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Mission Statement

The Pomona College Department of Theatre & Dance embodies the liberal arts education. Through a synthesis of body, mind, and spirit, theatre and dance celebrate the community of world cultures. In an atmosphere of freedom, discipline and passion, students, faculty, and staff approach intellectually and artistically great creations of the human spirit, both in the classroom and in production.

Learning Objectives

The Department expects that all students majoring in theatre, or undertaking a dual major or special concentration with theatre as a core component, will demonstrate the following upon graduation:

  1. The ability to describe, analyze, interpret, and evaluate text, performance, and
  2. Competence in one or more theatre specializations in dramaturgy (theatre history/ literature), design and technology, and/or performance.
  3. An understanding of playwriting and production processes.
  4. The ability to describe and situate the principal eras, genres, styles, and forces shaping theatre repertory, and the ability to articulate the ways in which these both shape and are shaped by the larger artistic and cultural forces of the day.
  5. An understanding of procedures and approaches for realizing a variety of theatrical styles.
  6. The ability to develop and defend informed judgments, and to write clearly and conceptually about theatre.

Theatre studies are quintessentially liberal arts in that they embody the process of synthesizing theoretical and practical courses in a finished product called "performance."

In addition to these general outcomes, the Department expects that those students choosing one of the Department's pre-professional emphases will demonstrate the following in their particular area of specialization:

Performance Emphasis

  1. The ability to act (i.e., to project one's self believably in word and action into imaginary circumstances, evoked through improvisation or text).
  2. The ability to engage effectively in improvisations.
  3. The ability to create characters effectively from plays drawn from
    different genres and styles in an ensemble relationship with other actors.
  4. The ability to analyze the specific tasks required in performing varied characters from written plays.
  5. The ability to utilize the aforementioned analysis as an essential planning tool in the creation of character.
  6. The ability to understand the specific demands of acting styles for major periods and genres of dramatic literature.
  7. The ability to perform with clear, articulate, and expressive speech, the ability to use appropriate tools to learn and perform dialects, and the ability to perform effectively in both verse and prose plays.
  8. The ability to perform with a flexible, strong, and controlled voice with trained breath support, appropriate vocal range and freedom from vocal and postural tension in rehearsal and performance, and the ability to project the voice effectively both in theatre spaces of varying sizes and in media productions.
  9. The ability to perform with a flexible, relaxed, and controlled body, trained in basic stage movement disciplines, including dance and mime.
  10. The ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate one's own performance, as well as that of others, in both oral and written form.
  11. The ability to effectively use stage make-up materials and techniques, and the ability to understand the essential contributions of make-up to performance.
  12. Mastery of the basic business procedures of the actor's profession, including auditions, résumés, finding and maintaining agents, etc.

Solo and ensemble performance experience in a variety of formal and informal settings will be provided throughout the degree program including the opportunity for a significant role in a major production no later than the senior year.

Design Emphasis

  1. Knowledge of the history of décor, including furniture, decorative arts, and architecture (including theatre architecture).
  2. Knowledge of the history of costuming, including techniques for producing theatrical costumes.
  3. Studies in the principles and application of two-dimensional and three-dimensional design aesthetics.
  4. The ability to produce freehand drawings, sketches, and renderings as an essential mode of design communication in all phases of the design process.
  5. The ability to explore and communicate design ideas in three-dimensional form using scale models.
  6. The ability to produce accurate technical drawing appropriate to the discipline. These include pattern drafting and architectural drafting, and the adaptation of these techniques to costume, scenic, and lighting design for the theatre.
  7. The ability to work effectively with fundamental computer based design programs such as Photoshop and Vectorworks.
  8. The ability to understand color and light, and the ability to manipulate these elements for aesthetic use in the theatre.
  9. A fundamental knowledge of the objectives and principles of sound design and technology.
  10. Knowledge of federal and local health and safety codes and practices for the theatre.
  11. The ability to critically evaluate and assess the contributions of theatre design and technology to related disciplines such as film, television, and themed entertainment.
  12. The ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate one's own design work, as well as that of others, in both oral and written form.
  13. Mastery of the basic business procedures of the designer/technician's profession, including resumes and portfolios.

Dramaturgy Emphasis

  1. The ability to describe in appropriate detail the widest possible selection of
    principal eras, movements, genres, and cultural sources of international theatre repertory.
  2. The ability to draw informed connections between the theatre and other fields of study in the performing and visual arts, the humanities, the natural and physical sciences, and the social sciences.
  3. The ability to identify possibilities and locate information in these other fields that have bearing on theatrical questions and practices.
  4. The ability to practice the basic research methods demanded by and expected in contemporary dramaturgy, and to fulfill the responsibilities and demands of the dramaturg in service to production, theatrical organization and audience.
  5. The ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate one's own dramaturgy, as well as that of others, in both oral and written form.

Measured Student Learning

Other than the formal grading process, we have instituted multiple methods to evaluate student progress. These evaluation processes facilitate and enhance the development of our students' skills in analysis, synthesis and evaluation. A partial list these methods include:

  1. Audience evaluation via talkbacks with public after performances and audience surveys.
  2. On occasion, American College Theatre Festival adjudication. American College Theatre Festival is a national organization which coordinates activities among theatre programs and departments throughout the United States. Highly qualified adjudicators from ACTF attend our productions and give feedback following the performance. They also nominate performers, designers and/or dramaturgs for awards of excellence.
  3. Individual meetings with the director in discussing with each performer his/her progress during the production period.
  4. Informal discussions with other faculty members in the department.
  5. In-class discussions and critiques with peers.
  6. Written analysis of departmental productions, guest performances, and professional performances seen by all theater students.
  7. Performance and/or design showings (many times open to the public) and informal and formal evaluations at the end of each semester.
  8. Senior thesis and project oral defense and self-evaluation.
  9. Senior exit interviews.

As part of our program, students are encouraged to develop high professional standards by attending numerous professional theatre performances in the Los Angeles area. The department also provides additional educational experiences by bringing in professional, international, and leading-edge performers and speakers on a frequent basis.

Senior Exercises

  • All theatre majors, and those students undertaking a double, dual or special concentration with theatre as a core component, are required to take THEA 190-Senior Seminar, typically in the fall semester of the senior year.
  • General Theatre students (those not choosing one of the pre-professional emphases) are required to write a traditional full-credit thesis, which may be accompanied by a creative project. This project is typically not a formal Department production, and as such receives little technical support.
  • Performance Emphasis students are required to write a half-credit thesis, and complete a half-credit creative project. This project is either the performance of a major role in a faculty directed production, or a 45-minute Senior Acting Recital of solo and group work.
  • Design Emphasis students are required to write a half-credit thesis and complete a half-credit creative project. This creative project typically entails designing costumes, scenery, lighting, properties, or sound for a faculty directed production.
  • Dramaturgy Emphasis students are required to write a half-credit thesis and complete a half-credit creative project. This creative project is to be fulfilled by serving as dramaturg on a department approved production, and culminating with the submission of a production protocol and dramaturgical log and analysis.

The learning objectives and measured student outcomes for the Pomona College Department of Theatre are based broadly on the guidelines of the National Association of Schools of Theatre.

Academic Dean