Theatre & Performance Studies

  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts
    • Minor
    • Emphasis

    Get Involved

    A college education is more than just taking courses. Meet new people, apply your skills and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Make your education an experience.

    • KWSB Radio: On air since 1968, KWSB is student driven, student staffed and open to anyone who wants to have their own radio show. 
       
    • Mountaineer Media: A student-run media production group specializing in short films, screenings and storytelling abilities.
       
    • Western Theatre Company: A co-curricular program and student-run producing board that oversee and provide quality live performance to the campus and Gunnison community.
       
    • Taylor Media Center: Houses film production studios, audio production studios and more.
       
    • Top o' the World Newspaper: Monthly paper composed by students offering opportunities in newswriting, photography, editing, designing and advertising sales.

    Scholarships

    Institutional Scholarships

    Common Scholarships

    Western offers approximately 70 common scholarships for which a wide variety of students are eligible (e.g., locals, veterans, transfers). Apply for any number of these common scholarships using Western’s Common Scholarship Application, which is due April 1. For more information, visit western.edu/scholarships.

    Early Action Credit

    If a student is accepted to Western by Nov. 1 and qualifies for a merit scholarship, the student will receive an additional $500 for the first year. Use our Net Price Calculator to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

    Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

    Western Colorado University alumni can nominate prospective students for a $500 scholarship ($250 per semester) for first year only. Application deadline is typically June 1. For more information, visit western.edu/mars.

    Neighboring States Program

    Students with a permanent address from one of the seven contiguous neighboring states to Colorado who have demonstrated financial need are automatically considered for a special $1,000 per year grant, totaling $4,000 over four years.

    The Western Neighboring States program can be added to WUE, CP or merit scholarships. So, if you are a permanent resident of one of those seven states—and show financial need—you are eligible.

    For more information about the Neighboring States program, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

    Presidential Promise

    The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

    For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential promise, visit western.edu/scholarships.

    Tuition Discount Programs

    Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

    For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

    Western Merit Scholarship

    Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship. 

    For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit western.edu/scholarships.

    Faculty & Staff

    Faculty

    Steven Cole Hughes headshot
    Director of Theatre and Lecturer in Communication Arts
    Phone: 970-943-3029
    Office Location: Taylor Hall 212 D
    Spencer Musser headshot
    Technical Director of Theatre and Lecturer in Communication Arts
    Phone: 970.943.2191
    Office Location: Taylor Hall 212 A

    Courses

    FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

     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 (4 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 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 play scripts and screenplays of varying lengths; they are also expected to read and respond to one another's writing. Some history of play writing and study of prevailing models of script writing are also included. Prerequisites: COM 205 or ENG 205, with a minimum grade of "C", or instructor permission.

     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 literary 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 or instructor permission.

     COM 330 - Technical Production II (3 credits)

    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.

     COM 423 - Directing (3 credits)

    A comprehensive introduction to the theory and practice of directing for the stage. Includes an exploration of play selection, character and script analysis, conceptualization of production, actor coaching approaches, staging techniques; as well as the actual direction and presentation of scenes and plays. Prerequisites COM 231, COM 235, COM 310 and junior standing; or instructor permission.

  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts
    • Minor
    • Emphasis

    By using original performance for social change, Theatre & Performance Studies students learn how to advocate for issues affecting people and communities. The program provides students with a multi-disciplinary and hands-on approach to the role of theatre and live performance. Students work as actors, producers, artistic staff and technical crews in all aspects of the art form through the Western Theatre Company’s four annual productions.

    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 theatre 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.