Requirements for the Major
The Theater program at Dartmouth College combines courses in the history, theory, and criticism of theater as a performing art with courses in theater practice. Because of the wide range of interests encompassed in the study of theater, students’ programs for the major include a core of foundation courses in the history, literature and criticism of theater plus a combination of courses individually selected to provide training in several aspects of theater practice with special emphasis in one such area. Proposed programs must be supported by a written rationale to be submitted and approved by the student’s Theater advisor. This rationale and the major cards are then submitted to the Department Chair. Students may concentrate their studies in such areas as Acting and Directing; Dance; Theatrical Design and Technical Production; Playwriting; Dramaturgy; History, Theory, and Criticism of Theater.
THEA 1: Introduction to Theater
THEA 40: Technical Production
Prerequisite courses should normally be completed by the end of the sophomore year. Students who become majors after the sophomore year should enroll for the prerequisite courses during the first terms in which they are available after the major has been declared.
Ten major courses, exclusive of the prerequisites, as enumerated within the following categories:
- The following three courses in theater studies.
THEA 15: Theatre and Society I: Classical and Medieval Performance
THEA 16: Theatre and Society II: Early Modern Performance
THEA 17: Theatre and Society III: 19th and 20th Century Performance
(1) Any two of the following courses:
THEA 10: Special Topics with approval of Chair
THEA 22: Black Theater, U.S.A.
THEA 23: Topics in African Theater and Performance
THEA 24: Asian Performance Traditions
THEA 62: Plays in Performance: Perception and Analysis (FSP)
With prior approval of the Chair, up to two courses in theater studies from another department may be used to fulfill this category, including but not limited to ENGL 24, ENGL 26, ENGL 47, or ENGL 54.
- Five courses in theater practice:
An organized, coherent program of five courses supported by the major, written rationale, and approved by the Chair of the Department. Majors are required to take at least one of the performance courses (THEA 26, THEA 27, THEA 28, THEA 29, THEA 30, THEA 36, THEA 54, THEA 60, THEA 61, or THEA 10 upon approval) and one of the design courses (THEA 41, THEA 42, THEA 43, THEA 44, THEA 45, THEA 48, THEA 65, and THEA 10 upon approval). THEA 50, THEA 51 and THEA 90 may be used in partial fulfillment of the five courses in theater practice requirement.
- Production requirement:
Every Theater major is expected to demonstrate competence in the area of theater production by active and sustained participation in theater offerings at the Hopkins Center (or elsewhere as approved by the Department), especially during the period of his or her declared major. Active and sustained participation shall consist of at least four active involvements in productions sponsored (or with approval, cosponsored) by the Department over a minimum of three terms each of which constitutes a production credit. A production credit must include a minimum of 25 hours of work. Production credits must reflect a variety of theater activity. One production credit must be as a stage manager or assistant stage manager for one mainstage production or the completion of THEA 41. With prior approval of the Director of Theater, a Shakespeare Alley Showcase production may be substituted. One production credit must be for production crew or working in the shops and the other two production credits can be in any category. With Department approval work-study hours may, in some cases, count toward the fulfillment of the requirement. Participation may include any form of activity with the exception of work associated with the prerequisite course Theater 40: Technical Production.
- courses that include a production component
- acting in productions
- participation in a production crew and/ or working in the shops
- stage management
- playwriting when the script is produced under the sponsorship of the Department
- dramaturgy under faculty supervision.
- The Culminating Experience. See explanation below.
