Theater Major Requirements

2014 - 2015 Catalog

Theater major leading to BA degree

A major in theater leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree requires completion of at least 34 credits in theater as follows:

  1. THTR 131, 141, 209, 210, 211, 251, 309, 361, 471
  2. At least 12 credits chosen from among the following including at least six credits chosen from theater courses:
    THTR 100, 202, 203, 204, 215, 216, 220, 225, 226, 235, 238, 239, 241, 242, 253, 290, 336, 337, 338, 397, 423, 453, 493
    DANC 120, 215, 220, 225, 230, 235, 240, 292, 330, 340, 390
  1. Required courses:
    • THTR 131 - Fundamentals of Theater Art

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Collins, Evans
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 4


      An introduction to modern theater practice involving one hour of lecture and four hours of laboratory work per week. A practical course, emphasizing scene craft, stage lighting, and prop-making. The student applies the methods and theories discussed in class work on actual productions. Laboratory course. Lab fee required.

    • THTR 141 - Stage Acting I

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Martinez, Mish
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 3


      An introduction to the art of acting. A studio course with special attention given to the actor's analysis of dramatic literature. Memorization and the presentation of scenes from plays are required.

    • THTR 209 - University Theater II: Stage Management

      Faculty: Evans
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter, Spring
      Credits: 1


      Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

      Stage management is an essential position for all theatrical productions. Students develop management techniques through the study of the production problems of a major dramatic work or theatrical project being produced by the department. Students are required to participate in the production in a stage management capacity.

    • THTR 210 - History of Theater and Drama I

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Jew
      Planned Offering: Fall
      Credits: 3


      A critical study of the performance conventions, dramatic literature and social contexts of world theater traditions, focusing on periods from the classical Greek era to the Renaissance. Non-Western theater forms are also considered. As a part of the course, students read representative plays and engage in individual and team research projects leading to papers and presentations.

    • THTR 211 - History of Theater and Drama II

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Jew
      Planned Offering: Winter
      Credits: 3


      A critical study of the performance conventions, dramatic literature and social contexts of world theater traditions, focusing on the periods from the Neoclassical era to contemporary times. Non-Western theater forms are also considered. As a part of the course, students read and analyze representative plays and engage in individual and team research projects leading to papers and presentations.

    • THTR 251 - Introduction to Performance Design

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Collins, Evans
      Planned Offering: Winter
      Credits: 3


      An introduction to the history, fundamentals and aesthetics of design for theater and dance with an emphasis on the collaborative nature of the design disciplines. Design projects are required. Lab fee required

    • THTR 309 - University Theater III

      Faculty: Staff
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter, Spring
      Credits: 1


      Prerequisites: Junior standing and instructor consent.

      Participation in a university theater production for a minimum of 50 hours. A journal recording the production process is required.

    • THTR 361 - Stage Directing

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Martinez
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisites: Junior standing and THTR 141 or instructor consent.

      A studio course exploring the director's approach to play production, stressing the methods by which style, meaning, emotional values, and plot may be clearly expressed for an audience, culminating in a public presentation.

    • THTR 471 - University Theater IV: Capstone

      Faculty: Staff
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 1


      Prerequisites: Senior standing and instructor consent.

      Participation in a university theater production for a minimum of 50 hours. A journal recording the production process and a portfolio documenting the student's productions at Washington and Lee University are required.

  2. At least 12 credits chosen from among the following including at least six credits chosen from theater courses:
    • THTR 100 - Introduction to Theater

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Staff
      Planned Offering: Winter
      Credits: 3


      An introduction to drama and the theater arts, including a brief historical survey, selected examples of dramatic literature, and a sequence on theater disciplines such as acting, designing, and directing.

    • THTR 202 - Supervised Study Abroad

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Martinez
      Planned Offering: Spring 2013 and alternate years
      Credits: 4


      Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

      A Spring Term Abroad course. An intensive exposure to English theater and the current season in London. In addition to a full schedule of theater attendance, the course includes a study of theater training, production techniques and representative styles and periods of English drama.

    • THTR 203 - Preparation for Study Abroad; Swedish Theater

      Faculty: Evans
      Planned Offering: Winter 2012 and alternate years
      Credits: 1


      This course is designed to enable students to participate successfully in the Spring term study abroad course in Sweden. During the weekly class meetings, students examine the historical, social, political, and artistic qualities that make Sweden unique, arming them with knowledge for their time in Sweden. Studying abroad, which promotes encountering cultural difference and, hopefully, crossing cultural boundaries, can be expected to be uncomfortable and even incomprehensible some of the time. As a result of this course, students will be open to exploring and enjoying those cultural differences.

