Admissions : Undergraduate Degree Programs

Theatre Arts and Musical Theatre

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The Department of Theatre Arts provides a strong theoretical and practical approach to the study of the art and craft of theatre. Students who major in Theatre Arts prepare for graduate studies and/or careers directly related to performance, design/technology, management and dramaturgy. Students also combine theatre studies with other majors and/or minors such as Music, Art and Media, to enhance work opportunities within the entertainment industry.

In addition to its academic functions, the department serves the campus and community by offering diverse theatrical performances including musicals, traditional plays and plays for children. Connections to the greater theatre community are promoted through sponsorship of professional training workshops and performances of guest artists.

Our proximity to New York City (one hour to mid-town Manhattan) gives us an opportunity to make excellent use of its vast resources. The theatre faculty maintains close ties with professional organizations, activities and research facilities within the area, and opportunities are regularly planned to introduce students to the professional environment.

The theatre department keeps consistent with the university’s mission to serve as an accessible and responsive intellectual resource for the people and institutions of Connecticut. The department provides a thorough, modern education in the theory, skills and technology of theatre production and performance that is tailored to the individual student’s background and career objectives.

The department believes in fostering a diverse student environment with an emphasis on professionalism and a commitment to excellence.

Objectives

To accomplish this mission the Department of Theatre Arts:

  • Offers its students the highest quality undergraduate programs in performance, theory, theatre technology and design by professors that have worked professionally in their field and maintain high academic credentials in their respective areas.
  • Emphasizes performance and production techniques, writing and theatre management throughout the undergraduate curriculum to develop students’ ability to understand and deliver appropriate performance and theoretical concepts and to apply and utilize these techniques in a professional setting.
  • Provides studio and theatrical experiences using public and classroom productions to entertain live audiences. Our season each year consists of two main stage productions, two large-scale family shows, studio productions, and a variety of workshops and readings which enhance the cultural environment of the university and its programs.
  • Organizes a residency of our students in New York for a week to perform off-Broadway, take workshops, visit network television and theatrical venues and meet theatre professionals.
  • Organizes opportunities for students to perform off-campus at such venues as the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (*note: Western will host this festival for 2017 & 2018).
  • Provides a personalized learning environment for students through faculty mentored undergraduate research/creative projects and internships.
  • Prepares students for graduate education in multiple areas of theatre arts and the entertainment industry.
  • Assists students in discerning appropriate careers through diligent advising.
  • Provides students with connections and references to professional organizations (such as USITT), internship programs and job placement opportunities.
  • Arranges for New York theatre professionals to travel to our campus to conduct workshops in all aspects of theatre training.
  • Provides and fosters the growth and development of faculty by encouraging research, attendance at professional meetings, publication and presentation of scholarly work and creative performance.
  • Collaborates with organizations and institutions in all areas of the entertainment industry within the tri-state area to support professional growth of faculty as well as internship opportunities for students.
  • Expresses its strong commitment to the community by collaborating with regional elementary, junior and senior high school educators to further our programs in children’s theatre.

Learning Outcomes for General Education

As per NAST standards and the stated goals for this degree, students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with concentrations in Design Technology, Performance, Theatre Arts Management or Theatre Studies and in the Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theatre degree program are expected to demonstrate the following competencies upon graduation:

General Education prior to Fall 2016

  1. The ability to think, speak, and write clearly and effectively, and to communicate with precision, cogency, and rhetorical force.
  2. An informed acquaintance with the mathematical and experimental methods of the physical and biological sciences, and with the main forms of analysis the historical and quantitative techniques needed for investigating the workings and developments of modern society.
  3. An ability to address culture and history from a variety of perspectives.
  4. Understanding of, and experience in thinking about, moral and ethical problems.
  5. The ability to respect, understand, and evaluate work in a variety of disciplines.
  6. The capacity to explain and defend views effectively and rationally.
  7. Understanding of and experience in one or more art forms other than theatre.

General Education for new students starting Fall 2016

General Education at Western Connecticut State University combines course-based competencies with opportunities to explore a wide range of disciplines outside of a student’s major. The university has identified 10 competencies that support academic success and prepare students for life-long learning. There are shared learning outcomes for each competency, which are embedded in courses across the curriculum.

Competencies may be satisfied in the major, minor or any other area of interest. There are no rules about how many competencies can be satisfied in the major. The only rules are:

  • All competencies must be satisfied (as listed here).
  • All students must complete at least 40 credits outside of their major discipline.

With this approach, the university has created the opportunity for students to develop essential skills and habits of mind in disciplines where they are most engaged with the material. It is important that students explore ideas from several areas of curriculum outside their major, but without an arbitrary limit on that exploration.