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Theater | Courses | Faculty

112 Fine Arts Center

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Contact: Penny Remsen
Office: 112 Fine Arts Center
Phone: (413) 545-3490

Department Chair:Professor Penny Remsen. Professor Romero; Associate Professors Erdman, Gaeke, McCauley, Nelson; Assistant Professors Cottom, Dragicevich, Gardley, Kaufmann; Lecturers Kaplowitz, Page, Precciozzi.

The Field

The course of study in the Department of Theater is grounded in the belief that the performing arts draw on a unique combination of intellectual and artistic skills and talents which are most fully developed when theory and practice are integrated in the learning experience. Students in the program gain expertise in all the fundamental areas of theatrical art in graduated sequences of study designed to bring into focus rigorous critical thinking, precise methods of research, and imaginative expression.

Although Theater majors often focus on a specific area of the field, such as acting, design, directing or dramaturgy, the major is designed to give students experience in all the major areas of theater. As a result, students leave the department extensively trained, with a well-rounded base of knowledge that makes them competitive candidates for employment as well as graduate study.

In addition to coursework, students participate in productions, serving as actors, designers, directors, and dramaturgs, both in the Theater Department’s season and in independent undergraduate productions and informal events.

Undergraduate Theater majors also participate in many special events designed to supplement the curriculum, ranging from hands-on master classes with guest professionals to career-development workshops.

The Major

The Department of Theater does not require prospective majors to audition for admission to the program. All University of Massachusetts Amherst students in good standing are welcome to declare the major. Once they declare a Theater major, students are assigned a faculty member who will serve as their adviser.

For the B.A. degree in Theater, students must fulfill all university General Education requirements as well as appropriate requirements of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. In addition, Theater majors must complete at least 36 credits in Theater. At least 12 credits must be completed in the area of Dramaturgy and a minimum of 24 combined credits must be completed in the two areas of Performance and Design, Technology and Management, with a least 9 credits required in Performance and 12 credits in Design, Technology and Management. Courses completed with a grade of C will not be accepted toward the major.

The 36 credits must be completed as follows:

Dramaturgy (12 cr)
1. 120 Play Analysis for Theatrical Production (required)
2. 9 credits of electives by choosing any three of these five courses, but not both THEATER 130 and 333:
130 Contemporary Playwrights of Color (ALU)
320 Classical Repertory
321 Renaissance and Neoclassical Repertory
322 Modern Repertory
333 Contemporary Repertory

Note: Successful completion of THEATER 120, plus any designated 300-level Junior Year Writing course in the major, fulfills the Junior Year Writing requirement.

Performance (9 or 12 cr)
1. 140 Beginning Techniques in Performance (required)
2. 6 or 9 credits of electives by choosing any two or three of the following:
240 Beginning Voice
340 Advanced Voice
341 Stage Movement
342 Acting
345 Directing
442 Acting II
443 Period Acting
445 Directing II

Design, Technology and Management (12 or 15 cr)
1. 110 Performance Management (1 cr; must be taken for three semesters), (required)
2. 160 Beginning Techniques in Design (required)
3. 6 or 9 credits of electives by choosing any two or three of the following:
360 Scene Design
361 Lighting Design
362 Costume Design

Other new courses, including classes in technical theater, sound design, ensemble acting, and other special topics may also count toward the major. Contact the Department for more information.

Enrollment in many Theater courses is by consent of instructor only. It is imperative, therefore, that all majors, prospective majors, and nonmajors consult with a department adviser to determine eligibility for, and appropriate placement within, the various courses.

Nonmajors with appropriate qualifications are welcome to participate in the activities of the department. Introduction to Theater, a General Education course, is primarily for nonmajors. Department majors are given preference in placement at all levels within the program.

Career Opportunities

The Theater major offers an outstanding foundation for a career in the theater. It is also a superb preparation for graduate work in the field. Additionally, a theater education is useful in many related professions such as film and television, public relations, law, broadcasting, management, advertising, arts administration, teaching, and social work.

Theater | Courses | Faculty