Professors: Gary M. Grant, F. Elaine Williams

Associate Professors: Paula D. Davis (Chair), Er-Dong Hu, Kelly Knox (Director of Dance)

Assistant Professors: Anjalee Deshpande Hutchinson (Director of Theatre), Dustyn Martincich

Lecturer: Heath J. Hansum

Theatre Program (THEA)

Students discover their own creativity and awaken their imagination gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and their world through the study and practice of theatre. They develop an awareness of multiple perspectives by interpreting a variety of theatrical forms and by exploring the unique visions of theatre artists. Students gain expertise in creative problem solving, visual and kinetic literacy, oral communication, and collaboration.

The major in theatre offers opportunities in all phases of theatre arts and consists of a minimum of eight and one-half course credits.

Required of all majors:

  • History and Theory: THEA 256 Rituals, Festivals, Institutions and THEA 260 Theatre and Revolution
  • Performance (choose one): THEA 110 Acting I, THEA 220 Acting II, THEA 230 Acting Styles, THEA 240 Directing, or THEA 249 Mask and Makeup Design
  • Design (choose one): THEA 245 Entertainment Technology, THEA 246 Scene Design, THEA 248 Theatrical Lighting Design, THEA 249 Mask and Makeup Design, THEA 250 Costume and Fashion, THEA 251 Costume Design, THEA 252 Sound Design, THEA 254 Computer Aided Design for the Stage, THEA 255 The Art of Costume Craft
  • Dramatic Literature and Criticism (choose one): THEA 258 Modernism in Performance, THEA 261 Inner Journey: Sam Shepard and American Theatre, CLAS 222 Greek Tragedy, CLAS 223 Ancient Laughter, ENGL 217 Studies in Dramatic Literature, ENGL 257 Shakespeare, RUSS 211 Chekhov: Drama in Prose
  • 300-level Seminars and Projects (choose two, one of which must be taken in the senior year): THEA 314 Seminar in Contemporary Scenography, THEA 319 Individual Projects, THEA 342 Devising Performance, THEA 347 Visual Style, THEA 390 Applied and Interactive Theatre, THEA 393 Seminar in Avant-Garde Performance, THEA 397 Seminar in Special Topics
  • One additional THEA or DANC course in performance, design, or dramatic literature and criticism
  • Two quarter credits of THEA 101 Technical Theatre Practicum or one quarter credit of THEA 101 and one quarter credit of THEA 102 Theatrical Rehearsal and Performance

Students pursuing a concentration in acting, directing, design, or dramaturgy/playwriting will be advised to select additional courses in related areas (dance, art, music, philosophy, etc.) as electives in addition to the advanced performance, design, or theory courses. A suggested guideline for each concentration is available from your adviser. Faculty advisers will carefully develop a course of study with students to meet their individual needs and educational goals. Students majoring in theatre are expected to participate in the work of the department of theatre and dance production program. Students may register for one quarter credit in THEA 101, THEA 102, or THEA 103 for active participation in designated areas of technology or performance. A maximum of one-half credit is permitted per semester and there is a limit of two full course credits in all. Faculty will supervise student participation, provide instruction, and approve the awarding of credit.


The goals of the theatre major include demonstration of knowledge of Western dramatic literature and artistic media and performance styles from both Western and non-Western traditions. Students majoring in theatre will learn to formulate critical/analytical responses to theatre through written and oral communication.


In the practice of theatre, successful collaboration and communication is key to successful work. Students majoring in theatre will gain extensive experience in formal presentation through presentation of topics in history and dramatic literature, acting projects, scene studies, design project presentations, and presentation of applied projects in performance, directing, and design.


Information and visual literacy play a significant role in the study, understanding, and practice of theatre. Students in theatre will learn to conduct research using a variety of sources including primary and secondary materials; field specific and multidisciplinary databases; and a variety of media including print, film/video, and digital. Students will learn to effectively evaluate and analyze these sources through in-class discussion and synthesis. Students will study and become familiar with legal and ethical considerations in the use of sources. Theatre students will become proficient in the use of technology in the presentation of applied theatre projects.