    • THTR 204 - Study Abroad in Swedish Theater

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Evans
      Planned Offering: Spring 2014 and alternate years
      Credits: 4


      This course provides a broad impact on student's cross-cultural skills and global understanding, enhancing their worldview. Students have the opportunity to acquire critical intercultural knowledge, appreciation of cultural and social differentness, and exposure to perspectives critical for global leadership. The course focuses on examining cultural differences between Sweden and United States through the exploration of the arts; however, because of the size of the class students are encouraged to examine Swedish culture from their own disciplinary interest.

    • THTR 215 - Modern Drama

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Jew
      Credits: 3


      This course explores the principal movements and aesthetics in the modern period in European and American theater history from the end of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. Significant plays, playwrights, theatre artists and theorists are studied in context of the successive waves of modern movements: realism, symbolism, expressionism, surrealism, epic theater and theater of the absurd. Oral presentations, short research papers and performance projects will be required.

    • THTR 216 - Contemporary Drama

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Jew
      Credits: 3


      This course explores European and American theater and drama from the late 20th century to the present. Significant plays, playwrights, theater artists and theorists are studied alongside the issues of postmodernism, capitalism, feminism, diversity and the emerging global economy and culture. Dramatic works under review also include solo and performance art, as well as fringe and political theatrical forms. The current state of theater is also a focal point for class discussion. Oral presentations, short research papers and performance projects are required.

    • THTR 220 - Playwriting

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Staff
      Planned Offering: Offered in fall or winter when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

      An introductory workshop in scene writing, culminating in the composition and staged reading of a short, one-act play. Weekly writing and reading assignments are required. Limited enrollment.

    • THTR 225 - Educational Theater:Creative Strategies for Using Theater in the Pre-Kindergarten-to-High-School Classroom

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Jew
      Planned Offering: Fall 2014 and alternate years
      Credits: 3


      This course introduces students to the major theories, methods and practices in using theater art as an educational tool for children and youths. Students develop and implement lessons plans in their own areas of expertise, and participate in educational outreach for the department's production season. A solid background in the plays and practitioners in educational theater is developed through readings and in-class discussions. Short papers, teaching demonstrations and dramaturgical research are required. Students of all academic disciplines are welcome.

    • THTR 226 - Practicum in Theater Methods

      Faculty: Jew
      Planned Offering: Fall 2014 and alternate years
      Credits: 1-2


      Prerequisite or corequisite: THTR 225. Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory.

      This individually tailored, hands-on teaching course welcomes students of all academic disciplines. An introduction to the teacher's role in instructional settings. Includes observations in public schools and a theater project in which students observe and participate as instructional aides. This course satisfies the teacher training hours required by the Virginia state teacher's certification in theater. Students must complete a placement on both the elementary level and the middle or secondary level. To meet the course requirements, students must complete 30 hours of fieldwork during the term. May be taken for a second credit if a different placement is completed.

    • THTR 235 - Design and Performance

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Collins
      Planned Offering: Spring 2014 and alternate years
      Credits: 4


      Prerequisite: Three credits in theater or dance.

      This course is an in-depth exploration of the crafted artifacts of the theater, specifically relate to the properties of puppets and masks. Through videos and demonstrations, students experiment with various puppet and mask construction techniques and performance methods.

    • THTR 236 - Special Effects for Theater

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Collins
      Planned Offering: Spring 2014 and alternate years
      Credits: 4


      In this hands-on, project-based course, students apply the process of iterative design and use critical thinking to provide creative solutions to solve the artistic effects required to tell stories in theater. Starting with textual analysis of given scripts, students develop the parameters required for various effects, figure out a process to create those effects, and make them.

    • THTR 238 - 3D Printing & Desktop Manufacturing for the Theater

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Collins
      Planned Offering: Fall 2014 and alternate years
      Credits: 3


      Desktop manufacturing has revolutionized the design and prototyping of objects. This course is an introduction to the use of desktop manufacturing technologies. Students learn how to create digital designs, publish them electronically and create physical versions of those digital ideas. The course concentrates on how these technologies can be used in theater design and technology.

    • THTR 239 - Total Theater

      FDR: HA
      Planned Offering: Spring
      Credits: 4


      Prerequisite: Three credits in theater or dance and instructor consent.

      A practical study of design, directing, production and acting problems in a specific style of dramatic literature, culminating in a public theatrical production.

