer. This course offers invigorating challenges for the director, dramaturge, 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.

 CRWR 663 - SCREENWRITING COMPETITION, REPRESENTATION, THE "OPTION" (2 credits)

Mock or actual 'pitch' sessions of the thesis screenplay. Screenwriting contests researched and entered. Writers Guild guidelines and application explored. Agents, options to produce, and independent film potential also explored. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Professor of Communication Arts
A.B., University of California-Santa Cruz; M.F.A., University of Montana.
Phone: (970) 943-2132
Office Location: Taylor Hall 220C
Chair: Department of Communication Arts, Languages, and Literature; 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
Professor of Communication Arts
B.A., University of California-Berkeley; M.A., Northwestern University; Ph.D., University of Washington.
Phone: (970) 943-2235
Office Location: Taylor Hall 208D