Go to USC home page USC Logo Insert page title here

Theatre, Speech, and Dance

Jim O'Connor, Chair/Artistic Director

Susan E. Anderson, M.F.A., University of California, 1973
Elbin Cleveland, M.F.A., University of Iowa, 1972
Jim O’Connor, M.F.A., Pennsylvania State University, 1969

Associate Professors
Sarah Barker, M.F.A., Southern Methodist University, 1974
David Berube, Ph.D., New York University, 1990
H. Thorne Compton, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1974
Ann Dreher, M.A., Northwestern University, 1968
James Hunter, M.F.A., University of Virginia, 1991
Associate Chair
Richard Jennings, M.F.A., California Institute of the Arts, 1979
Lisa B. Martin-Stuart, M.F.A., University of Texas, Austin, 1984
Nic Ularu, M.F.A., University of Arts, Bucharest, Romania, 1980
Charles Wilbanks, Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 1982
David Wiles, M.F.A., Yale University, 1993

Assistant Professors
Kevin Sargent, Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1996
Mindy Fenske, Ph.D., Louisiana State University, 2001
Terry Donovan Smith, Ph.D., University of Washington, 1996
Erica Tobolski, M.F.A., Purdue University, 1989

Andrew J. Mills, M.F.A., University of South Carolina, 1996
Eric Rouse, M.F.A., Pennsylvania State University, 1997
K. Dale White, B.F.A., Webster University, 1981

Adjunct Professor
Alfred Nordmann, Ph.D., Universität Hamburg, 1986

John MacNicholas, Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, 1973

Distinguished Professors Emeriti
Russell E. Green, M.F.A., Yale University, 1956
James A. Patterson, M.A., University of Michigan, 1959

Professor Emeritus
Jayne F. Mulvaney, M.A., University of Michigan, 1970


The Department of Theatre, Speech, and Dance offers a B.A. degree. The B.A. degree allows a student to emphasize either theatre or speech and is especially suitable for persons wishing a strong liberal arts education and/or preparation for careers in theatre, the entertainment industry, communication, education, law, medicine, the ministry, etc.
The speech communication program in the Department of English offers a course of study that allows for an interdisciplinary speech specialization. A minor is also offered. Courses are offered in public speaking, business and professional communication, speech criticism, performance studies, and small group communication. For a complete description of the program and its requirements, please see the Department of English.

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Arts in Theatre

(120 hours)

1. General Education Requirements (53-62 hours)

For a general outline, see "College of Liberal Arts."

2. Major Requirements (30 hours)

Prerequisite: THSP 201 Introduction to Theatre Studies
Required courses: THSP 170, THSP 280, THSP 561, THSP 562, THSP 578
3 hours from the following: THSP 219 (prerequisite for THSP 220 and 221), THSP 220, THSP 221
Majors are required to enroll in a theatre laboratory (THSP 219, 220, or 221) course every semester, but only 3 hours count toward the major. Sudents must complete two different production areas.
6 hours from the following: THSP 240, THSP 252, THSP 253, THSP 288, THSP 289, THSP 359, THSP 370, THSP 372
6 hours from THSP 400 or above
Special requirement in dramatic literature: students must take 6 hours of dramatic literature (ENGL 300 or above). May count toward cognate.

3. Cognates, see "College of Liberal Arts" (12 hours)

The cognate will be satisfied by 12 hours of non-production/performance courses related to the major and must include at least 6 hours of dramatic literature.

4. Electives, see "College of Liberal Arts" (22-31 hours)

Course Descriptions

Theatre (THEA)

  • 170 -- Fundamentals of Acting. (3) The techniques of body and voice control; improvisations; interpretation of characters: characterization applied in scenes.
  • 172 -- Basic Stage Makeup. (1) The study and application of the principles of the art of makeup for the theatre.
  • 200 -- Understanding and Appreciation of Theatre. (3) An introduction to the understanding and appreciation of theatrical experience. Attendance at theatrical performances required.
  • 201 -- Introduction to Theatre Studies. (3) (Prereq: Theatre major or consent of instructor) Introduction to the skills necessary to be a theatre major. Designed to prepare the student to competently complete academic, artistic, and technical assignments.
  • 219 -- Introduction to Theatre Laboratory. (1) Study of health, safety, and other laboratory procedures in preparation for participation in scenic, lighting, costume, promotions, and performance labs. May not be repeated for credit.
  • 220 -- Theatre Laboratory. (1) (Prereq: THSP 219) Supervised participation in theatre production. No formal class meetings. May be repeated for credit, but no more than four credits may be applied toward the departmental major.
  • 221 -- Stage Management Laboratory. (2) (Prereq: THSP 219) Supervised participation in theatre stage management. May be repeated once for credit.
  • 240 -- Voice and Diction. (3) The analysis, evaluation, and improvement of speech through a study of the anatomy and physiology of the vocal mechanism, voice production, and articulation.
  • 241 -- Voice Laboratory. (1) (Prereq: THSP 240) Training in vocal skills needed by actors such as dialect and verse speech. May be repeated for a total of seven hours.
  • 252 -- Stage Costume Construction. (3) An introductory course in the principles and practice of costume construction.
  • 253 -- Scenic Technology. (3) A beginning course in the principles and practice of scenic technology.
  • 280 -- Introductory Theatre Design. (3) Basic principles of design in scenery, costumes, and lighting. Related topics include play analysis, creative and visual thinking, and graphic representation.
  • 283 -- Introduction to Theatre Sound Design. (3) Introduces the students to the basic principles of sound design and technology. Related topics include physics of sound, use and maintenance of equipment, script analysis, and creative thinking.
  • 288 -- Introduction to Stage Lighting. (3) Principles and practices of theatrical lighting design. Course not available for major credit.
  • 289 -- Introduction to Costume Design. (3) Introduction to the basic principles and elements of design as they apply to the costume designer. Script and character analysis, costume rendering, and production unity.
  • 340 -- Oral Interpretation of Literature. {=SPCH 340} (3) A course designed to give an understanding of the principles involved in extracting meaning from the printed page and the oral presentation of that meaning in a lucid and stimulating manner.

  • 359 -- Theatrical Imagery. (3) The theory and application of visual imagery in theatrical design; identification and selection of historical motifs.
  • 369 -- Japanese Culture and Society through Theatre. {=JAPA 351} (3) Introduction to Japanese traditional theatre and its influences on Japanese culture and society. Taught in English.
  • 370 -- Intermediate Acting. (3) (Prereq: THSP 170) A continuation of THSP 170.
  • 372 -- Movement for the Actor. (3) An introduction to theoretical principles and kinesthetic practices involved in the development of characterization through the body.
  • 373 -- Movement Laboratory. (1) Training in specific physical skills for actors: stage combat, mime, folk dance, tap dance, etc. May be repeated for credit.
  • 480 -- History of Cinema I. {=ENGL 474 and ARTH 365} (3) Survey of the international cinema from its inception until 1945.
  • 481 -- History of Cinema II. {=ENGL 475 and ARTH 366} (3) Survey of the international cinema from 1945 to the present.
  • 500 -- Selected Topics in Theatre. (1) A series of courses, each lasting one-third of a semester. Topics and prerequisites are announced in the class schedule for each semester.
  • 510 -- Rendering Techniques for the Theatre. (3) Rendering techniques for the communication of concepts and mood in the design process.
  • 520 -- Playwright's Workshop. (3) Principles and practice of playwriting. Writing, adapting, and revising plays. May be repeated with consent of department chair.
  • 522 -- Creative Drama. (3) Methods and techniques in developing and leading informal dramatic activity with children.
  • 526 -- Children's Theatre. (3) (Prereq: THSP 170 and 253, or consent of instructor) Special problems in producing plays for child audiences.
  • 529 -- Theatre Management. (3) Problems involved in organizing, administering, and promoting the non-professional theatre.
  • 531 -- Theatre Graphics. (3) Specialized graphic techniques used in the preparation of a theatrical production. Practice in the execution and interpretation of working drawings, perspective sketches, color renderings, scale models, etc.
  • 550 -- History of Costume. (3) A survey of clothing through the ages with emphasis on the dress of the actor in significant periods of theatrical activity. From ancient times to present day.
  • 552 -- Stage Costume Pattern Drafting and Drawing. (3) The principles of pattern making for costume construction using flat-pattern and draping techniques.
  • 553 -- Advanced Stagecraft. (3) (Prereq: THSP 253 or equivalent) Advanced principles and practices of stagecraft.
  • 554 -- Performing Arts Safety. (3) Study of health and safety hazards for actors, technicians, and audience members.
  • 555 -- Scene Painting for the Stage. (3) Techniques of scene painting. Application of principles of painting to the stage.
  • 556 -- Stage Design. (3) Survey of the history and principles of scene design. Assignments will involve drawings, watercolor sketches, and scale models.
  • 557 -- Advanced Scenic Design. (3) (Prereq: THSP 556 or consent of instructor) Advanced procedures and techniques of scenic design.
  • 561 -- History of the Theatre I. (3) A survey of plays, playwrights, actors, production, and the physical development of theatres from the time of the Greeks to 1660; reading of representative plays required.
  • 562 -- History of the Theatre II. (3) A survey of plays, playwrights, actors, production, and the physical development of theatres from 1660 to the present; reading of representative plays required.
  • 567 -- Dramatic Theory I. (3) A survey of the major works of dramatic theory and criticism, with emphasis on theories of theatrical performance. from Aristotle through 18th-century neo-classicism.
  • 568 -- Dramatic Theory II. (3) A survey of the major works of dramatic theory and criticism, with emphasis on theories of theatrical performance from the 18th century to the present.
  • 570 -- Advanced Acting I. (3) (Prereq: THSP 240 or THSP 372, and THSP 370 with a grade of B or above) Theory and practice in the development of a role and an understanding of the psychology of the audience-actor relationship.
  • 571 -- Advanced Acting II. (3) (Prereq: THSP 240 or THSP 372 and a grade of B or higher in THSP 370) Technique of performing play scripts with heightened language and styles other than naturalism/realism. Some examples of genres that may be taught are Classical Greek, Elizabethan, absurdist.
  • 572 -- Advanced Makeup. (2) (Prereq: THSP 172 or consent of instructor) Specific character types, prosthetics, wig making, and corrective makeup. Special attention to the development of files of character illustrations and the designing of specific makeups.
  • 575 -- Rehearsal and Performance. (3) An intensive laboratory course in repertory theatre.
  • 576 -- Rehearsal and Performance. (3) An intensive laboratory course in repertory theatre.
  • 578 -- Play Direction I. (3) (Prereq: THSP 170, 370, and 556 or 588) A study of the principles, procedures and practice of stage direction, with the selection, analysis, casting, and rehearsal of a one-act play to be presented in the laboratory theatre.
  • 579 -- Play Direction II. (3) (Prereq: THSP 578) A continuation of THSP 578.
  • 581 -- Film as Performance. (3) Study and analysis of film production, performance, and aesthetics.
  • 582 -- Costume Design. (3) Theory and practice in the design of theatre costumes.
  • 585 -- Design for Communications Media Production. (3) (Prereq: THSP 253, THSP 351) The study and application of techniques in theatrical stagecraft, design, lighting, costuming, and make up applicable to specialized fields of communication media.
  • 586 -- The Articulate Body. (3) Theoretical and experimental exploration of the major body systems and developmental movements to bring more articulation to the body and more awareness and physical ease in performance.
  • 587 -- Film and Television Acting. (3) (Prereq: THSP 170) Theory and practice of film and television acting.
  • 588 -- Stage Light Design I. (3) The interrelationship of stage lighting and other production elements. Design techniques, equipment, and script analysis. Laboratory work on department productions. Restricted to theatre majors or those having special permission of instructor.
  • 589 -- Advanced Stage Lighting Design II. (3) Stage lighting equipment and design techniques. Laboratory work on departmental productions.
  • 599 -- Special Topics in Theatre. (3) Reading and research on selected topics. Course content varies and will be announced in the schedule of classes by suffix and title. May be repeated once as topics vary.

