‘As artists, we are always encountering creative challenges’
Major in Theatre Arts
Play your part.
In theatre, many moving pieces need to come together for a successful show. With that in mind, we offer an intensive study in six different focus areas — acting, directing, technical theatre, playwriting, dance, and dramaturgy — to enable you to pull back the curtain and explore the various dimensions of theatre arts.
Professors with extensive theatre experience will guide your learning, emphasizing teamwork, career preparation, and the collaborative nature of the creative process. And by balancing your theatre studies with a broader liberal arts education, you’ll gain a multidisciplinary focus by considering subjects that embrace and transcend this art form.
Why Study Theatre Arts at Clark?
- Join a theatre arts program that the Princeton Review has ranked among the top 20 in the nation.
- Perform and participate in Clark’s many theatre groups, award-winning improvisation troupes, and school productions.
- Collaborate with student directors, producers, set designers, actors, costumers, and other theatre arts majors to create productions for Clark’s New Play Festival, a biennial event where student playwrights stage their work at Clark’s Michelson Theatre.
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Your Will. Your Way.
The Major Path
Clark’s theatre arts major offers courses in performance, production, history, and criticism. Whether your goal is to pursue a professional career in theatre or simply to gain a greater understanding of the play or the performance process, Clark faculty will work with you to design a program that fits your interests and goals, and to incorporate complementary internships or study away/abroad options.
The major consists of 13 courses: five core courses (required of all majors), five specialty courses (focusing on your area of interest), and three related courses chosen to complement your professional program. You can specialize in acting, directing, technical theatre, dramatic criticism and playwriting, or design your own area of focus. Related Visual & Performing Arts Department courses are to be chosen in consultation with your adviser.
Skills you will learn include:
- Acting students will develop an understanding of script analysis, characterization, style, and the relationship of the actor to the audience
- You will learn to interpret and critique plays from different points of view and reference, including those of the playwright, actor, director, historian, and dramaturge
- You will be introduced to the techniques and organization involved in providing the stage with scenery, lights, and properties, including drafting, scaled ground plans, elements of design, and styles of production. Makeup, lighting, and set construction are hands-on in applied lab/crew assignments.
Patricia M. Plamondon Undergraduate Award in Visual and Performing Arts
The Patricia M. Plamondon Award is given to juniors and seniors who have demonstrated their talent in and commitment to the arts and for whom the award will serve to enhance their studies, research, or project-related travel. The award is made annually by a vote of the full-time faculty of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts.
During your junior year, you might be accepted into the theatre arts honors program. Joining the program means you’ll work closely with a professor to create a project on a topic of your choice. This can take the form of writing a play, performing a role, etc., with an emphasis on attaining a professional standard of work. The thesis must be performed and/or presented as a senior.
The bustling Little Center is home to Clark’s theatre arts program. In addition to rehearsal and performance spaces, it houses:
- The Michelson Theater — a 120-seat black box theater used for all V&PA theater productions
- The Experimental Theater — a 30-seat theater used for student productions and student groups, as well as for “read-throughs” of student-written plays
- Costume-design shop
- Set-building workshop
Building your foundation
The Clark Experience
We structure our curriculum around Liberal Education and Effective Practice (LEEP), which connects classroom learning with action through world and workplace experiences.
We’ve Got It Covered
In this course, you’ll (safely) explore the role of violent action in theatre, and learn the vocabulary, processes and techniques of combative movement, including hand-to-hand basics, positions and reactions.
Actor as Thinker
Investigate a conceptual approach to acting theory and its application while gaining a greater understanding of script analysis, characterization and style, as well as the relationship between actor and audience.
The Physical Theater/ Environmental Studio
Explore how physical and digital technologies can influence theatre design and direction, and try your hand at creating interactive fiction, escape rooms, virtual reality experiences, and audience-immersive theatre.
Teaching Creativity: The Main South Workshop
Enhance your own portfolio of professional skills while learning how to teach acting, improvisation, and playwriting. You and your classmates will run a weekly workshop for 12-15 Worcester high school students.
Join an international network of performers exploring the relationship between philosophy and performance. Attend weekly Friday morning seminars, and devote the afternoons to developing new work in the studio.
Explore what the Department of Visual and Performing Arts has to offer.