Modified Major in Theater
A student who wishes to combine the study of theater with a related field may apply to the Department for a modified major. Such a program shall contain seven courses from the theater major beyond the prerequisites (THEA 1 and THEA 40) and four courses that count toward the major(s) in the related department(s) or program(s). Modified majors must take two courses in theater studies (THEA 15, THEA 16, THEA 17, THEA 22, THEA 23, THEA 24, THEA 62, or THEA 10 upon approval or ENGL 24, ENGL 26, ENGL 47, ENGL 54 upon approval). Modified majors are required to take at least one of the performance courses (THEA 26, THEA 27, THEA 28, THEA 29, THEA 30, THEA 36, THEA 54, THEA 60, THEA 61, THEA 65 or THEA 10 upon approval) and one of the design courses (THEA 41, THEA 42, THEA 43, THEA 44, THEA 45, THEA 48, or THEA 10 upon approval). Students taking a modified major must fulfill three production requirements. One production credit must be as a stage manager or assistant stage manager for one mainstage production or the completion of THEA 41. With prior approval of the Director of Theater, a Shakespeare Alley Showcase production may be substituted. One production credit must be for production crew or working in the shops and the other production credit can be in any category (please see “Production requirement” for specifics). The Culminating Experience in Theater must also be completed. In recent years modified majors in Theater have been formed with Art History, Classics, English, Film and Media Studies, French, Music, and Spanish. The program must receive the prior approval of the Chair of the Theater Department.
Minor in Theater
The requirements for a Theater minor are six courses that include any prerequisite to the major (THEA 1 or THEA 40). These six courses shall include no more than one THEA 80 and no more than two courses outside of the Department that would normally be accepted for the major. There will be two production requirements, at least one of which must be in an area other than acting (please see “Production requirement” for specifics). A written rationale must be submitted by the student and approved by the Chair.
The Culminating Experience
All Theater majors and modified Theater majors must complete the course Theater 90: Contemporary Practices in U.S. Theater to satisfy their Culminating Experience in Theater. Theater minors, and other majors modifying with Theater will complete their Culminating Experience in their primary departments. Double majors must complete Culminating Experiences in both majors.
Every course taken for transfer credit in Theater must be approved prior to enrollment by the Chair of the Department, upon review of a detailed course description. Three courses taken at other institutions may be substituted in fulfillment of the major requirements, provided that the courses are equivalent to department courses and the program as a whole is consistent with the intent of the major. Of the three transferred courses, no more than two may be in dramatic literature, history, and criticism (A, above): no more than two courses may be in theater practice (B, above).
Students who have completed at least five major courses and who have an average in the major of 3.4 or higher (and a college average of 3.0 or higher) are eligible to apply for the Honors Program. Students with modified as well as standard majors may apply. An Honors project normally extends through two terms and receives two major credits. Possible honors projects include: 1) a written thesis or substantial piece of writing for a performance such as a full-length play, 2) a realized production and supporting paper, or 3) design project or portfolio and supporting materials. Students must submit a preliminary proposal to an advisor and the chair by mid-May of their junior-year; the due date for a final proposal will be determined at that time. Final proposals must be approved by the department. Students who prepare for an Honors project by pursuing approved courses of advanced independent study may, with approval of the department, be allowed to complete the project (thesis) in one term. Students in the Honors Program must complete the twelve courses required for the standard or modified major; the honors credits are in addition to the twelve-course major. Students may complete the twelve-course major simultaneously with the honors thesis: the twelve-course major does not necessarily have to be completed before the honors work has begun. For additional information, students should consult the Department Chair.
Foreign Study Program
England: London. Summer term.
The Theater Foreign Study Program offers students the opportunity to combine historical study and professional practice in theater at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, one of the world’s great conservatories. The program is a unique chance for students to develop their craft while taking advantage of London’s incomparable theatrical tradition and vibrant cultural scene. All FSP students will be enrolled in two courses THEA 60 : Classical Performance I and THEA 61 : Classical Performance II. This typical British conservatoire experience is designed for students interested in acting, directing, playwriting, design, stage management, dramaturgy or criticism. THEA 62 : Plays in Performance—Perception and Analysis , taught by the Dartmouth instructor involves attending an average of two to three productions per week and a weekly seminar. In addition to the many London theaters, including the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre, students will have full access to London’s cultural resources in music, dance, film, and museums. When practical, field trips to historical sites of theatrical interest and backstage tours of theater facilities will be scheduled.
For additional information regarding enrollment and prerequisites, please consult the Off-Campus Academic Programs booklet.