Theatre students will take two 300-level courses, one of which will be in the senior year, which will serve as the Culminating Experience for the major. The Culminating Experience will provide for students studying theatre the opportunity to further refine their ability to formulate creative interpretations from conceptual discussions to the completed stage presentation, deepen their understanding of the performance process, and practice the collaborative process.

The minor in theatre is for liberal arts students who wish to broaden their experience with the theatre arts.

Three minors are offered by the department:

  • The Acting and Directing minor requires a minimum of five and one-half credits including THEA 256 or THEA 260, three electives in performance (one of which may be THEA 240 or THEA 249), one 300-level theatre course, one section of THEA 101 (quarter credit), and one section of either THEA 101 or THEA 102 (quarter credit).
  • The Design and Technology minor requires a minimum of five and one-half credits including THEA 256 or THEA 260, three electives in design and technology (one of which may be THEA 250), one 300-level theatre course, and two sections of THEA 101 (quarter credit).
  • The general Theatre minor requires a minimum of five and one-half credits, including THEA 256 or THEA 260, one performance course, one design or technology course, one 200-level elective, one 300-level theatre course, one section of THEA 101 (quarter credit), and one section of either THEA 101 or THEA 102 (quarter credit).

Honors in Theatre

A program leading to a major with honors in theatre may be proposed by the student in consultation with the department chair and appropriate department faculty. The student generally undertakes a specifically designed sequence of courses, independent research, and creative projects culminating in the stage direction or design of a mainstage production, a performance project, or a research paper in the area of theatre history, criticism, or dramatic literature.



Technical Theatre Practicum (I and II; R; 0, 2.5) Quarter course.

Quarter-course credit for supervised participation in any one of several aspects of theatrical production of the department of theatre and dance's major productions. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.


Theatrical Rehearsal and Performance (I and II; R; 0, 4) Quarter course.

Quarter-course credit for substantial participation in a major theatrical production; for example, as actor, stage manager, vocal coach, choreographer. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.


Audition Technique (I; R; 0, 3) Quarter course.

Working on monologues as a form for the auditioning actor. This study culminates in actual presentations for graduate school and/or conservatory auditions. Prerequisites: seniors only and permission of instructor.


Acting I (I and II; 4, 0)

Introduction to acting: a critical approach to drama and personal expression, including physical, vocal, and interpretive aspects of performance. Prerequisite: seniors by permission only.


Live! On Stage (I and II; 3, 0)

Introductory study of theatre (playwriting, directing, acting, movement, design, criticism); stresses the elements of drama, their interaction, and their realization in theatrical production.


Musical Theatre (AI or AII; 1, 2)

An experiential study of musical theatre as an art form with unique conventions and aesthetics, focusing on the performance and production elements of the Broadway stage. Some experience suggested. Crosslisted as DANC 207. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.


Acting II (AII; 0, 3)

Application of technique and improvisation to the performance of scenes, with emphasis on characterization and textual analysis. Prerequisites: THEA 110 and permission of the instructor.


Acting Styles (AI; 4, 0)

Exploring styles of acting in plays from different periods, including Greek and Shakespearean tragedy and Comedy of Manners. Prerequisite: THEA 110 or THEA 220 or permission of the instructor.


Directing the Play (II; 3, 0)

The critical and creative responsibilities of the director; the principles of directing and their application. Prerequisite: THEA 110 or THEA 220 or permission of the instructor.


Entertainment Technology (AI; 1, 2)

From sawdust to soundboards, this course focuses on today's technical stage environment, including scenery construction, lighting, sound systems, and rigging for theatre, dance, and music concerts. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.


Scene Design (I; 3, 0)

Creating an environment for the action. Through selected projects, students explore how to convey mood and character, indicate time and place, and how to reinforce theme through the visual environment. Emphasis in this introductory class is on learning effective play analysis, period research, and how to express important themes and characterization visually. Students develop drawing, drafting and model building skills.


Theatrical Lighting Design (AII; 1, 2)

An introduction to and practice in theatrical stage lighting. Primary emphasis in aesthetics and function of light in design. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.


Mask and Makeup Design (AI; 3, 0)

The study of stage makeup (including corrective and character) progresses to the design of makeup as mask and then to the design of three-dimensional masks for performance. Our study emphasizes the ways that the performance, ritual, and festival traditions of the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Oceania have influenced present performance styles in theatre and dance.


