Theatre Minor

Theatre is an expressive, collaborative form of communication that through its storytelling power can entertain, enlighten, and impact the world in which we live.

Within the Department of Theatre and Dance at Saint Mary’s, theatre is offered as a minor to complement other majors. The theatre minor provides opportunities for students in other majors to explore performance or technical theatre areas. The theatre minor offers courses in Script Analysis, Stage Craft, Acting, Directing, Set/Lighting/Costume/Sound Design, Stage management, Theatre History, Playwriting, and many more.

The department produces four theatre productions and two dance productions on the Winona Campus annually, providing practical experience for students in the department as well as campus wide.

Career Options

Graduates may choose to pursue further studies in this area, but they all gain skills that further their appreciation for this art form, making theatre part of their personal repertoire of life experiences and serving as a healthy activity and form of entertainment.

High School Preparation

Theatre; Art; English; Literature; Dance; Music

Enhance Your Experience

Students who minor in theatre oftentimes pursue majors in music, art, English, psychology, and more.

Degree Requirements

A. The following course:

TA100 Script Analysis and Dramatic Literature (3 cr.)

Through the examination of a variety of plays from different eras and aesthetics, students learn methodologies from Aristotle to modern performance theory in order to critically and theoretically analyze a script for potential production. This course includes an introduction to theatre research and writing methods, and serves as a foundation for other major courses in theatre.

B. One of the following:

TA105 Stage Craft and Lab (3 cr.)

The goal of this course is to provide the student with an introduction to the basic techniques commonly used in theatre production. This course is the prerequisite for all theatre design courses. The course focuses on simultaneous development of crafts found in scenery, lighting, and costumes. Successful completion of this course satisfies the Theatre and Arts Major & Minor requirement and the prerequisite for design courses.

TA155 Acting I: Introduction (3 cr.)

The basic tasks of the actor are considered in three distinct units: voice and movement; creativity and imagination; and, character and scene development. The course serves as an introduction to theatrical performance, and provides a knowledge and appreciation of theatre as a process of fostering creative expression.

C. One of the following:

TA322 Theatre History and Dramatic Literature to 1700 (3 cr.)

This course examines theatre within its historical context as a socially constructed mode of artistic and cultural expression. It explores theatre history and dramatic literature from Ancient Greece and Rome to the Middle Ages and European Renaissance.

TA323 Theatre History and Dramatic Literature since 1700 (3 cr.)

This course examines theatre within its historical context as a socially constructed mode of artistic and cultural expression. It explores theatre history and dramatic literature from the 18th – 21st centuries from the English Restoration through European and American modern and contemporary theatre, as well as emerging world theatres.

D. Two of the following:

DA175 Rehearsal Performance Lab I (0-1 cr.)

This course is designed to provide students the opportunity to apply learned techniques and theories to a particular role onstage. Students will further develop and apply their analysis skills, performance theory and practice skills onstage. Students will further develop and apply their analysis skills, performance theory and practice skills and techniques, as well as critical thinking and self-disciplinary skills through dance production.

DA375 Rehearsal: Performance Lab II (0-1 cr.)

This course is designed to provide students the opportunity to apply learned techniques and theories to a particular role onstage. Students will further develop and apply their analysis skills, performance theory and practice skills and techniques, as well as critical thinking and self-disciplinary skills through dance production. Advisors will help monitor registration in the upper and lower divisions based on leadership roles within a given production. Registration for this course is mandatory for all students cast in a 'main-stage' dance production.

TA175 Rehearsal: Performance Lab (0-1 cr.)

This course is designed to provide students the opportunity to apply learned techniques and theories to a particular role onstage. Students will further develop and apply their play analysis skills, performance theory and practice skills and techniques, as well as critical thinking and self-disciplinary skills through theatrical production. Registration for this course is mandatory for all students cast in a 'main-stage' theatre production.

TA185 Crew: Performance Lab I (0-1 cr.)

This course is an experiential-based course open to all students interested in a guided study of various theatrical arts in the context of a production atmosphere. In the production setting, the focus is on running all back stage elements of a show from technical rehearsals through closing performance and strike. Through individual running crew assignments, students will learn what the duties and requirements are to mounting a theatre production, and running it during performances. Can be taken up to six times for credit. May not be taken more than twice in a semester.

