Matthew Wright, Associate Professor of Theater, Associate Program Director
Heather Anderson Boll, Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater
Jeremy Benjamin, Lecturer in Lighting Design and Technology
Roger Copeland, Professor of Theater and Dance
JoEllen Cuthbertson, Lecturer; Costumer
John Davis, Lecturer in Stage Combat
Justin Emeka, Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater
Chris Flaharty, Associate Professor of Theater; Costume Designer
Michael L. Grube, Associate Professor of Theater; Managing Director and Scenic Designer
Caroline B. Jackson Smith, Associate Professor of Theater and African American Studies
Daniel James, Lecturer, Technical Director
Paul Moser, Associate Professor of Theater
Joseph P. Natt, Lecturer; Technical Director
The Theater Program offers students the opportunity to study acting, directing, design and production, theater history and criticism, and playwriting within the broader context of a liberal arts education. In addition to coursework, theater students acquire practical experience in all aspects of the theater by participating in departmental productions. Because the performing arts are collaborative by nature, the program fosters a strong sense of community while respecting both cultural diversity and individuality. The major objectives of the program are:
- To provide critical understanding and enhanced appreciation for theater arts and their relationships to other areas of liberal arts learning.
- To provide concentrated preparation in theater for students wishing to pursue advanced studies or professional careers.
- To provide practical experiences in all aspects of production.
- To encourage interdisciplinary artistic collaboration and studies across other academic disciplines.
The introductory level courses are open to all students interested in broadening the scope of their education or who are majoring in a related field and wish to use theater as a resource. Students wishing to pursue more intensive involvement in theater are encouraged to enroll in intermediate and advanced-level courses in technique along with courses in production, history, and the aesthetics of theater. Students also have the opportunity to work closely with guests and artists-in-residence each year. Guest directors, playwrights, and other specialists may offer workshops lasting from a few days to one month.
In the second semester of the junior year qualified students may be admitted to the Honors Program in theater. The Honors project may be either: 1) an advanced-level creative project in acting, directing, design, or playwriting, or; 2) a research topic in theater history, criticism, or theory resulting in a substantial written thesis. Advanced-level creative projects in acting, directing, and design also include a significant written component. At the completion of the senior Honors Project, the student is examined orally by a panel consisting of the Honors student’s faculty advisor and at least two other faculty members. Applications and further information concerning Honors work in theater are available in the Theater and Dance Program office, Warner Center.
Students interested in studying playwriting will find these courses listed under Creative Writing and English.
Major and Non-Major Off Campus Study
Before credit is awarded for off-campus study, students must obtain tentative prior approval from a member of the Theater faculty and the Associate Dean of Studies. After the study is completed, the student must supply evidence of satisfactory participation. A maximum of 16 hours of off-campus study may be applied to the major in Theater.
GLCA Arts program in New York
This consists of a semester of work, ordinarily in the junior year, in the areas of technique, performance, production, and related studies. In the past, the GLCA Program has placed students with various theater companies, film and video studios, and stage designers. Students who successfully complete the GLCA Program earn credits upon payment of the transfer of credit fee. All arrangements for transferring credit must be made with a member of the Theater faculty and approval for an academic leave of absence must be granted by the Associate Dean of Studies before a student begins the GLCA Program.
National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center
This one-semester program at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut is designed to acquaint the serious student of theater with the demands and expectations of the theater profession. The program combines the liberal arts philosophy of studies in a wide range of disciplines with exposure to professional production standards. Students participate in classes in acting, directing, design, movement/improvisation, and playwriting, as well as adjunct courses and special workshops led by guest artists. The remainder of each semester is devoted to workshops focusing on one or more specific theatrical exercises. The National Theater Institute also runs the NTI/Moscow Art Theater Program (MXAT)—an intensive one-semester training program in Moscow at the Moscow Art Theater School. Oberlin students wishing to attend the National Theater Institute must first be nominated by the Theater faculty. Final admission decisions are made by the National Theater Institute staff.
Trinity/LaMama Performing Arts Program in New York
An intensive, one-semester Oberlin College Affiliated Program emphasizing interdisciplinary work in theater and dance that includes internships, seminars, studio classes and attendance at 45+ performances and events. Full semester’s credits through Trinity College, Hartford, CT. The program is offered in the fall semester only. Students interested in this interdisciplinary immersion in the arts in New York City should contact Carter McAdams, Professor of Dance, for additional information.
Spring Semester at NYU’s Tisch School of Arts
An affiliated program designed to offer Oberlin students a concentrated semester of study in film production, film studies or musical theater. The program is offered in the spring semester only. Interested students should contact the Office of the Dean of Studies for application forms and detailed information about the program.
