Within the School of the Arts, the Department of Theatre Arts has two simultaneous
goals: to teach students an immediately useful set of theatre skills while
providing a wide spectrum of production experiences in which to practice
them; and to place the art of theatre within its larger historical and
THEATRE ARTS: Both the Theatre Arts major and minor center around a
core of fundamental courses. Each student then chooses a particular
area of theatre practice in which to concentrate additional study:
performance, technical theatre/design, or general theatre.
MUSICAL THEATRE: The BA in Musical Theatre provides the opportunity
for students to focus their studies specifically on musical theatre
performance. In cooperation with the Department of Music, students
take classes in theatre, music and dance to prepare themselves to
become triple threat actor/singer/dancers.
The primary aim of both degree programs is to prepare students for entry-level
professional theatre employment or advanced study in professional theatre
training programs and graduate schools. In addition, the faculty believes
that the study of theatre promotes and achieves the goals of a well-rounded
liberal arts education. The Theatre Department seeks to cultivate in all
its students intellectual and interpersonal skills that are applicable
to a wide variety of career pursuits.
Classroom experiences are coordinated with and supplemented by the departments
extensive program of eight to ten annual productions. These productions
include two major musicals, a fall dance concert, an evening of student
directed one-acts, and a selection of comedies and dramas that cover the
spectrum of historical periods, genres and production styles.
Along side faculty mentors, students assume the bulk of production responsibilities
in the departments season:
they stage-manage all the shows, act leading
and supporting roles, fill all the technical production positions and often
direct or design sets, lights, sound, make-up and costumes. In addition
to these co-curricular activities, students may work as paid assistants
in the shops and on the many touring shows that use the university theatres.
Shows rehearse and perform in three theatres equipped with advanced lighting
and sound equipment. The Performing Arts Center houses fully equipped
scene and costume shops, a lighting lab, recording facilities, make-up and dressing rooms,
a large script library, an extensive costume collection and an advanced
computer-aided design lab.
In addition to the regular academic program and production season, the
department either directly sponsors
or supports participation in many other
exciting extra and co-curricular outreach programs: Court Theatre (our
very own summer stock company), Chico Dance Theatre, CSU Summer Arts, American
College Theatre Festival, Alpha Psi Omega (national theatre honor society)
and a student chapter of the United States Institute of Theatre Technology.
Professional theatre artists visit Chico frequently to perform, conduct
workshops and master classes and to interact informally with students.
Qualified graduating seniors in acting, musical theatre, tech/design, stage
management, and directing are provided with extensive faculty coaching
in preparation for the various national unified audition/interviews held
every spring for professional companies and graduate schools. Prior to
their senior year, students are actively supported in applying for internships
and company positions with professional summer theatres. Theatre graduates
from Chico have found places at prestigious graduate training programs
throughout the country and abroad, and work professionally as actors, designers,
technicians and stage managers in New York, Los Angeles, on tour, in various
regional theatres, entertainment parks and in film and television. They
have found careers as teachers at universities, colleges and high schools.
Businesses also seek employees with backgrounds in theatre arts because
of their exceptional communication and interpersonal skills.