TA375 Rehearsal: Performance Lab II (0-1 cr.)

This course is designed to provide students the opportunity to apply learned techniques and theories to a particular role onstage. Students will further develop and apply their play analysis skills, performance theory and practice skills and techniques, as well as critical thinking and self-disciplinary skills through theatrical production. Advisors will help monitor registration in the upper and lower divisions based on leadership roles within a given production. Registration for this course is mandatory for all students cast in a 'main-stage' theatre production.

TA385 Crew: Performance Lab II (0-1 cr.)

This course is an experiential-based course open to all students interested in a guided study of various theatrical arts in the context of a production atmosphere. In the production setting, the focus is on leadership roles in running all back stage elements of a show from technical rehearsals through closing performance and strike. Through leadership crew assignments, students will facilitate mounting a theatre production and running it during performances. May be taken up to six times for credit. May not be repeated more than twice in a semester.

E. Eleven additional credits, including six upper division credits, from the following:

TA230 Electrics and Sound for Theatre (2 cr.)

This course provides the necessary hands-on learning required to work as a master electrician or sound operator in theatre specifically focusing on the venues at Saint Mary's. Students will learn to distinguish between various lighting instruments, cable, gel, and hookups and be able to hang the instruments, plug them in, dress the cable, gel and focus lighting instruments, and run the board. Students will also learn to set up the sound equipment (including speakers, microphones, monitors, and amplifiers) as well as run the sound board for live and recorded purposes.

TA242 Stage Makeup (2 cr.)

This course explores the fundamental artistic and technical craft of the stage makeup artist. Through discussion, demonstration, projects, and image research students will define the scope of a makeup artist's job description and responsibilities. Students will learn to apply basic stage makeup as well as character and specialty makeup.

TA243 Stage Management (2 cr.)

This course introduces the student to the techniques and essential crafts of the theatrical stage manager. Through discussion, role play, script analysis and research, and the assembling of a prompt book, the scope of a professional stage manager's job description and responsibilities will be explored. Areas covered include planning and organization, auditions, rehearsal rules, managing rehearsals, information distribution, preparing for tech and dress rehearsals, pre-performance activities, duties during performance, organizational structures, and human behavior within theatre.

TA257 Musical Theatre I: Auditioning (3 cr.)

Through a performative approach, learners explore the relationship between acting and singing through analysis of lyric and score, character development, and various musical theatre acting approaches. Students explore performance techniques and selection of repertoire applicable to auditioning for musical theatre.

TA260 Acting II: Voice and Movement (3 cr.)

This course is designed to introduce the student to various techniques in vocal production and movement for the stage. Emphasis is placed on freeing the natural voice and exploring movement to release physical tension providing flexibility and versatility. Throughout the course students explore voice and movement as they are connected with psychological and emotional impulses.

TA270 Scene Design (3 cr.)

This course explores the essential crafts of the theatrical set designer. In a hands-on approach, students practice traditional sketching, painting, drafting, model-making and practical scenery construction methods. Study concentrates on process-orientated activity – developing one's personal vision and interpretive skills through script analysis, research techniques, spatial and production considerations and communication of ideas.

TA275 Lighting Design (3 cr.)

This course explores the essential crafts of the theatrical lighting designer. In a hands-on approach, students practice drafting, hanging, circuiting, focusing, and cueing for lights. Study concentrates on the process: developing one's personal vision and interpretive skills through script analysis, research techniques, basic theory, production considerations and communication of ideas.

TA280 Costume Design (3 cr.)

This course focuses on the history of clothing for the stage. Particular emphasis is placed on the costume design process from script to rendering, conceptual thought and communication, and techniques in the planning and building of a show.

TA301 Theatre in London (3 cr.)

This course is offered during the London semester and is designed to introduce students to the various aspects of British theatre. The class attends at least eight performances throughout the semester, each one relating to some aspect of British theatre. This course taken with LOND301 satisfies Artscore and Aesthetic general education content areas.

TA302 Modern Movies (3 cr.)

