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Theatre Major

ClassPHILOSOPHY The Rollins College Department of Theatre Arts and Dance believes that theatrical productions and classroom study are of equal and complementary value.

The faculty of the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance embraces the liberal arts mission of Rollins College. The study of theatre comes most fully to life when integrated with other disciplines, for example, psychology, English, sociology, art, music, classical studies, and history. The faculty strongly encourages its majors to complement their studies with those of other departments.

PERFORMANCE The department produces nine theatre and dance productions per year at two on-campus venues: the Annie Russell Theatre, a 377-seat proscenium theatre listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, and the Fred Stone Theatre, a 90-seat black box space. 

CURRICULUM Majors may take a range of courses or concentrate in performance, design and technical theatre, or musical theatre. The department issues a comprehensive reading list of theatre literature for majors. Faculty evaluate student progress at the end of the sophomore year, and seniors must take a comprehensive exam.


For a full list of courses, please visit the Rollins Course Catalogue.

Theatre Course Offerings

THE 100 Introduction to the Theatre: Surveys history of theatre art and crafts. Discusses major plays and playwrights, physical stage, dramatic criticism, acting, directing, stagecraft, design, and other relevant crafts. Suitable for nonmajors. 

THE 111 Introduction to Technical Theatre: Introduces scenery, properties, scene painting, costumes, lighting, stage management, and drafting. Includes lecture and production projects in each area. 

THE 112 Fundamentals of Theatrical Design: Examines through weekly projects the creative process fundamental to designing for stage. Focuses on visual communication and critical response. Includes drawing, painting, collage, and research projects. Prerequisite: THE 111 or consent.

THE 113 Fundamentals of Makeup for the Theatre: Explores basics of makeup application, creation of character makeup, and masks for stage. Combines one-hour lecture/demonstration with two-hour lab each week.

THE 131 Introduction to Acting: Nonmajor: Combines study and practice of basic rehearsal and performance techniques. Emphasizes evolution of performer's role.

THE 133 Acting I: Focuses on development of actor in audition and performance. Develops concentration, imagination, relaxation, and voice production through individual and ensemble exercises. Prerequisite: THE 135 or consent.

THE 135 Dance for Actors: Covers stage movement for actors. Features exercises in coordination, rhythmic ability, and body mechanics.

THE 136 Voice and Speech I: Free Voice: Investigates the fundamental principles and functionality of voice production and speech mechanics. Suitable for nonmajors. Class

THE 201 Script Analysis: Analyzes structure, style, theme, and characterization in plays from a variety of historical periods. Discusses stage worthiness of scripts and theories affecting creative interpretation and performance. Suitable for nonmajors.

THE 203 History of American Film: Chronicles development of movies and political and socioeconomic impact of film industry from early 20th century to present. Requires evening movie viewing. 

THE 205 History of American Musical Theatre: Traces technical and creative developments from early and current European influences to present American musicals, including future prospects. Analyzes political, social, and musical styles.

THE 206 History of Radio and Television in America: Surveys broadcasting from 1900 to present: inventions, trends, programs, events, and personalities. Suitable for nonmajors. 

THE 210 Survey of Western Dramatic Literature: Covers major playwrights, genres, and dramatic texts from Ancient Greek tragedy to modern American realism and beyond. Evaluates the ways in which Western culture has (mis)represented itself and others onstage and given meaning to the human experience. Suitable for nonmajors.

THE 220 History of American Musical Film: Historical overview of the American film musical from its inception in the 1920's to the present.  Suitable for nonmajors.

THE 221 Design/Technical Theatre Studio: Addresses the communication between theatrical design and technology. In a studio setting, students learn advanced techniques to design, draw, construct, paint, sculpt, sew, and light a variety of projects. Prerequisites: THE 111 , THE 211, or consent.

THE 225 Improvisational Theatre I: Fundamentals: Investigates the fundamental concepts and principles of improvisational theatre that enable collaborative, spontaneous play. Particular emphasis is given to issues of storyline, scenic structure, and team-based creativity. Suitable for nonmajors.

THE 233 Acting II: Character w/ Lab: Prepares actor to express believable, repeatable actions in scene work and monologues through text analysis, improvisation, and exercises. Stresses techniques of finding and playing objectives and intentions. Prerequisites: THE 111 and THE 133.

