Department of Theatre

Course Descriptions

In the event that students believe they are qualified to enroll in a Theatre course, but have not completed the USM prerequisites for that course, they may contact the Department to request permission to enroll.

THE 101 Introduction to Theatre and Text Analysis
This course provides a general introduction to all facets of theatre including theatre history, acting, directing, playwriting, design, management, and theatre spaces, with a focus on the necessary skills needed to read, analyze, and interpret playscripts. Cr. 3.

THE 102 Acting for Non-Majors
This course will introduce students to theatre through the eyes of the performer. Students will gain a basic understanding of theatre as a performing art through lecture, discussion, and performance of scenes. Improvisational exercises, relaxation techniques, and character analysis strategies will be included. Students will also attend campus and area theatrical productions and be required to write critical reviews of the performances. Cr. 3.

THE 103 Contemporary Dance I
This course is designed to teach basic contemporary dance skills and vocabulary. Physical and technical development are learned through strengthening and stretching exercises. Proper body alignment is stressed for the most efficient and injury-free movement. Students will learn the fundamentals of modern dance techniques while building core strength and flexibility. Students will be required to attend one professional dance performance and write a reaction paper. Course may be repeated once for credit. Cr. 3.

THE 104 Practicum in Costuming
A course focusing on sewing skills and costume construction for University theatre productions. Cr. 1.

THE 105 Practicum in Stage Lighting
A course focusing on the practical application of contemporary stage lighting technology and the implementation of a lighting plot. Cr. 1.

THE 106 Practicum in Stagecraft
A course focusing on the construction, painting, and mounting of sets and stage properties for University theatre productions. Cr. 1.

THE 109 The Art of Dance
This is a discussion and practice course that covers the history of modern dance from the turn of the 20th century to the present day. Students will learn about the progression of the modern dance movement, its origins, and how the influences of each decade changed the art form. We will investigate various dance principles, styles, and aesthetics through the use of audio/visual materials, performance observation, written and reading assignments, and movement explorations. No dance experience necessary. Prerequisite: College Writing. Cr. 3.

THE 122 Introduction to Acting
A practical exploration of contemporary acting technique. This course, required of all B.A. Theatre majors, will use improvisations, creativity exercises, and self-exploration as a means of truthful, in the moment acting. Prerequisite: Enrollment as a Bachelor of Arts Theatre or Musical Theatre performance major. Cr. 3.

THE 130 Musical Theatre Workshop I
A course designed to give students practical application of theatre practices in the fields of acting, design, scene construction, costuming, properties, lighting, management, and directing. A laboratory course. Prerequisite: restricted to Musical Performance majors with an emphasis in musical theatre. The course may be repeated once for credit. Cr. 0.5.

THE 131 Musical Theatre Workshop II
A continuation of THE 130. Prerequisite: THE 130, restricted to Musical Performance majors with an emphasis in musical theatre. The course may be repeated once for credit. Cr. 0.5.

THE 132 Musical Theatre Workshop III
A continuation of THE 131. Prerequisite: THE 131, restricted to Musical Performance majors with an emphasis in musical theatre. The course may be repeated once for credit. Cr. 0.5.

THE 133 Musical Theatre Workshop IV
A continuation of THE 132. Prerequisite: THE 132, restricted to Musical Performance majors with an emphasis in musical theatre. The course may be repeated once for credit. Cr. 0.5.

THE 136 Fundamentals of Design & Technology
A survey/lab course designed to familiarize students with scene, light, costume, and sound design and technology. This course, a required Foundation course for a B.A. in Theatre, will offer students instruction in stage management as well as theatrical design theory. A production assignment may be required in this course. Cr. 3.

THE 139 Theatrical Make-up
A practicum course in the fundamentals of design and application of theatrical make-up. Specific areas of study will include the relationship of character analysis to make-up; techniques of highlight and shadow; and make-up for youth, middle, and old age. Additional exercises introduce historical styles, creating a likeness, and nonrealistic make-up. Students will frequently apply theatrical make-up to their own faces in class. Cr. 3.

THE 141 Theatre Workshop I
A course designed to give students practical application of theatre practices in the fields of acting, design, scene construction, costuming, properties, lighting, management, and directing. A laboratory course. The course may be repeated once for credit. Cr. 0.5.

THE 142 Theatre Workshop II
A continuation of THE 141. Prerequisite: THE 141. The course may be repeated once for credit. Cr. 0.5.

THE 143 Theatre Workshop III
A continuation of THE 142. Prerequisite: THE 142. The course may be repeated once for credit. Cr. 0.5.

THE 144 Theatre Workshop IV
A continuation of THE 143. Prerequisite: THE 143. The course may be repeated once for credit. Cr. 0.5.

THE 170 Public Speaking
An introductory course in the art of public discourse. Primarily a lecture-performance course, students will learn the basics of informative and persuasive speaking, by writing and giving a variety of speeches. Constructive feedback will assist students in identifying, developing, and strengthening the physical and vocal skills needed to engage an audience and communicate effectively. Cr. 3.