Costume and Fashion (AI or AII; 3, 0)

An overview of the history of costume from the Egyptian period to the present; stresses fashion as the mirror of the attitudes of each age.


Costume Design (AI or AII; 1, 2)

Introduction to design of clothing for the stage; emphasis on character analysis and design for plays in different styles and periods.


Sound Design (I; 3, 2)

This course is directed at students with limited experience in sound design. The course will explore both theoretical and practical aspects of audio mixing and reinforcement.


Computer-Aided Design for the Stage (AI; R; 3, 1)

An introduction to CAD for use in theatre and other entertainment venues. Includes basic CAD training in technical drafting, scenic modeling, and lighting design.


The Art of Costume Craft (AI; 2, 3)

Use creativity and imagination in the studio to explore the sculptural and expressive nature of costume design as art.


Rituals, Festivals, Institutions (AI; 3, 0)

Investigates various theories concerning the origins of Western theatre in ritual performance and explores the development of theatrical institutions from the Greeks to Shakespeare in the context of social, philosophical, and religious values.


Modernism in Performance (AII; 3, 0)

Addresses the diversity of dramatic styles and thematic interests of modernist playwrights: Buchner, Ibsen, Brecht, Beckett, and Handke; emphasizes historical context and analysis of production values.


Theatre and Revolution (AI; 3, 0)

Focuses on the relationship between ideology and media, specifically how theatre promotes, resists or escapes from the conflict between the status quo and revolutionary change.


Inner Journey: Sam Shepard and American Theatre (AI; 3, 1)

Sam Shepard has his finger on the pulse of post-modern America. This study of his plays and films charts the transformation of his dramatic style, from absurdism through jazz and rock 'n' roll to realism, and explores the profound changes in Shepard's vision of the theatre and American culture.


Theatre in London (I and II; 2, 3) Half to full course.

Theatrical productions on the contemporary London stage studied through attendance at performances, script analysis, and discussions with actors, directors, designers, and production personnel. Prerequisites: enrollment in Bucknell in London program and permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ENGL 289.


Special Studies in Theatre (I or II; R; 3, 0)

In appropriate years, special topics such as stage combat, mime, or theatrical criticism will be studied.


Seminar in Contemporary Scenography (AII; 3, 0)

Study of the visual art, theatre and dance movements that exert a pervasive influence on contemporary stage design. Emphasis is placed on relating contemporary performance styles to their antecedents such as the Ballets Russes, the New Stagecraft Movement, the Theatre of the Bauhaus, and experiments in actor/audience relationships.


Individual Projects (I and II; R)

Individual, special projects supervised by instructor; honors thesis.


Devising Performance (AI; 3, 3)

An exploration into the process of creating collaborative theatre. This class examines new ways of authoring performance with multiple artists (designers, writers, performers, etc.) working together to manifest a shared vision. Prerequisites: THEA 240 and/or DANC 262.


Visual Style (AII; 3, 0)

Scene, costume, and lighting designers collaborate on plays and projects. Emphasis on exploring actor/audience relationships, and looking to influential visual arts movements for inspiration. Prerequisite: THEA 246, THEA 248 or THEA 251.


Applied and Interactive Theatre (AII; 1, 2)

Explores theatrical performance as a vehicle for social transformation. Uses techniques from Theatre of the Oppressed, Playback Theatre and improvisation to develop community-oriented service learning projects. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.


Seminar in Avant-Garde Performance (AI or AII; R; 3, 0)

This study of experimental aesthetics traces the development of a new paradigm for 20th-century and 21st-century ''multi-media'' art forms and the aesthetics of ''total theatre.'' The course explores thematic topics such as The Theatre of Social Change, The Self as Content, Theatre and Therapy, The Poor Theatre, Environmental and Formalist Experiments, Happenings and Performance Art.


Seminar in Special Topics (AII; R; 3, 3)

Particular theatre topics selected by the instructor. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Courses offered occasionally

215 Introduction to Movement, 253 World Dress

Dance Minor - please see Optional Minors > Dance for information and course descriptions.


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