THE 234 Movement I: Body Dynamics: Explores the physical demands placed on the actor. Techniques learned are for finding a basic knowledge of the body's energies. Skills taught may include: dance technique, improvisation, mime, Pilates, unarmed combat, and physical improvisation. Prerequisites: THE 133 required, THE 136 suggested.

THE 236 Voice and Speech II: Vocal Dynamics: Investigates advanced principles and functionality of voice production and speech mechanics. Intended for THE majors/minors. Prerequisite: THE 136.

THE 241 Classical Theatre: Follows development of classical tragedy and comedy through readings in translation -- drama from Aeschylus to O'Neill and theory from Plato to Nietzsche. Considers mythology, architectural and scenic innovations, and connections between religion and theatre. Suitable for nonmajors. 

THE 248 Audition Techniques: An in-depth study of the conditions surrounding and within the audition experience.  Examines various audition environments and the techniques, knowledge and skills required to be effective in both theatre and media auditions.

THE 260 Feminist Theatre:  Examines theatre companies and practitioners throughout the world who have committed themselves to telling "women's stories" in various types of performances, ranging from traditional pays to performance art.  Explores the ways in which a feminist perspective shapes both the content and form of theatrical practice.

THE 295 History of American Theatre: The history of American theatre from 1665 to the present day. Examines trends, productions, dramatic texts, and theatre personnel who have helped to shape theatre in America.

THE 321 Scene Design: Applies creative concepts, text analysis, research, and visual communication techniques to scenic design. Draws texts from varying time periods and styles. Develops drawing and painting skills. Prerequisites: THE 111 and THE 211, or consent. 

THE 322 Lighting Design: Applies creative concepts, text analysis, research, and visual communication techniques to lighting design projects in varying mediums. Develops drafting skills. Prerequisites: THE 111 and THE 211, or consent. 

THE 323 Costume Design: Applies creative concepts, text analysis, research, and visual communication techniques to costume design. Draws texts from varying time periods and styles. Develops drawing and painting skills. Prerequisites: THE 111 and THE 211, or consent.

THE 324 Sound Design: Explores the role of sound in theatrical production as both an artistic and technical discipline.  Develops a working knowledge of the equipment and vocabulary associated with theatrical sound.  Integrates this working knowledge with the artistic theory and practical application of designing sound for the theatre.  Prerequisite: THE 111 or consent.

THE 325 Improvisational Theatre II: Focus and Spontaneity: Explores a specific area of improvisational performance such as focus and spontaneity, characterization and status, physicality and environment, verbal skills and styles, or long-form and advanced structures. May be repeated for credit. Suitable for nonmajors. Prerequisite: THE 225 or consent.

THE 328 Fundamentals of Playwriting: Critiques student scripts and established work. Stages scenes from student plays or exercises in collaboration with acting/directing courses. 

THE 331 Acting III: Period Styles: Emphasizes actor's skills in oral interpretation through exercises in energy and language imagery. Continues work in scene study and characterization. Introduces International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and use of dialects. Prerequisite: THE 233 or consent. 

THE 332 Acting IV: Scene Study: Explores acting in various periods and styles through reading, research, and scene work. Expands performer's agility through exercises in physical theatre and mask work. Requires journals reflecting research. Prerequisite: THE 331 or consent. 

THE 333 Directing I: Fundamentals: Introduces directing terminology, formulation of ground plan, communication with actors, and concepts such as visual pause, beats, and blocking. Requires students to prepare exercises and scripted scenes from contemporary plays. Prerequisites: THE 111, THE 133, THE 135, and THE 201.

THE 336 Theatre for Social Change: Introduces and explores modern theatrical practices that utilize performance to facilitate heightened social awareness and/or change. May consider a variety of performance practices, such as: theatre of the oppressed, community-based theatre, psycho/sociodrama, theatre-in-education, and playback theatre. Prerequisite: THE 133, or THE 225, or consent.

THE 340 Rollins Improv Players Laboratory: An improvisatory laboratory for students interested in exploring the boundaries of spontaneous and service-centered performance.  Prerequisite:  audition and consent.  Graded on a credit/no-credit basis.  May be repeated for credit.