THE 175 Oral Interpretation of Texts
A course in the analysis and performance of texts (poetry, prose, drama) with emphasis on the techniques used in reading written material aloud to an audience. Designed to stimulate an understanding and responsiveness to literature and to develop the ability to convey to others, through oral reading, an appreciation of that literature. Cr. 3.

THE 190 Rehearsal and Production
This course provides students with an opportunity to work on a USM theatre production. Production assignment positions include, but are not limited to, wardrobe crew, deck crew, board operators, spot operators, etc. Must be simultaneously enrolled in one section of Theatre Workshop or Musical Theatre Workshop or secure instructor permission. May be repeated once for credit. Department approval required for enrollment. Cr. 1.

THE 201 Cultural History of Theatre
A course designed to provide students with a cultural history survey of theatre–from ancient Sumeria, Greece, and Rome through traditional Asian, Medieval, and Renaissance European and other historical styles/periods into the twenty-first century. This course is a required Foundation course for the B.A. in Theatre. Cr. 3.

THE 203 Musical Theatre Dance
This course will build upon basic movement skills with an emphasis on the dance styles required for musical theatre. Techniques offered will include jazz, ballet, and tap. In addition to skill training, class projects will include the staging and choreography of musical theatre selections. Cr. 3. 

THE 220 Scene Study
A practicum course designed to use skills and techniques developed in THE 122 for acting in scenes. Simple, truthful storytelling will be explored focusing on the works of contemporary playwrights. Prerequisite: THE 122. Cr. 3.

THE 221 Voice and Speech for the Actor
This course emphasizes the development of the actor's voice, providing a progression of exercises to free and strengthen the voice as a tool of creative expression. The elements of vocal projection, range, diction, placement, and characterization will be explored. Prerequisite: THE 122. Cr. 3.

THE 222 Movement for the Actor
This is a practical course designed to introduce students to the use of movement in the creative process of acting. Topics include kinesthetic awareness, physical methods of character creation, elementary stage combat, and improvisation. Prerequisite: THE 122. Cr. 3.

THE 224 Screen Acting
This course focuses on acting for film, television, industrials, commercials, and the web, among others. The course will emphasize the difference between stage and screen acting techniques. Cr. 3.

THE 232 Production/Stage Management
A course designed to familiarize students with the organizational procedures of the theatre production process from pre-production meeting to performance. Major areas of study include stage management, theatre production management, and stagecraft. A production assignment may be required in this course. Cr. 3.

THE 234 Performance Business
Investigation of performance business best practices including business plans in the performing arts, theatre company creation budgeting, marketing, promotions and electronic media, performance health, and educational/professional theatre management roles. This course includes a promotions practicum. Cr. 3.

THE 235 Theatrical Drafting
A lecture/discussion/lab course in basic theatrical drafting/graphic practices relating to theatrical construction and design techniques. Prerequisite: THE 136. Cr. 3.

THE 236 Practicum in Design
A course focusing on the practical application of theory relevant to scenic, costume, lighting, and other theatre-related design topics. Cr. 1.

THE 250 Playwriting
A lecture-practicum course designed to acquaint the student with playwriting principles. Emphasis is placed on the one-act play form. Students will be required to complete a series of creative exercises culminating with writing of a one-act play. Prerequisite: THE 101. Cr. 3.

THE 271 Creative Drama
Study of methods for introducing young people to theatre as a total art form. Course to include the development of children's plays through improvisation as well as traditional children's literature. Work with children in various community settings will provide practical experience for the student. Cr. 3.

THE 290 Advanced Rehearsal and Production
This course provides students with an opportunity to work on a USM theatre production. Production assignment positions include, but are not limited to actors, stage managers, assistant stage managers, designers, assistant designers, etc. Must be simultaneously enrolled in one section of Theatre Workshop or Musical Theatre Workshop or secure instructor permission. May be repeated once for credit. Department approval required for enrollment. Cr. 3.

THE 303 Musical Theatre Performance
This course will provide students the opportunity to combine the skills of singing, acting, and dance as demanded by the art of musical theatre. In addition to vocal coaching, acting exercises, and choreography, students will be exposed to a variety of musical theatre genres and will be performing throughout the semester. The class will culminate with a public presentation. Prerequisites: THE 203 and THE 220. Cr. 4.

THE 321 Advanced Acting
A laboratory for advanced actors, this course provides in-depth scene study. Emphasis will also be given to preparations for auditions. Prerequisite: THE 220. Cr. 3.

THE 325 Directing
This course is designed to train students in theatrical organization and rehearsed techniques. It encompasses composition, picturization, movement, and rhythm. Some practicum is involved. Prerequisites: THE 101, and THE 201, or instructor permission. Cr. 3.

THE 331 Scene Design
Lecture and practicum in stage scenic design. Emphasis on the visual art and drafting of designs. Prerequisites: THE 136 and acceptance into the Design/Technology Option, or permission of instructor. Cr. 3.

THE 334 Costume Design
This course introduces students to costume history and design, emphasizing the rendering and visual presentation of costume designs. Students learn by using the elements and principles of design, script and character analysis, and costume history research.  Prerequisites: THE 136 and acceptance into the Design/Technology Option, or permission of instructor. Cr. 3.

THE 335 Lighting Design
Introduction to stage lighting design, elements of electricity, color, light sources, instrumentation, and control systems. Students will participate in lighting projects in practicum. Prerequisites: THE 136 and acceptance into the Design/Technology Option, or permission of instructor. Cr. 3.

THE 337 Sound Design
An introduction to the art and techniques of sound design. The class examines the creation of audio for a production environment, with emphasis on industry-standard recording techniques and communication tools, script and environmental analysis, and equipment and delivery systems. Prerequisites: THE 136 and acceptance into the Design/Technology Option, or permission of instructor. Cr. 3.

THE 351 Dramatic Literature and Theatre History I: Origins to 1500
This course examines Greek, Roman, and Medieval theatre history and dramatic literature. THE 351 asks students to think about theatre and dramatic literature in a broad array of cultural contexts. This class focuses on sharpening students' written and oral communication and critical thinking skills. Prerequisites: College Writing, THE 101, THE 201; THE 101 may be taken concurrently. Cr. 3.

THE 352 Dramatic Literature and Theatre History II: 1500-1800
This course examines the dramatic literature and history of traditional Asian, Renaissance, Restoration, and Enlightenment theatres. THE 352 asks students to think about theatre and dramatic literature in a broad array of cultural contexts. This class focuses on sharpening students' written and oral communication and critical thinking skills. Prerequisites: College Writing, THE 101, THE 201; THE 101 may be taken concurrently. Cr. 3.

THE 375 Performance Art 
This theory and practice course allows students to balance ethics and creativity in image-making, while experimenting with the aesthetic interpretation of texts. Visual/performative projects focus on extra-textual elements such as sound and low-tech light, visual symbols/ images, found environments, and/or installations. Theoretical and practical readings accompany black box exercises and one public performance. Cr. 3.

THE 420 Acting: Styles
This course will examine the styles of acting found in the Classical (Greek and Roman), Elizabethan, and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century dramas. Prerequisite: THE 220. Cr. 3.

THE 421 Topics in Acting and Performance
An intensive study of a particular acting or performance technique chosen at the discretion of the instructor in accordance with his or her expertise and interests. May be repeated as topics vary, for a maximum of 9 credits. Prerequisite: THE 220, or instructor permission. Cr. 3.

THE 430 Topics in Design
A seminar in advanced design practices, the course will stress improving design and presentation skills by developing and presenting design projects. The design project will involve theatrical drafting, perspective sketching, rendering and model making techniques as required in the areas of specialty. Students will be required to work in two of the three areas of theatrical design: costume design, lighting design, or scenery design. In addition, historical styles will be surveyed in a lecture/discussion format. This discussion will include the impact of social and political attitudes as well as physical style and how these aspects may be applied to contemporary design. Prerequisite: instructor permission only. Cr. 3.

THE 434 Advanced Design for the Theatre
This course will offer students advanced study and projects exploring in-depth theatrical design. The course will focus on one or more of the traditional design areas: scene, light, costume, and sound, with additional exploration on how these individual areas impact and inform one another. Prerequisites: THE 331, THE 334, THE 335, or THE 337. Cr. 3.

THE 451 Topics in Dramatic Literature and Theatre History
An intensive study of a particular playwright, group, movement, or historical period chosen at the discretion of the instructor in accordance with his/her expertise and interests. May be repeated as topics vary for a maximum of nine credits. Prerequisites: College Writing, THE 101, THE 201; THE 101 may be taken concurrently. Cr. 3.

THE 490 Independent Study
Students should contact the Department regarding information for independent study. Prerequisite: permission of the Theatre Department. May be repeated for credit. Credit hours arranged.

THE 491 Independent Project 
Investigation of special topics or execution of special projects that fall within the purview of theatre. Students may select an interior intra-departmental committee of three professors to approve, assist, and oversee the project. Students must obtain rules and guidelines for this course from the department chair. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing and permission of the Theatre Department. Credit hours arranged.

THE 492 Theatre Internship
Students will assume a full one-semester internship with a professional theatre or Readers Theatre Company. Students will be involved in management, acting, directing, or technical theatre as a member of the company. Each student will be assigned a faculty advisor who will make a biweekly evaluation of ongoing work. Participants will be required to keep a diary and/or portfolio to be reviewed by the faculty of the Theatre Department at the conclusion of the internship. All creative work done by the student will be evaluated by the advisor and at least one other, or if possible, all members of the department. Prerequisite: permission of the Theatre Department. May be repeated for credit. Credit hours to be arranged. Cr. 3-15.

THE 495 Theatre Capstone
This capstone course provides students with opportunities to investigate their areas of interest in Theatre in depth and create the performance pieces, designs, stage management documents, dramaturgy, etc. necessary for professional portfolios to represent themselves in the workplace. Students will also develop a career plan in order to map out a path for employment or further training upon leaving USM. Prerequisite: THE 496(may be taken concurrently). Cr. 3.

THE 496 External Experience
This course offers the student an opportunity for advanced theatre experience, training or education away from campus. In consultation with the department, students may elect an international experience, a national experience and/or an internship. Prerequisite: Permission of the Department of Theatre. Cr. 6-12.