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Theatre Department


As a community of Theatre artists, we cultivate the stewardship of intellect and imagination in a forum for civic dialogue as we seek to understand our calling in Christ.


Department of Theatre Goals and Objectives


  1. To cultivate the stewardship of the intellect and imagination.
    • to explore the intersections between Christian faith and theatre art;
    • to honor the complementary relationship between academic study and artistic practice;
    • to assist students in developing an aesthetic perception of their art;
    • to invite creative collaboration in our community.
  2. To gain knowledge and experience in a broad range of dramatic genres, historic movements, and critical theories that shape our understanding of the past and present.
    • to disseminate knowledge of the theatre’s historical context through oral, written and applied projects;
    • to identify and synthesize key characteristics of a variety of theatrical styles, dramatic genres, historic movements, and critical theories. 
    • to identify the reciprocal relationships between theatrical styles and movements, and the social, political and cultural trends that shaped them;
    • to critique the seminal artists associated with these styles;
    • to recognize and engage theoretical ideas associated with seminal moments in theatre history; 
    • to demonstrate a sound understanding of research methods as a tool for historical and interpretive evidence;
    • to discover and apply systems of analysis to a variety of dramatic texts;
    • to develop inventory strategies that help illuminate the technical requirements and challenges inherent in the dramatic text;
    • to introduce and non-western performance traditions through a variety of western experiences.
  3. To demonstrate an understanding of all areas of theatre production (design, technology, performance). 
    • To demonstrate the fundamentals of acting including physical and vocal freedom and character development;
    • To participate in and evaluate a broad range of production experiences;
    • To study and experience the fundamentals of technical production and design.
  4. To develop proficiency in one or more areas of emphasis (technical, production and design, acting, directing).
    • Acting Emphasis
      • To provide the student with individualized attention in an intimate studio environment;
      • To develop competencies in Stanislavsky-based acting techniques;
      • To learn and experiment with other complementary and divergent approaches to acting;
      • To learn and apply vocal and movement techniques in studio and performance contexts;
      • To enrich curriculum with workshops and master classes;
      • To develop effective and practiced audition techniques.
    • Directing Emphasis
      • To gain intimate knowledge of the theatrical process;
      • To study, critique and apply the ideas of seminal stage directors both past and present;
      • To be conversant in the working languages of technical production and design;
      • To embrace reciprocal and collaborative relationships between artist and art forms outside theatre;
      • To conduct and synthesize dramaturgical research;
      • To be conversant in various approaches to script analysis and deconstruction;
      • To develop and communicate a philosophy of directing;
      • To apply course work in directing theory, acting, design, and production to applied experiences;
      • To provide opportunities to participate in the production process as a director in a full mounted short or one-act play.
    • Technical Production and Design Emphasis
      • To gain competencies in one or more areas of technical production and design;
      • To experience current technological advances in theatre production;
      • To experience a combination of classroom and realized production and design experiences;
      • To develop systems of script analysis from a designer’s and technician’s perspective;
      • To develop the communication skills necessary to work effectively with other designers, directors and technicians.
  5. To develop a discerning critique of self, peers, process and product.
    • To develop, present and critique a professional portfolio;
    • To identify individual strengths and weaknesses in self and others;
    • To discern aesthetic strengths and weaknesses in the dramatic text for performance;
    • To participate in a variety of department-sponsored forums for civic dialogue;
    • To participate in post-production critiques.
  6. To prepare students for career and vocational opportunities and provide awareness of opportunities in related field.
    • To encourage students to apply their knowledge and skills beyond the academy through internships, professional apprenticeships, and special projects;
    • To develop and present a professional portfolio;
    • To become familiar with professional development opportunities.
  7. To educate a new generation of theatre patrons within the Messiah College community and the wider Central Pennsylvania communities.
    • To provide hands-on theatre experiences through the General Education program;
    • To contribute to our community’s aesthetic understanding of our world;
    • To provide a space where non-majors can explore the creative process of theatre;
    • To model artistic collaboration.
  8. To engage in reciprocal relationships across the Messiah College curriculum.
    • To provide a diverse range of courses challenging to the theatre major, minor and non-theatre major.
    • To enrich campus dialogue through partnerships with various co-curricular programs;
    • To network with other departments in order to develop and maintain courses that enrich our respective programs.
  9. To collaborate with specific educational and artistic initiatives throughout Central Pennsylvania and beyond.
    • To enrich the cultural life of the external community;
    • To partner with artistic, educational and public service organizations through educational theatre.