Winter Term provides an opportunity for students to engage in projects sponsored by the faculty in acting, directing, design, and theater research. Normally, several on-campus Winter Term theater productions are in rehearsal during the month. Guest artists are often brought in to work with students in areas such as physical theater, stage combat, voice, and acting. In addition, students use this time to become active in various alumni and off campus theater-related internships.
The following faculty are willing to sponsor Winter Term projects as indicated. Mr. Copeland: history and criticism in theater; playwriting; performance. Mr Emeka: acting; directing. Mr. Flaharty: costume design; makeup; design research. Mr. Grube: scene design, painting, graphics. Ms. Jackson Smith: acting; directing; writing/dramatic literature other performance projects. Mr. Moser: acting; directing. Mr. Wright: acting; directing.
The Theater Curriculum
The Theater curriculum offers courses each year in acting, directing, history, criticism, design, and production. In addition to class meetings, many courses have a laboratory component that involves students in the process of creating a theater production.The program also sponsors theater residencies from time to time which have included workshops with specialists in stage combat, Le Coq, masks, Noh and acting for the camera.
The Production Program
Each year, the program produces three faculty directed mainstage productions in Hall Auditorium, and several student directed projects in the Little Theater. Smaller scale productions such as Oberlin Shorts (student written one-act play festival), First Year Showcase and the Directing Class One-Act Festival are intended to provide a bridge between the classroom experience and fully-mounted productions. In addition to productions that are sponsored by the Theater and Dance Program, students have the opportunity to participate in productions sponsored by other departments and by various campus student theater organizations.
The Theater Major is designed to allow students the flexibility to either design a general theater major, or pursue a particular emphasis within the Theater curriculum, such as acting, directing, history/criticism, playwriting, or production/design. The student planning to major in theater must first secure a faculty advisor, preferably at the end of the sophomore year. This should be an instructor in the student’s area of concentration with whom the student has already successfully completed intermediate level coursework. (For instance, students wishing to declare a Theater major with a concentration in Acting must first successfully complete THEA 200: Acting 2.) The student then works closely with their advisor to design an individualized plan of study. Once approved, the instructor agrees to serve as the student’s major academic advisor. Major forms are available from the Program office.
Listed below are the core requirements for a theater major:
Theater Major (30 total hours):
Theater Major (30 hours/10 courses), to include:
- Two semesters of Western Theater History (THEA 232, 253) – 6 hours
- Two semester courses in Performance, chosen from THEA 100 (Acting 1), 101 (Intro to Theater Arts), 200 (Acting 2), 202 (Acting for Camera), 208 (Directing 1), 210 (Movement), 218 (Stage Combat), 268 (Black Arts Workshop), 269 (Voice), 270 (Speech and Dialects) – 6 hours
- Two semester courses in Production and Design chosen from THEA 172 (Prod. Scenery), 173 (Prod. Costumes). 174 (Lighting), 212 (Stage Management), 232 (Costume Design), 236 (Set Design), 312 (Production Workshop) – 6 hours
- Two semester courses in Theater Studies chosen from THEA 254 (Asian Theater), 264 (African American Drama), 302 (Non-Literary Theater), 309 (Theater of the Millennium), 324 (Concept of Avant-Garde), 333 (Stage to Screen), or any cross-referenced Dramatic Literature course offered by another department (see list below) – 6 hours
- Two additional advanced-level (300 or 400 level) semester Theater Electives in student’s area of concentration – 6 hours [Students concentrating in Playwriting may count CRWR 330, 470, or 480 as these concentration electives]
- Two Theater Production Labs (THEA 199) – 0 hours
THEA 995: Private Readings may not substitute for any major requirements
Theater Minor (14-15 hours):
- History of the Western Theater (252, 253) - 6 hours
- One Production and Design elective - 2-3 hours
(See footnotes **)
- Six semester hours at the intermediate or advanced level in the student’s area of interest - 6 hours
(See footnotes **)
* The Theater faculty offer few dramatic literature classes. Most of these are offered by English, Classics, and various language departments. Because these courses vary annually, students should check to see if it counts towards the Theater Studies requirement. A student may count CRWR 330 Playwriting Workshop toward this requirement, but no Private Readings or Independent Study.
** Declaring a Theater major or minor does not guarantee consent of instructor for upper-level classes outside of a student’s emphasis.
The following courses from other departments count toward the Dramatic Literature requirement of the Theater major.
(Note: THEA 100:Acting 1 is a prerequisite for all 200-level Acting/Directing courses, THEA 200: Acting 2 is a prerequisite for all 300-level Acting/Directing courses)**
PRODUCTION & DESIGN COURSES