Spotlight on Courses

Discover Just Some of the Theatre Program's Exciting Classes!

The Theatre Program offers classes across theatrical disciplines and, indeed, multidisciplinary courses, too.  Below are just some of the courses we're spotlighting.  (For a complete list of Theatre Program courses, go here.)  Looking for a class?  Look no further!  All these courses count towards a Humanities cluster in English!  Need further information?  Just ask!

ENGL 142: Stage Combat

2 credits | offered in the Spring only | more info

This course explores the concepts and techniques of theatrical violence for stage and screen. Students will stress safety and control as they learn to create the illusions of punches, kicks, throws, and falls. The course focuses on unarmed combat. In-class performances will be video recorded to study stage and film technique.

 stage combat

ENGL 151: Acting with Objects

4 credits | Spring | moreinfo

In this semester-long course, students will explore traditional and contemporary puppetry traditions, including history, theory, design and performance. Class participants will learn Japanese Bunraku-style (3 puppeteers working together to move one puppet) puppetry and Kuruma Ningyo-style (one-person, cart puppetry), shadow puppetry, and object performance through hands-on manipulation and exploration of breath, eyeline, focus, and micromovement.  Students will explore how to tell stories with these objects, incorporating design and non-verbal communication and gesture.  This class is great training for actors, dancers, and performers to explore subtlety, nuance, and how to make your performance secondary, and in service to the puppet/object, which is the primary focus of storytelling. The course will culminate in a workshop performance of original puppet pieces made by students.

Attend a FREE puppetry workshop and get your feet wet!

acting with objects

ENGL 154: Intro to Design for the Stage

2 credits (1st half of each semester) | moreinfo

Space and how it is conceived and explored is fundamental to the telling of stories—onstage and elsewhere.  This introductory course aims at giving students skills to create, translate and communicate a visual design/environment for performance. The class will focus on design fundamentals, materials, research and visual storytelling through class discussion, script analysis and practical work. Students will read a play, devise a concept for that play, research possible environments, and begin to produce drawings and other visual ideas for their design.  Student's work will be presented and discussed in each class.


ENGL 178: Design for the Stage: Costumes

2 credits (2nd half of the semester; offered in the Fall only) | moreinfo

Design for the Stage: Costumes addresses both conceptual and practical aspects of the creation of costumes for live performance. Students will acquire an understanding of the history and theory of costume design, with emphasis placed on the creative association of costumes and image; the process of developing a well-crafted, professional design from script to technical rehearsal to performance; and hands-on experience with tools and techniques used to build a costume design and execute it on stage. Pre-requisites: ENGL 154

 design for the stage

ENGL 165: Acting Comedy

4 credits | offered in the Spring only | more info

"Comedy, we may say, is society protecting itself with a smile." (J.B. Priestly) Actors have often assumed the guise of surrogate for society's concerns; by creating physically and vocally outsized characters in sometimes outrageous situations they say and do the things we cannot.  In this class we will embrace the physical and vocal challenges that comedy presents us with as actors by exploring a range of comedy styles including the use of masks in Commedia dell'arte, the verbal sparring of Comedy of Manners, the existential comedy of the Absurdists, the American tradition of improvisational comedy, and storytelling through stand-up comedy.  

Some previous acting classes and/or improvisational experience preferred, but not required.

 acting comedy

ENGL 182: Staging Revolution: Creating Theatre for Social Change

4 credits | offered in the Springonly | moreinfo

What is the relationship between theatre and protest? How, in a world that is chaotic and unjust, can we create work that foments social justice and galvanizes artists and audiences around a shared cause? In this course, we will study protest theatre movements both in the United States and around the world and apply those tenets to creating work that speaks to our current sociopolitical moment and the challenges we collectively face.

staging revolution

ENGL 273: Performing as Patients: Using Acting Techniques to Help Train Behavioral Health Professions

4 credits | offered in the Spring only | moreinfo

Diagnosing and talking to patients effectively, safely, and with empathy is a key skill for doctors and all behavioral health care providers. “Standardized Patients” (SPs) are carefully trained actors who realistically and accurately present as a patient with psychiatric symptoms in devised, structured encounters. Using skills including improvisation, and character analysis and development, in conjunction with medical insights into psychiatric behaviors and conditions, students will not only develop unusual, sustainable, and highly valued skillsets, but actively work to give feedback to trainees while putting their own performance objectives and learning into real world practice. A collaboration with the Department of Psychiatry’s Laboratory for Behavioral Health Skills, Performing as Patients is a rare and unique opportunity to build important, marketable, real-world skills with creative, targeted and valuable theatrical techniques. Auditions/interviews are required.

performing as patinets

ENGL 274: Acting Shakespeare

4 credits | Spring | moreinfo

The creation of a contemporary theatrical production uses skills and talents across a wide range of disciplines: from carpentry to rigging, from painting to computer drafting, from electrical to audiovisual engineering for the stage. This introductory course will explore the theories, methods, and safe practice of set construction (including using power tools), rigging, stage lighting, drafting, sound, and scene painting.  Students will work on actual productions staged by the Theatre Program during required labs.

 acting shakespeare

ENGL 278: Dramatic Alchemy: from Play to Podcast

4 credits | Spring | moreinfo

Whether you call them radio dramas or fiction podcasts, audio-only plays captivate listeners with gripping dialogue, mood-setting music, and judicious sound effects.  In this course, you will first create your own play for the ear, then turn it into a short podcast.  Be ready to give and receive robust feedback in a fast-moving, team-oriented atmosphere.

 dramatic alchemy

ENGL 290: Acting for Camera

4 credits | Spring | moreinfo

This course encourages you to bring your unique talent and personality to the screen with confidence and freedom. We will cover technical terminology and physical adjustments required for working in front of the lens. The first half of the semester will focus on 'on camera' interviews, auditions and interview work. The second half will focus on 2-3 character 'on camera? scene work. Every taped session will be followed up by feedback and discussion.


intro to Sound

ENGL 291: Musical Theatre Performance

4 credits | Spring | moreinfo

Musical Theatre is, indubitably, America's greatest home-grown theatrical form and one of the major accomplishments of American culture.  From Carousel to Hadestown, Show Boat to Wicked, American musical theatre has defined, celebrated, and confronted our lives through song, dance, and dramatic character and action.  The skills, techniques and talent needed to effectively embody characters from the repertoire challenge actors and singers in startling ways. This is a workshop-format, performance-based course devoted to the development of skills--both dramatic and musical--for musical theatre.  We will take songs (and, potentially, scenes) from a range of musicals and explore them from a performer's point of view: investigating action, character, musicality, vocal technique, and more. The class follows a workshop model, with students performing material that is then critiqued and reworked.  Students may get to work on both contemporary and Golden Age repertoire in both solo/monologue format and, potentially, in scenes or duets.

The class is intended for students with some background in musical theatre performance and is by audition only.

Want info about auditions?  Here it is!

 musical theatre performance

Explore ALL Theatre Program Courses!