THE 341/342 History of the Theatre I and II: Surveys major periods beginning with classical Greek, focusing on theatre architecture, styles of production, key personalities, and relationship of dramatic literature to production styles. Suitable for nonmajors. 

THE 343 Dramatic Theory and Criticism: Surveys important trends in performance theory and criticism from the pre-Socratic and Plato, to postmodernism and queer theory. Examines the ways in which the art of representation has been viewed, pursued, and misconstrued. Prerequisite: THE 210 or consent.

THE 350 Topics in Theatre: Explores practitioners, theorists, and historians in the field of theatre and dance. Second Stage series is the capstone of the course -- student directed, designed, and performed productions in the Fred Stone Theatre. 

THE 355 Acting for the Musical Theatre: Delves into textual/lyric analysis and history and context of different writing styles (including classical aria, 19th century patter song, American standard, and Broadway and West End musical). Prerequisite: consent. 

THE 360 Forbidden Acts: The Queer Aesthetic in 20th Century Theatre & Film: Introduces students to aesthetics and theories through an examination of plays and films made by contemporary queer artists.  Course develops students' abilities to read, view, and write about dramatic literature and film, as well as scholarly articles through a  Queer Theoretical lens.  Culminates in a performance piece that is conceived or adapted, rehearsed, and produced as a response to the material presented.

THE 391/392/393 Second Stage: Production:  Departmental laboratory for student directors, designers, stage managers and performers.  Provides hands-on experience in all areas related to the production of a play.  Prerequisite: Consent.

THE 418/419, 420/421 Theatre Production -- Technical: Provides practical experience in technical/design work on major production at Annie Russell Theatre. Assigns students to crews: construction, tools, props, painting, stage management, lights, sound, costumes, and make-up. Requires minimum 10 hours per week and attendance at weekly production meetings. Note: Majors must work in each of the following four areas: painting/props, tools, stage management/lighting/sound, and costumes/make-up.

THE 422/423, 424/425 Theatre Production Performance A/B, C/D: Offers practical rehearsal/performance experience for major production at Annie Russell Theatre. Requires journal and final character analysis. Prerequisite: consent.

THE 433 Directing II: Advanced: Focuses on artistic collaboration, historical research, themes, and directorial vision. Emphasizes preparation and presentation of period scenes: Greek/Roman, Shakespearean, absurdist, and postmodern. Culminates in presentation of scenes for public viewing. Prerequisite: THE 333. 

THE 440 Senior Studio Workshop: Prepares students for postgraduate study by developing auditions and portfolios. Culminates in public presentations. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: senior standing or consent.

THE 455 Acting for Musical Theatre II: Continued investigation into textual/ lyric analysis and history, and context of different writing styles (including classical aria, 19th century patter song, American standard, and Broadway and West End musical).  Emphasis on musical theatre theory and terminology, text, and sub-textual characterization, and the audition process.  Prerequisite:  THE 355 or consent.

THE 480 Theatre Senior Thesis/Capstone: Serves as the culminating project, performance, or document for a theatre major. With approval and guidance from the faculty, students may elect to complete their capstone experience as a design portfolio/project, theatrical performance, directorial work, written thesis, or critical/historical document. Prerequisites: senior standing and consent of the Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance.

THE 481 Senior Design/Technical Theatre Portfolio/Capstone: Focuses on designing and developing an aesthetically pleasing portfolio that incorporates a capstone and demonstrates the student's capabilities and achievements for presentation at graduate school and professional interviews. Prerequisite: senior standing or consent.

THE 398-399, 498-499 Senior Project/Research/Internship/Tutorial: Offers four types of individual study:

  • Senior Project — Focuses on independent production project in acting, directing, design/technical theatre, or management. A comprehensive examination is given in the spring term of the senior year. Prerequisites: senior standing and theatre major.
  • Research Project — Involves independent research in theatre history, criticism, literature, design, playwriting, acting, or directing. Culminates in major research paper. Prerequisites: junior standing and theatre major
  • Internship — Places student with professional performing arts organization for one semester. Host or faculty advisor monitors student's work. Prerequisites: junior/senior standing, theatre major, and approval by career services and department in semester prior to enrollment.
  • Tutorial — Involves intensive research, writing, or production with instructor. May not duplicate regular course offering. Meets weekly and requires presentation and exam. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent.