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updated 8/15/2008

Theatre and Dance

James Hunter, Chair/Artistic Director

Professors
Susan E. Anderson, M.F.A., University of California, 1973
Robyn Hunt, M.F.A., University of California, San Diego, 1978
Richard Jennings, M.F.A., California Institute of the Arts, 1979
Jim O’Connor, M.F.A., Pennsylvania State University, 1969
Steven Pearson, M.F.A., Carnegie-Mellon, 1978

Associate Professors
Sarah Barker, M.F.A., Southern Methodist University, 1974
James Hunter, M.F.A., University of Virginia, 1991
Lisa B. Martin-Stuart, M.F.A., University of Texas, Austin, 1984, Undergraduate Director
Erica Tobolski, M.F.A., Purdue University, 1989
Nic Ularu, M.F.A. eq., University of Arts, Bucharest, Romania, 1980, Graduate Director

Assistant Professors
Miriam Barbosa, M.F.A., University of Fine Arts of SP/Brazil, 1991

Walter Clissen, M.F.A., National Institute for Theatre and Performing Arts, Brussels, Belgium, 1985
Amy Lehman, Ph.D., Indiana University, 1996


Overview

The curricula in theatre arts are based on the belief that critical study, performance, and studio work are all necessary for the education of the theatre artist. Study of literature, theatre history, and theory deepens the artist's understanding of principles and perspectives. Likewise, the studio provides the necessary practical training for the artist, and productions become the laboratory for practice of new skills gained.

The production of plays is the principal means available for coordinating all the elements of theatre art. The play is the single experience in which the knowledge and insight gained from history, theory, and criticism are given substance by the arts of the playwright, director, actor, and designer. In this way the production program of the department is an integral component of the education of graduate students.

To excel in the practical disciplines of theatre, an individual's natural abilities must be developed through study combined with practice. Hence, while individual students with a high degree of natural talent are selected, it will be their ability to apply themselves with discipline and determination to the preparation and practice of classroom work that will lead to their final success in programs and in the profession.

The ultimate aim of our graduate program is to produce theatre artists who have knowledge of representative plays from all periods of Western European theatre history and of the theoretical foundations of Western drama and the theatre arts. They should be capable of applying that knowledge in performance and production work.

The department uses a combination of permanent faculty and visiting professionals to provide its graduate population with appropriate instructional experiences. There are 21 full-time faculty dedicated to departmental instruction. The department also uses artists-in-residence to augment graduate instruction, play production, and the dance program.

This faculty serves graduate students in the M.A., M.A.T., and M.F.A. degree programs. With an attractive student-teacher ratio, the graduate program in theatre and speech provide a number of forums in which experiences, ideas, and knowledge can be shared.

Admissions

Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching

Applicants for the M.A. and M.A.T. degrees should hold a baccalaureate degree that includes a minimum of 24 semester hours in theatre, with grades indicating graduate ability. Applicants for the M.A.T. should submit satisfactory scores on the Miller Analogies Test. Applicants for the M.A. degree must submit satisfactory scores on the general section of the Graduate Record Examination and a recent writing sample. While there is no absolute minimum score required on the MAT or GRE, students with less than a 40 (MAT) or 1000 (GRE verbal and quantitative) usually find it difficult to complete the program and may need to justify their scores during the application process.

Master of Fine Arts

Applicants for the M.F.A. degree should hold a B.F.A. or B.A. degree from an accredited institution with a major in theatre. Acceptance of an M.F.A. applicant, determined by the departmental admissions committee, will be based upon academic records, letters of recommendation, interviews, and either the critical examination of appropriate portfolio materials or the audition.

Requirements

Master of Arts

This program is designed for those seeking preparation for the Ph.D. or M.F.A. degree as well as for experienced and certified secondary-school teachers who wish intensive academic course work in theatre. Candidates for the M.A. degree must take a minimum of 30 semester hours in addition to 3 to 6 hours of thesis work, distributed as follows: 9 hours in history and criticism, 3 hours in research methods, 6 hours of critical studies, 3 hours of dramaturgy or historiography, 3 hours of seminars in production, and 6 hours of electives. At least 21 hours must be elected in the Department of Theatre and Dance. Candidates must pass a comprehensive examination. A scholarly thesis is required.

Master of Arts in Teaching

The M.A.T. degree requires 30 semester hours of graduate-level course work, with 6-15 credits in professional education and 15-24 credits in the teaching content area. Eligibility for admission is limited to those persons seeking initial certification. Additionally, candidates must complete South Carolina certification requirements for a Class I professional certification in the teaching content area and in professional education (at least 30 credits total including undergraduate and graduate work). Thus, candidates must complete additional course work in professional education and/or their teaching content area at the undergraduate and graduate levels as necessary.

Master of Fine Arts

This degree program is intended primarily for those entering the profession of theatre. It requires at least 63 hours of graduate credit and residency at the University of South Carolina. The M.F.A. degree may be taken with an emphasis in acting, directing, costume design, scene design or lighting design, or theatre management. Each student's program of courses will be determined by departmental guidelines with the agreement of the major advisor and will be formulated using three criteria: professional goals, past education and experience, and appropriate preparation for a thesis project and written comprehensive examination. All students in the program will complete a professional internship.


