Theatre Arts and Musical Theatre
Our NAST-accredited Department of Theatre Arts provides a strong professional training approach to the study of the art and craft of theatre. Students who major in theatre arts prepare for careers directly related to performance, design/technology, management, and dramaturgy. Our Musical Theatre program now provides students with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, reflecting the quality and quantity of training they will receive here.
Diverse theatrical performances presented at WCSU include musicals and straight plays, ranging from classical to contemporary. Connections to the greater theatre community are promoted through sponsorship of professional training workshops and performances by guest artists. Our proximity to NYC (one hour to midtown Manhattan) gives us an opportunity to make excellent use of its vast resources, including hiring well-known casting directors & agents for our annual Senior Showcase, Broadway choreographers for our staged productions, and various guest artists for master classes. Many faculty members have worked extensively in the Broadway and TV community and have received Tony, Drama Desk and Emmy awards. The theatre faculty also maintains close ties with professional organizations, activities, and research facilities within the area. Opportunities are regularly planned to introduce students to the professional environment through the connections.
Our Theatre Arts Department participates in The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival annually and has received top national awards from the festival every year since 2015. Design/Technology students also have the opportunity to attend the national USITT conference annually, gaining access to the latest technology being created for stage productions each year in this ever-growing art form.
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 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.
To accomplish this mission the Department of Theatre Arts:
- Offers its students the highest quality undergraduate programs in musical theatre, performance, management, theatre technology and design
- 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 Senior Showcase in New York to perform for a wide variety of casting agents, managers, and other theatrical professionals
- Organizes opportunities for students to perform and learn off-campus at such venues as the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and the United States Institute for Theatre Technology
- 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 Fine Arts in Musical Theatre degree program are expected to demonstrate the following competencies upon graduation:
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.
To learn more about the Threatre Arts degree, please follow the links below:
- Catalog entry
- Theatre Arts department website
- School of Visual and Performing Arts
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre Program Sheet
- Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts (Design/Technology option) Program Sheet
- Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts (Drama Studies option) Program Sheet
- Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts (Management option) Program Sheet
- Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts (Performace option) Program Sheet
- Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts (Theatre Studies option) Program Sheet
- Minor in Theatre Program Sheet