Dance (DANC)

  • 101 -- Dance Appreciation. (3) An eclectic survey of various dance forms including primitive, historic, ballet, modern, and Broadway musical.
  • 274 -- Beginning Modern Dance. {=PEDU 162} (1) Fundamental skills and terminology.
  • 300 -- Music for Dancers. (3) Rhythmic analysis, reading and metric patterns, construction and use of scores from musical theatre to symphonic orchestration with exercises to enhance the knowledge of relationship between dance and music.
  • 303 -- The Dancer's Body. (3) Anatomy and movement analysis for dancers.
  • 304 -- Intermediate Tap Dance. (3) (Prereq: permission of intsructor) Advanced fundamentals of tap dance, including intermediate/advanced rhythmic structure and incorporation of alignment and style.
  • 371 -- Introduction to Choreography. (3) Principles of dance composition through analysis of special patterns, classical ensemble, and modern forms. One choreographic composition required.
  • 374 -- Intermediate Modern Dance. {=PEDU 163} (1) Continuation of PEDU 162 and THSP 274; increased dance skills through creative movement, patterns, improvisations, and compositional problems.
  • 375 -- Beginning Ballet. {=PEDU 164} (1) Fundamental history and techniques of classical ballet.
  • 376 -- Intermediate Ballet. {=PEDU 165} (1) (Prereq: PEDU 164 or THSP 375 or consent of instructor) The development of precision, flexibility, and proficiency as a dancer.
  • 377 -- Historic Dance. (3) A course open to all students interested in gaining knowledge of early dances from the 15th Basse, Pavanne and Gaillarde of the Renaissance era to the Baroque dances from the court of Louis XIV.
  • 378 -- Beginning Jazz Dance. (1) Performance of jazz dance from its early black origins to its use on the contemporary stage.
  • 379 -- Intermediate Jazz Dance. (1) (Prereq: THSP 378) Development of jazz movement and styles. Control, rhythm, and continuity are emphasized. Dance performance required.
  • 380 -- Movement and Dance for Musical Theatre. (3) Styles of movement and dance in musical theatre from the '20s, '30s and '40s to modern contemporary musical theatre. Choreographing for musicals, cultural forms of dance, staging for vocal pieces.
  • 390 -- Dance Studio Operation. (3) Advanced training methods and techniques in all forms of dance. Emphasis on recent research in dance curriculum and operational technique. For experienced dance teachers.
  • 399 -- Independent Study and Research. (3-6) Contract approved by instructor, advisor, and department chair is required for undergraduate students.
  • 401 -- Dance Composition. (3) (Prereq: DANC 371 or permission of instructor) Intermediate to advanced choreography. Creative exploration and analysis of principles of dance composition through improvisation and problem solving. May not be repeated for credit.
  • 402 -- Pointe Variations for Intermediate/Advanced Ballet. (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Pointe technique, an extension of ballet technique skills on pointe. Study and execution of female variations from classical repertory. May be repeated four times.
  • 406 -- West African Dance. (3) The history and practice of West African dances.
  • 474 -- Advanced Ballet. (1) (Prereq: THSP 376, PEDU 165, or consent of instructor) Precision, flexibility, and proficiency as a dancer; emphasis on performance skills.
  • 500 -- Selected Topics in Dance. (1) A series of courses, each lasting one-third of a semester. Topics and prerequisites are announced in the class schedule for each semester.
  • 573 -- Dancer's Workshop. (1) (Prereq: graduate standing or three credits in dance) Individual advanced training in movement, improvisation, flexibility, and precision in dance styles including modern and ballet.
  • 577 -- Dance Performance. {=PEDU 577} (3) Rehearsal, choreographic analysis, and dance performance. All components of dance production-including music, costume, lighting, and scenery-will be considered.
  • 599 -- Special Topics in Dance. (3) Reading and research on selected topics. Course content varies and will be announced in the schedule of classes by suffix and title. May be repeated once as topics vary.

Return to Liberal Arts