Department Chair: Leigh Dillard
Faculty: Amelia Cheever, Leigh Dillard, Mark Hennigs, Adam Houghton, Kaarin Johnston
The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University theater department is supportive of the mission statements of both institutions and dedicated to the education of the general student as well as the theater major. This is achieved by helping the student understand that theater is a formalization of human experience usually requiring rehearsed behavior, linked to text, within a designed visual environment and intended for live public display. This formalization serves several functions. These functions include: a confrontation with our own humanity, an illumination of diverse constructions of reality and a celebration of our spirits. Coupled with this understanding of function is a developed appreciation of the many artistic contributions necessary to the making of theater art.
The department is committed to scholarly and artistic creativity, to the integration of theory as experience, to the dynamics of theatrical process and to positive constructive human values. The program emphasizes the importance of a broad base of knowledge and theatrical experience as a foundation for later specialization. The faculty perceives the theatrical process as being a collaborative endeavor, unifying the diverse disciplines of costume, set, sound and lighting with the acting of the text. This collaboration establishes a strong creative community which builds integrated theatrical events; events that reflect and examine the given historical, societal and cultural context in which they are embedded. The curriculum and performance schedule are structured with sufficient theatrical range to supply the fundamentals for all the production and scholarly areas. To encounter work other than their own, students are required to attend a variety of performances both off and on campus. The department vigorously encourages students to accept a life-long responsibility for expressing their artistic ideas. Acknowledging that their artistic ideas are an expression of who they are as human beings, this expression requires the development of self-awareness, mindful reflection, a cultivation of their own integrity, intelligence and talent, as well as competence in basic theatrical skills.
The theater department assesses student learning in a variety of ways which provide insight into the success of the department in achieving our learning goals and objectives. These methods include: (1) "Meet and Greet" and "Post Mortem" sessions to discuss learning goals and outcomes in production work for all departmental productions, (2) comparable rubrics for final projects in Sophomore Seminar and Senior Capstone, (3) interviews of sophomores upon application to the major with exit interviews of seniors, (4) portfolios of student work in the department, and (5) alumni/ae surveys at five-year intervals.
Major (44 credits)
All theater majors take a common sequence of 28 credits to include 4 credits in Stagecraft, 113; 4 credits in Acting Foundations, 117; 2 credits in Sophomore Seminar, 215; 4 credits in Costume, 253; 4 credits in Theater History, 337 or 338; 8 credits in Dramatic Literature, 327 and 368; and 2 credits in Theater Senior Capstone. Additional 16 credits, which are electives, are chosen from two different categories.
In order to fully understand the integration of theory as experience and the collaborative nature of theater, each theater major is expected to participate in the theatrical productions of the department. In addition to the classes above, each major is required to complete four semesters of either Theater 240 or 340. These production credits must be in two or more of the areas listed below: Acting, Scenography, Costume, Stage Management, and Dramaturgy.