About the program
- Augustana College offers a major and minor in theatre arts -- both with a choice of emphasis in performance, design and technology, or theatre history and research -- as well as many opportunities for students of all majors to participate onstage or behind the scenes. Qualified undergraduates often design lighting, scenery or sound for productions and frequently serve as members of the production team, working alongside performance and design faculty.
Adam Parboosingh, assistant professor of scenography left, and student director Ben Webb working at rehearsal for the fall 2009 production of The Big Funk.
- The three full-time faculty provide a well-rounded, balanced education in theatre within the context of the liberal arts, combining study of dramatic literature, history and theory with practical experience in all areas of theatrical production.
- The department's size ensures close mentoring and one-on-one support from faculty. Most Augustana classes in theatre arts enroll fewer than 30 students, and upper-division courses often cap at 12 students. In theatre studies, whether onstage or backstage, respect and support of an individual's creative development are key to a solid educational background.
- The department stages three major productions each year, in a season that explores a certain topic or theme. In addition to the main-stage productions, theatre majors produce an annual Festival of Short Plays. Altogether, annual performaces span a wide range of genres and historical periods, including classical, modern and contemporary dramas, comedies and musicals.
- Every main-stage production at Augustana involves one or more student dramaturges who apply their skills in research and writing to production and performance practices. This dramaturgical research team works under faculty supervision to inform the audience, cast and crew of any information pertinent to the production. While resident dramaturges are common at regional theatres across the country, undergraduate programs in dramaturgical research and writing are rare.
Outside the classroom
- Each year, the department offers workshops and field trips to professional theatres and conferences at an affordable cost to students. Extended trips to places like New York City, London or Ontario may also become an integral part of the theatre student's experience.
- Students may apply for and receive funding to support theatre-related travel and research through the Nancy Salen Mueller Theatre Exploration Award, a scholarship dedicated to helping theatre students experience off-campus professional theatre.
- Graduate school opportunities for Augustana theatre majors are excellent; past placements include Ph.D. and M.F.A. programs in theatre history, acting, directing, set design, theatre technology, costume design and lighting design. Augustana theatre alumni have built successful careers as talent agents, regional theatre performers, television and film actors, independent film producers, lighting designers, sound technicians, directors, stage managers, and teachers at the secondary and college levels.
- Studies in theatre arts at Augustana-combined with a solid liberal arts foundation-promote valuable skills that can be applied to many professions outside of theatre arts, including public relations, arts administration, broadcast journalism, marketing and advertising, law, government, communications and arts education.
What students say
Kevin Wender '08, theatre arts and English majors:
"Augustana's theatre arts department enabled me to explore everything the craft of theatre has to offer. In my four years there, I was able to train as an actor while acquiring the practical skills of director, stage manager, technician, historian, and even stage combatant. The department provides a wealth of opportunities for those interested in a theatrical career, as well as for those just looking to get involved in productions. Through these shows, I've gotten to know some incredible people and caring professors, and with their help I accomplished more than I ever thought possible."
Katie McCarthy '09, theatre arts and psychology majors:
"I have discovered that almost every other class I have taken at Augustana has been somehow related to what I learned in theatre arts. The classes and rehearsal process have taught me there's more to a degree in theatre arts than acting on a stage-I have enjoyed learning more about performance, design, construction and theatre history than I had ever imagined. But most importantly, the students and faculty in the department have be-come like a second family to me -- encouraging me to grow as a performer, director, researcher, and as a human being."