Program Information

The theatre program at Willamette University offers a Theatre major with the flexibility to craft an individual emphasis. A foundational theatre core allows students to build their own emphases and pursue coursework in their area of interest.

A faculty, staff and guest artists with extensive academic and professional experience teach a wide-ranging curriculum, providing the student with a rich variety of perspectives from which to learn. Theatre is a vital part of the liberal arts experience at the University through the public performances of three to four plays and a dance concert per year, as well as student-created projects and a wide array of classes available to majors and non-majors alike.

Students majoring in Theatre are provided with a range of experiences within all areas of the theatre: acting, directing, stagecraft, costume construction, design, dramaturgy, lighting, voice, movement, theatre history, and dramatic literature. It is the department's intent to train Theatre majors in all aspects of the discipline during their four years at Willamette, thereby creating a well-rounded theatre artist. Just as the liberal arts environment provides the student with insight into and an understanding of a variety of subjects, the Theatre department strives to create an environment conducive to the individual growth of the student within the context of the most collaborative of the arts disciplines.

The time spent in a university is valuable not only for the particular instruction a student receives; it also serves as a time of great personal growth and heightened self-awareness. The theatre department supports this growth in ways both tangible and intangible. The great amount of work done in the department in classes and with mainstage productions demands that the students budget and prioritize their time and energy. Truly, there is no class or subject irrelevant to the study of theatre, and the department's outlook reflects this respect for our place as an integral and vital part of the College of Liberal Arts. Students are expected to develop a high level of self-discipline in the theatre department. Pride of commitment to the work and the willingness to take on the responsibility that comes with being part of an ensemble are tangible rewards that students will carry with them long after graduation. Also, classes offered through the theatre department meet several General Education (Modes of Inquiry) requirements.

In addition to the permanent faculty, there is a guest artist program, providing students the opportunity to learn from and work closely with theatre artists currently working in the profession. Two or three guest artists each year, in the capacity of actors, directors, designers or choreographers, are invited to take up residency for the duration of a production. During that six week period, the guest artists are also involved in the teaching of classes and workshops. Members of the Theatre faculty approach their work with a high level of professionalism and the expectation that the type of student Willamette University attracts will embrace the demanding yet rewarding opportunities that lie ahead, and rise to meet and learn from those myriad challenges.

Mainstage productions are selected with care to provide the students with experience in a wide range of theatrical styles. From the Greeks to Shakespeare to the most recent works by contemporary playwrights, the emphasis is on producing exciting interpretations of well-written texts. The department reaches out to the school community through matinee performances offered specifically for high school audiences. The Theatre at Willamette is a vibrant, exciting, challenging department filled with faculty and students striving to continue the journey of discovery and interaction with our fellow humans that leads to greater understanding of ourselves, our neighbors and our world.

The Willamette Playhouse is the home of Willamette Theatre classes, workshops and productions. The building, newly renovated and re-opened in 2010, includes a movement studio, directing and lighting studio, acting studio, costume shop, prop storage, makeup room, scene shop, light and sound production facilities, dressing rooms, classrooms, and faculty offices. There are two performance areas: the mainstage black box theatre, which offers flexible seating of up to 250, and a small laboratory theatre, which features flexible seating of up to 50.

Requirements for the Theatre Major

Students majoring in Theatre are required to take the Core Courses (6.5 - 7 credits Core Courses plus 4 - 4.5 additional credits within the THTR designation).

Core courses

Acting Emphasis (5.5 additional credits; 12 or 12.5 credits total)

  • ENGL 135 (CA) Introduction to Creative Writing; Dramatic Form (1)
    OR Equivalent substitute approved by Acting Professor
  • ENGL 341 Shakespeare (1)
  • THTR 141 Acting II (1)
  • THTR 151 Voice and Speech (.5)
  • THTR 340 Acting Studio I (1)
  • THTR 341 Acting Studio II (1)

Design Emphasis (5 additional credits; 11.5 to 12 credits total)

  • THTR 233 (CA) Fundamentals of costume Design (1)
  • THTR 356 (CA) Fundamentals of Stage Lighting (1)

Two credits from the following or substitute approved by design faculty (2)

  • THTR 165 Stagecraft II (.5)
  • THTR 240 Stage Makeup (.5)
  • THTR 251 (CA) Introduction to Computer Aided Design/Drafting (1)
  • THTR 357 Design/Production Studio I (1)
  • THTR 358 Design/Production Studio II (1)

One credit in music or art history as approved by advisor (1)

Stage Manager Emphasis (6 additional credits; 12.5 - 13 credits total)

  • THTR 233 (CA) Fundamentals of Costume Design (1)
  • THTR 251 (CA) Introduction to Computer Aided Design/Drafting (1)
  • THTR 318W Performance in the 20th Century (1)
  • THTR 356 (CA) Fundamentals of Stage Lighting (1)
  • THTR 479 Directing (1)
  • RHET 242 (EV) Leadership and Group Communications
    OR PSYC 341 Personal and Industrial Psychology (prerequisite PSYC 210 or consent)
    OR Equivalent (1)
  • MUSC 121 (CA) Creating Music Technology OR Equivalent (1)

Performance Studies Emphasis (6 additional credits: 12.5 - 13 credits total)

  • THTR 213 (IT) Intro to Dance or Approved aesthetics class (.5)
  • THTR 318W Performance in the 20th Century (1)
  • THTR 479 Directing (1)
  • ARTH 243 (TH) contemporary Art: 1970-Present (performance art is included in this class
    Or ENGL 135 (CA) Introduction to Creative Writing: Dramatic Form (1)
  • ENGL 202W (IT) Introduction to Literary Theory (prerequisite ENGL 201 Close Reading) (1)
    Or HIST 393 Oral History; Theory, Methods, Practice (1)
  • WGS 353W Feminist Theory
    Or ENGL 339 Special Topics in Creative Writing (approved instances)
    Or THTR 320W (CA) Playwriting (1)

Requirements for the Theatre Minor (5.5 Credits)