    • THTR 241 - Stage Acting II

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Martinez
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisites: THTR 141 and instructor consent.

      A studio course continuation of THTR 141 with greater emphasis placed on research techniques and performance.

    • THTR 242 - Musical Theater

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Mish
      Planned Offering: Fall 2012 and alternate years
      Credits: 3


      Students learn, through study of seminal texts and video clips of performances and interviews with performers, a basic history of the American musical theater as an art form, combining the talents of composers, lyricists, directors, choreographers, set and costume designers, and others. Students research musical dramatic literature and apply musical and acting skills in the development and performance of excerpts from distinctive musicals of various eras. Students develop constructive, critical methods in the process of practicing and viewing musical theater performance.

    • THTR 253 - Digital Production

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Evans
      Planned Offering: Winter
      Credits: 3


      Digital technologies and multimedia interaction are increasingly utilized to produce, enhance, and innovate theatrical production. Students examine and experiment with various digital technologies as they relate to theater and dance performance. Students create digital audio, video, design rendering, and animation projects for theatrical performances.

    • THTR 290 - Topics in Performing Arts

      FDR: HA
      Planned Offering: Offered fall or winter when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: Three credits in theater and instructor consent.

      Selected studies in theater, film or dance with a focus on history, criticism, performance or production. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

    • THTR 336 - Lighting Design

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Evans
      Planned Offering: Fall
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisites: Instructor consent.

      A study of the practice of stage lighting, focusing on styles of production, historical methods and artistic theory. Culminates in a light design for a public theatrical production. Lab fee required.

    • THTR 337 - Scenic Design

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Collins
      Planned Offering: Offered in fall or winter when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

      A study of scenic design, stressing the mechanical and artistic methods and styles of production. A practical course involving outside design projects. Lab fee required.

    • THTR 338 - Costume Design

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Staff
      Planned Offering: Offered in fall or winter when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit
      Credits: 3


      A study of stage costuming with emphasis on design and construction. The course includes lecture and lab sessions. Lab fee required.

    • THTR 397 - Seminar in Theater Topics

      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: Six credits in theater or dance courses and instructor consent.

      A seminar in theater history, literature/ criticism or production with a specific topic and scope to be announced prior to registration. Work in the seminar is based on research, discussion and assigned papers and/or projects. Lab fee required for certain topics. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

      Winter 2015 topic:

      THTR 397: Seminar: Stage Makeup (3). Prerequisite: Six credits in theater or dance courses and instructor consent. An introduction to the design and application of corrective, character, and age makeup for the stage. A hands-on project based class. Laboratory fee required.

    • THTR 423 - Directed Individual Project

      Faculty: Staff
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

      This course permits the student to follow a program of specialized applied research in order to widen the scope of experience and to build upon concepts covered in other courses. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

    • THTR 453 - Internship

      Faculty: Mish
      Planned Offering: Fall
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisites: Departmental consent.

      After consultation with a theater faculty member and a representative of a departmentally approved theater or dance company, students submit a written description of a proposed summer internship with the company. Specific conditions of the internship and of required on-campus, follow-up projects must be approved by the department. Students register for the credit during fall registration, and the credit is awarded at the end of the fall term after completion of the required on-campus, follow-up projects.

    • THTR 493 - Honors Thesis

      Faculty: Staff
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 3-3


      Prerequisites: Completion of the required courses for the major, a 3.500 grade-point average in courses used for the major, and permission of the department. Students must have completed advanced theater courses in their area of interest, demonstrated ability in the area of interest as evidenced by course work, performance and/ or production experience, and completion of additional area-specific requirements.

      An advanced theater course that serves as a capstone to the major. Theater majors selected by the department conduct advanced theater research and individual artistic preparation, contribute artistically to the department's performance season, and produce a significant written thesis under the guidance of a thesis adviser.

    • DANC 120 - Introduction to Contemporary Modern Dance

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Staff
      Planned Offering: Fall
      Credits: 3


      This course combines the exploration of individual and ensemble artistic expression in contemporary modern dance with the study of the history of modern dance. The course culminates in a performance presentation.

    • DANC 215 - World Dance Technique

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Staff
      Planned Offering: Winter
      Credits: 2


      This dance class reflects the world dance form that is the specialty of the dance artist-in-residence. The basic dance techniques of that specific form are taught and movement is tied to the historical narrative of the country.

    • DANC 220 - Dance Composition

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Staff
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: DANC 120.