An introductory study of important contemporary films for students who wish to learn how to understand and evaluate popular cinema. Students are introduced to the history of film-making as well as basic film techniques. Movies are screened, discussed and evaluated in terms of content, style and intent. Students have the opportunity to react and formulate their own aesthetic preferences through a series of written and oral responses to the films. This course satisfies an Aesthetic general education requirement.

TA311 Tech Lab II (1 cr.)

Tech Lab is an experiential-based course open to all students. In shop settings, the focus will be on behind the scenes production of theatre. Through individual production assignments students will learn the duties and requirements of theatre production, develop skill in the tools and techniques of production. This course may be repeated up to three times and may not be taken twice in the same semester, and cannot be taken during the London semester.  The course requires 45 hours of lab per semester in at least two-hour blocks, scheduled with the instructor.

TA322 Theatre History and Dramatic Literature to 1700 (3 cr.)

This course examines theatre within its historical context as a socially constructed mode of artistic and cultural expression. It explores theatre history and dramatic literature from Ancient Greece and Rome to the Middle Ages and European Renaissance.

TA323 Theatre History and Dramatic Literature since 1700 (3 cr.)

This course examines theatre within its historical context as a socially constructed mode of artistic and cultural expression. It explores theatre history and dramatic literature from the 18th – 21st centuries from the English Restoration through European and American modern and contemporary theatre, as well as emerging world theatres.

TA330 Dublin Theatre Workshop (0-1 cr.)

This two-week course is typically offered as an extension of the London semester. The two-week workshop at the Gaiety School of Acting is intended to give students an intensive experience in the acting, technical, or administrative areas of theatre. Participants study Irish theatre literature and hone their skills. Attending performances and visiting significant cultural sites also includes a weekend in Galway.

TA340 Directing II (3 cr.)

Consideration of more complex directorial issues, including advanced actor coaching, working with production managers, achieving style and unity, and dramatic criticism. Students direct scenes for thrust and arena stages. The course is also designed to hone communication skills necessary for effective collaboration in the director/designer relationship such as how to develop, create, and research a concept and vision. Directing of classroom scenes is required as well as the directing of a one-act play to be performed for an audience.

TA342 Assistant Scenic Design (1 cr.)

The Assistant Designer will work closely with a faculty designer on a specific departmental production. The student will co-design a show with a faculty designer including research, budgeting, engineering/drafting, tech week, and fabrication, as needed.

TA343 Assistant Costume Design (1 cr.)

The Assistant Designer will work closely with a faculty designer on a specific departmental production. The student will co-design a show with a faculty designer including research, budgeting, rendering, tech week, and construction, as needed.

TA345 Assistant Lighting Design (1 cr.)

The Assistant Designer will work closely with a faculty designer on a specific departmental production. The student will co-design a show with a faculty designer including research, budgeting, plotting, tech week, and hang and focus, as needed.

TA346-349 Special Topics in Theatre (1-3 cr.)

Courses dealing with specialized topics, including those relevant to the actor, director, designers, or other theatre practitioners.

TA350 Playwriting (3 cr.)

This course consists of building blocks for those interested in pursuing playwriting. Techniques for character development, conflict, dialogue, and dramatic action will be explored through specific writing assignments. The culminating work is a short one-act play.

TA357 Musical Theatre II: Performance Study (3 cr.)

Individualized instruction through a performative approach prepares each learner for advanced work in musical theatre. The course focuses on the analysis of text and score through the examination of historical context, dramatic structure, and character and action analysis. The process of applying the analysis through rehearsing music, staging, choreography, and building toward a performance-ready showcase is the primary goal of the course.

TA358 Acting III: London (3 cr.)

The course is taught during the London semester. It examines the British approach to scene work and the rehearsal process. Time is spent in working with the Standard British RP dialect. Students work with scenes written by British playwrights such as Shakespeare, Noel Coward, Tom Stoppard, and Harold Pinter.

TA470 Acting IV: Styles (3 cr.)

This course provides for the study of various acting styles found in the genres of realism, comedy, and tragedy. Periods of study include Elizabethan, Restoration, French Neoclassic, Victorian, and/or Early American. Work is focused on researching the background and demands of each period and style and to include this work in more intense scene and monologue work.