Course Descriptions

Theatre (THEA)

  • 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: THEA 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.
  • 530 -- Period Styles for Wig and Hair Design. (3) (Prereq: THEA 230 and 550 or permission of instructor) Research and execution of period styles for wigs, hair, and facial pieces as related to theatrical and media design.
  • 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: THEA 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: THEA 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.
  • 565 -- African American Theatre. {=ENGL 565} (3) The major movements, figures, plays, and critical strategies that have marked the development of African American theatre in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
  • 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 neoclassicism.
  • 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: THEA 240 and 372 and 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: THEA 240 and 372 and 370 with a grade of B or above) 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: THEA 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.
  • 577 -- Special Topics in Physical Theatre. (3) Research and performance training in selected topics related to physical theatre. Course content varies and will be announced in the schedule of classes by suffix and title. May be repeated as topics vary.
  • 578 -- Play Direction I. (3) (Prereq: THEA 270, 280, and 6 hours from 300 level or above) 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: THEA 578) A continuation of THSP 578.
  • 581 -- Film as Performance. (3) (Prereq/coreq: none) 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: THEA 253, THEA 351) The study and application of techniques in theatrical stagecraft, design, lighting, costuming, and makeup 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: THEA 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.
  • 702 -- Directing Debate and Forensics. (3) Direction and coaching of interscholastic and intercollegiate programs in contest debates and forensic events.
  • 710 -- Graduate Design Studio. (3) (Prereq: M.F.A. degree candidate status) The collaborative process between directors and theatrical designers.
  • 721 -- M.F.A. Practicum. (1-6) (Prereq: admission into M.F.A. program) A studio workshop for advanced study of theatre arts and crafts. Content varies with instructors: 721A, Technical Direction; 721B, Management; 721C, Costuming; 721D, Lighting; 721E, Acting; 721F, Scenery and Properties; 721G, Directing.
  • 730 -- Stage Management. (3) The aim of this course is to train graduate students in the requirements of stage management production meetings, assisting the director, and running the show. Professional, community, and academic theatre will be covered.
  • 731 -- Technical Drawing for the Theatre. (3) Advanced training in the technique and practice of technical drawing for the theatre.
  • 741 -- Advanced Voice Lab. (1-3) Advanced training in vocal skills needed by actors. (A) Techniques of Berry and Linklater, (B) Technique of Skinner. May be repeated for a total of 15 hours.
  • 752 -- Advanced Costume Construction. (3) Advanced procedures and techniques of drafting, draping, pattern making, and wig making. Fabrics, their selection and modification for stage use.
  • 754 -- Theatrical Rigging and Mechanics. (3) (Prereq: THEA 553) Traditional and modern techniques for solving problems from actual theatrical productions.
  • 755 -- Advanced Scene Painting for the Stage. (3) Advanced techniques in scene painting. Application of principles of painting to the stage.
  • 756 -- Advanced Costume Design. (3) Advanced procedures and techniques of costume design: includes color theory, fabric potentiality, theatrical use of line, mass, and color.
  • 757 -- Problems in Theatre Practice I. (3) Analysis of selected problems in theatrical design, technical execution, or performance techniques. May be repeated once for credit.
  • 758 -- Problems in Theatre Practice II. (3) Analysis of selected problems in theatrical design, technical execution, or performance techniques. May be repeated once for credit.
  • 759 -- Design Motifs. (3) Practical and research projects on identification, isolation, and selection of historic motifs for theatrical purposes.
  • 760 -- Graduate Text Analysis. (3) Analytical skills, a shared vocabulary, and techniques for interpreting the dramatic text for the purposes of staging and performance. For theatrical collaborators.
  • 761 -- Studies in Theatre History. (3) May be repeated as topics vary for a total of 12 hours.
  • 765 -- Staging in the Non-Traditional Theatre. (3)
  • 770 -- Problems in Acting, Rehearsal, and Performance. (3)
  • 771 -- Problems in Acting, Rehearsal, and Performance. (3)
  • 773 -- Performing in Period Plays I. (3) (registration by audition only) A synthesis of literary, critical, historical, and acting problems of selected period pieces with public performance providing the laboratory for testing alternative solutions.
  • 774 -- Performing in Period Plays II. (3) (registration by audition only) A synthesis of literary, critical, historical, and acting problems of selected period pieces with public performance providing the laboratory for testing alternative solutions.
  • 777 -- Advanced Movement and Dance. (1-3) Advanced training in movement skills needed by actors. May be repeated for a total of 15 hours.
  • 778 -- Director’s Workshop I. (3) Principles and practice of directing for the stage. The advanced study of the director’s role in patterning the auditory stimuli for arena and proscenium theatres.
  • 779 -- Director’s Workshop II. (3) (Prereq: THEA 778) A continuation of THEA 778.
  • 782 -- Professional Costume Design Practices I. (3) (Prereq: THEA 583 or consent of instructor) Rendering techniques, script study, color, and textile applications, prepared for presentation.
  • 783 -- Professional Costume Design Practices II. (3) Complex design projects, advanced rendering techniques, and translation to stage.
  • 786 -- Professional Scene Design Practices I. (3) (Prereq: THEA 557 or consent of instructor) Production-related scene design problems and projects.
  • 787 -- Professional Scene Design Practices II. (3) (Prereq: THEA 786 or consent of instructor) Responsibilities of the professional scene designer; analysis of problems and preparation of projects.
  • 788 -- Professional Stage Lighting Practices I. (3) (Prereq: THEA 589 or equivalent) Large scale projects, such as musical theatre, ballet and multi-set plays, prepared with appropriate professional techniques for presentation and critique.
  • 789 -- Professional Stage Lighting Practices II. (3) (Prereq: THEA 788 or equivalent) Continuation of THEA 788, to include complex stage lighting problems as well as projects involving related lighting fields.
  • 790 -- Professional Theatre Internship. (3-9) (Prereq: M.F.A. degree candidate status)
  • 796 -- Special Projects. (1-3)
  • 797 -- Special Projects. (1-3)
  • 799 -- Thesis Preparation. (1-9)
  • Dance (DANC)

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.

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