Academic program



The major in theater combines the study of dramatic literature from the Greeks to the present with the study and application of acting, directing, dance, and design. Students thus acquire skills in production and performance while learning the history and literature of one of the world's major forms of artistic expression. Majors are prepared for graduate work in the humanities, further professional training, or a career in the field. The theater major is also a valuable asset for a wide variety of careers such as business, law, or teaching, which require collaborative effort, public poise, imagination, and a broad background in the liberal arts. Majors in theater who are interested in secondary school teaching should consult the Department of Education about requirements for teacher certification.

In addition to its academic work, the department annually produces more than a dozen plays, films, dance concerts, and other performance events in its three theaters. These require the participation of large numbers of students, both majors and nonmajors. The department invites all members of the community to join in the creation of these events.

More information on the theater curriculum is available on the website (bates.edu/theater).

Major Requirements for the classes of 2019 and beyond. The theater major comprises two tracks. Track A, Theater Studies, provides an overview of theater history and production, and requires ten courses, including a written thesis. Track B, Theater Makers, focuses on the study and production of live theater and requires twelve courses, including a creative thesis.

Track A: Theater Studies
1) Core Courses.
All of the following:
THEA 101. Theater and Film: An Introductory Survey.
THEA 130. Introduction to Design.
THEA 132. Theater Technology.
THEA 200. The Classical Stage.
THEA 261. Beginning Acting.

One of the following:
THEA 220. The Modern Stage: Ibsen to O'Neill.
THEA 222. The Modern Stage: Beckett to the Present.

2) Elective courses.
A minimum of three additional elective courses, primarily drawn from among the options listed below. Where applicable, students should complete courses sequentially. Students should consult with their major advisor before registering for electives.

THEA 231. Scene Design.
THEA 232. Lighting Design.
THEA 233. Costume Design.THEA 263. Voice and Speech.
THEA 240. Playwriting.
THEA 370. Directing.
DANC 151. Introduction to Dance Composition.
AA/DANC 252. Contemporary Issues in Dance.

3) THEA 457 or 458, Senior Thesis. Written theses are by departmental invitation only. Students in this track undertake a substantial academic written thesis, with the topic subject to departmental approval.

4) Production requirement, to be completed by the end of the junior year.

Track B: Theater Makers
1) Core Courses.
All of the following:
THEA 101. Theater and Film: An Introductory Survey.
THEA 130. Introduction to Design.
THEA 132. Theater Technology.
THEA 200. The Classical Stage.
THEA 261. Beginning Acting.

At least one of the following:
THEA 220. The Modern Stage: Ibsen to O'Neill.
THEA 222. The Modern Stage: Beckett to the Present.

2) Area of Focus.
At least five additional courses based on a specific area of focus and from among the courses listed below. Where applicable, students should complete courses sequentially. They should consult with their major advisor before registering for electives.

Option A: Acting Focus
All of the following:
THEA 263. Voice and Speech.
Two half-credit courses in movement and performance for one total credit (THEA 290 or DANC 270).

One of the following:
THEA 362. Advanced Acting.
THEA 364. Advanced Voice and Speech.

Two additional courses chosen in consultation with the major advisor.

Option B: Directing Focus
All of the following:
THEA 370. Directing.
THEA 360. Independent Study in Directing.

One of the following:
THEA 362. Advanced Acting.
THEA 364. Advanced Voice and Speech.

Two additional courses chosen in consultation with the major advisor. With prior approval from the advisor, a professional internship may substitute for one elective.

Option C: Design Focus
One of the following:
THEA 231. Scene Design.
THEA 232. Lighting Design.
THEA 233. Costume Design.

THEA 360. Independent Study in Design.
One additional theater course or independent study concentrating on design.
Two courses in art and visual culture, one of which must be a studio course, and both approved by the major advisor

3) THEA 457 or 458, Senior Thesis. A creative thesis is by departmental invitation only. To be eligible for a creative thesis, students must have completed the at least eight of the eleven required courses, including THEA 101. Topics for theses should involve a substantial artistic project and are subject to departmental approval.

4) Production requirement, to be completed by the end of the junior year. Majors are highly encouraged to participate in a minimum of one course, production, or project related to their area of focus each semester.

Major Requirements for the classes of 2016, 2017, and 2018. The theater major comprises two tracks, each requiring ten courses. Track A, Drama on Stage, focuses on the study and production of live theater. Track B, Narrative Film and Video, combines work in digital video production with the study of film as a dramatic medium.

Track A: Drama on Stage:
1) All of the following:
THEA 101. Theater and Film: An Introductory Survey.
THEA 130. Introduction to Design.
THEA 200. The Classical Stage.
THEA 261. Beginning Acting.

2) One of the following:
THEA 220. The Modern Stage: Ibsen to O'Neill.
THEA 222. The Modern Stage: Beckett to the Present.

3) One of the following:
THEA 132. Theater Technology.
THEA 231. Scene Design.
THEA 232. Lighting Design.
THEA 233. Costume Design.

4) One of the following:
DANC 151. Introduction to Dance Composition.
THEA 263. Voice and Speech.
THEA 370. Directing.

5) Two additional courses in theater, which may include one course credit for THEA 290 performance.

6) THEA 457 or 458, the senior thesis, by departmental invitation. Students who are not
invited to complete a thesis must fulfill their [W3] requirement by completing an additional
course in theater with an augmented writing component making it a [W2] course.
Alternatively, they may fulfill their [W3] requirement by completing a [W2] course in art
and visual culture, dance, English, a language other than English, music, or rhetoric. Students
pursuing this option must consult with their advisor before selecting the [W2] course,
which may not be taken pass/fail.

Track B: Narrative Film and Video:
1) All of the following:
THEA 101. Theater and Film: An Introductory Survey.
THEA 130. Introduction to Design.
THEA 132. Theater Technology.
THEA 232. Lighting Design.
THEA 261. Beginning Acting.
THEA 370. Directing.

2) Two additional courses in film theory or history chosen from the Bates curriculum in
consultation with the major advisor.

3) THEA 457 or 458. Senior Thesis.

Courses completed in off-campus or study-abroad programs in film may substitute for one or more of these requirements.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. There are no restrictions on the use of the pass/fail option within the major, except for a [W2] course taken in lieu of the [W3] requirement (see above).

Study Abroad.. Theater majors who intend to study abroad should consult with their advisor well in advance of their junior year.

Minor in Theater. The minor in theater consists of six courses drawn from the following:
1) THEA 101. Theater and Film: An Introductory Survey.

2) Five courses from the following two lists:

a) Two or three of the following:
DNTH 104. What is Performance?
DANC 151. Introduction to Dance Composition.
THEA 130. Introduction to Design.
THEA 132. Theater Technology.
THEA 231. Scene Design.
THEA 232. Lighting Design.
THEA 233. Costume Design.
THEA 261. Beginning Acting.
THEA 263. Voice and Speech.
THEA 362. Advanced Acting.
THEA 364. Advanced Voice and Speech.
THEA 370. Directing.
THEA s26. Theater Production Workshop I.
RH/TH s40. Digital Video Production.

b) Two or three of the following:
THEA 200. The Classical Stage.
THEA 205. Shakespeare on Film.
THEA 220. The Modern Stage: Ibsen to O'Neill.
THEA 222. The Modern Stage: Beckett to the Present.
THEA 240. Playwriting.
THEA s33. Central European Theater and Film.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. There are no restrictions on the use of the pass/fail option with the minor in theater.