      A studio course exploring the craft and art of creating dance performances in a variety of styles and contexts. Images, text, music, improvisation and the elements of time, space and energy are examined as sources for dance material leading to group choreography. This course focuses on creating a finished performance piece for presentation.

    • DANC 225 - Intermediate Contemporary Modern Dance Technique

      Faculty: Davies
      Planned Offering: Fall
      Credits: 2


      Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

      A studio course devoted to refining effort/shape values and pursuing performance quality phrasing and style in "Horton" modern dance technique. Students investigate self-directed reverse combinations, deconstruct movement phrases into sequential elements, and learn methods for written and oral analysis of dance. Students practice listening to the body by connecting movement phrases with kinesthetic experiences. May be repeated for up to six credits.

    • DANC 230 - Musical-Theater Dance Technique

      Faculty: Davies
      Planned Offering: Winter 2012 and alternate years
      Credits: 2


      A studio exploration of choreography in musical theater from the 1940s to the present. Composition, theme, and form are discussed in concert with practical work in restaging historically significant musical dance numbers. Of particular interest are the choreographers' styles and the many dance techniques prevalent in musical theater. These issues are experienced through dance practica as original choreography is taught. May be repeated for up to six degree credits.

    • DANC 233 - Movement for Actors

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Davies
      Planned Offering: Fal 2014 and alternate years
      Credits: 3


      This course exams an array of methods that provide a vocabulary for thinking about, acting upon, and talking about movement and gesture and the physical integration of voice, breath, speech, and movement. We explore Alexander Technique and create an awareness of physical habits of 'misuse' and transform them by focusing on breathing and vocal work. Students examine viewpoints as a method for vocabulary to discuss work and as a tool for creating it. Laban Movement Analysis looks at these same concepts as a language for interpreting and documenting human movement. Class meetings include lecture, studio work, and individual projects, and the course culminates in individual performance works that explore the synthesis of muscle coordination, sensory perception, and knowledge.

    • DANC 235 - Head to Toe

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Davies
      Planned Offering: Spring
      Credits: 4


      The theory and practice of creating a lecture/demonstration-style performance based on the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) for elementary students. This class spends time researching recent scholarly writings on the brain, neural wiring and how pairing movement with traditional educational concepts can help young children to learn better. Students then use these principles to create a lecture/demonstration for local 4th- and 5th-grade students, including meeting and discussing ideas with local principals, setting up performances, creating a concert that ties to Virginia SOLs in English, science or mathematics, making costumes, sets or other production elements, choreographing and performing the material. Students also prepare an evaluation of the production and create literature to leave with the teachers so that the basic principles used to create the performance can be continued if desired.

    • DANC 240 - Contemporary Modern Dance History

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Davies
      Planned Offering: Winter 2012 and alternate years
      Credits: 3


      This course is a study of the manifestations of American modern dance from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Students explore the relationship between dance and developments in U.S. culture and study the innovators of the art form and their techniques, writings, and art works through readings, video and lectures.

    • DANC 292 - Ballet Technique

      Faculty: Staff
      Planned Offering: Winter
      Credits: 2


      This studio course is devoted to the practice of classical ballet technique and to the exploration of classical and contemporary ballet in performance. The course culminates in a performance presentation. This course may be repeated for degree credit for up to six degree credits.

    • DANC 330 - Experiential Anatomy

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Davies
      Planned Offering: Fall 2011 and alternate years
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

      A study of human motion as it relates to the locomotor and physical activities of the dancer. The course covers the planes of the body; vocabulary of the skeleton; and specific muscles, their actions, and how they relate to the dancer's body. Injury prevention through alignment and proper movement is considered, as well as the reversal of body alienation. Attention is given to the application of course information to technique class and performance.

    • DANC 340 - Contemporary Dance Observation and Analysis

      FDR: HA
      Faculty: Davies
      Planned Offering: Fall 2011 and alternate years
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

      The observation and analysis of live and recorded contemporary dance focusing on the work of emerging and established choreographers. Exploration of methods for describing the moving body in space. Emphasis is placed on the written and verbal critique of contemporary dance in performance.

    • DANC 390 - Special Topics

      Planned Offering: Offered in fall or winter when interest is expressed and departmental resource permit
      Credits: 3 in fall or winter, 4 in spring


      Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

      An advanced studio course for experienced dancers exploring various choreographic styles and methods and the intersections between technique, aesthetics and creative collaboration. This course permits the student to follow a program of specialized applied research in order to widen the scope of experience and to build upon concepts covered in other courses. The course culminates in a performance piece for presentation. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.