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Overview

Why choose a liberal arts college like The College of Wooster for theatre and dance?

Theatre and Dance, as studied at The College of Wooster, emphasizes the relationship between scholarship, artistry, and advocacy through an investigation of the range and depth of the human experience in our coursework and stage productions. In this world, the artist/scholar must be an advocate for the arts, as well as contribute to a movement for social justice and activism through artistic expression. Similarly, the department’s productions reflect a commitment to sustainability. The Theatre and Dance Major and Minor curricula offer a broad range of knowledge designed to examine acting, directing, dance, design and technology, history, literature, playwriting, theory, and artistic activism and social justice focusing in each area on the importance of analyzing texts in their various modes: written, visual, and physical. While the Theatre and Dance student may choose to specialize in one of these particular areas of the discipline for their Senior Independent Study, the departmental philosophy remains dedicated to the liberal arts belief in developing, through its interdisciplinary curricular structure, a combination of historical and critical analysis in relationship to the study of various performance texts, resulting in the creation of the artist/scholar/advocate.

Who can audition for theatre and dance productions?

Auditions are open to all College of Wooster students regardless of major or year of study. Actors and dancers are selected based on their talent/ability and appropriateness for the specific role or dance piece. It is not uncommon for first-year and sophomore students to be cast in major roles or selected for concert pieces alongside upper class students since juniors and seniors are immersed in their Independent Study projects.

Are there other opportunities for performance and production in addition to those offered by the Department of Theatre and Dance?

The College of Wooster has three student organizations that offer additional opportunities for those interested in Theatre. Effie’s Players primarily focuses on contemporary dramatic works; Shakespeariments explores the rich heritage of the works of Shakespeare and the newly formed, Woosicals, presents offerings from musical theatre.  All are student directed and produced, utilizing a variety of venues around campus.

What Theatre and Dance courses should I be taking as a First-Year student?

We encourage new students to begin with our 100 level courses (Introduction to Theatre Research and Writing, Foundations of Theatrical Design, Fundamentals for the Performer), which are designed as introductions to and preparation for the 300 level practical classes in acting, dance, design, play writing, directing, and technology. Our 200 level history/literature/theory courses are also great places to start your degree or minor. Typically we provide one or two 200 level courses each semester. In addition, any student participating in our faculty directed productions can register for .25 Practicum credit each semester. Please see the Chair of the department for details before registering.

Why don’t I see any Introduction to Acting courses listed in the catalog of classes?

A number of years ago, the Department revised the curriculum, including the introductory (100 level) courses. Our goal was to create an entry into the major that viewed the work we do as artists and scholars from three textual perspectives: Introduction to Theatre Research and Writing, Foundations of Theatrical Design, and Fundamentals for the Performer. It is in the latter of the three that elements of both introductory acting and movement are combined to prepare students for a number of advanced 300 level courses in Acting, Dance, and Directing, for example.

Where do I look for information?

You can find up-to-date information about auditions, performance schedules, rehearsals, cast lists and employment opportunities on our department call-board. It is located just opposite our department’s main office in Wishart Hall (room 119), next to the Freedlander Theater.

 


Faculty & Staff

Emily Baird

Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance

ebaird@wooster.edu

Shirley Huston-Findley

Shirley Huston-Findley

Professor of Theatre and Dance

sfindley@wooster.edu

Jimmy Noriega

Jimmy Noriega

Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance

jnoriega@wooster.edu

Suwatana Rockland

Suwatana Rockland

Costume Designer/Costume Shop Supervisor – Theatre and Dance

srockland@wooster.edu

Michael Schafer

Technical Director/Designer and Scene Shop Manager - Theatre and Dance

mschafer@wooster.edu

Naoko Skala

Naoko Skala

Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance; Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

nskala@wooster.edu


Latest Theatre and Dance News

Emily Baird, visiting assistant professor of theatre and dance

Professor Baird publishes investigation into body awareness of undergraduate dancers

Emily Baird, visiting assistant professor of theatre and dance at The College of Wooster, published an article this spring in the Journal of Dance […]

Jimmy A. Noriega, associate professor of theatre and dance

Jimmy Noriega receives Fulbright to Austria to create multimedia theatre piece

Jimmy A. Noriega, associate professor of theatre and Latin American Studies at The College of Wooster, has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award […]

Cast members Amari Royal, Teresa Ascencio, Victoria Silva appear with director Professor Noriega.

Performance of CAGED at Belgium international theatre festival features Wooster students and director Noriega

Jimmy A. Noriega, associate professor of theatre and Latin American studies, will travel to Belgium with his theatre company, Teatro Travieso/Troublemaker Theatre, to present […]

headshots of three students from The College of Wooster

Three Wooster students present papers at online communications conference

Three students from The College of Wooster recently presented papers at an undergraduate online communication conference hosted by Ball State University. Sam Caley ’23, […]

More Theatre and Dance Articles

Major

The Theatre and Dance major consists of a minimum of 12 course credits: three 100-level foundational courses focusing on the understanding of text from a variety of perspectives, three 200-level history/literature/theory/criticism courses, and three 300-level courses. Junior Independent Study and Senior Independent Study allow students to establish an area of emphasis in Theatre and Dance, including directing, design, technology, acting, choreography, playwriting, history and theory.

The Department of Theatre and Dance strives to develop our students as artistic scholars by providing them with a knowledge base that establishes strong research, creative and critical thinking, and verbal and written communication skills.

The 100-level introductory courses serve as an introduction to the artistic and intellectual foundation necessary to analyze, interpret, and create theatre and dance.

The 200-level courses introduce students to historical, theoretical, and critical perspective to the three texts.

The 300-level courses emphasize practical application of theoretical concepts and methodology, as well as application.

View Courses

Minor

A minor in Theatre & Dance consists of six courses from a list that includes classes focused on acting, directing, dance, design and technology, history, literature, playwriting, theory, and artistic activism and social justice. Within each area, students analyze texts in their various modes: written, visual, and physical.

View Courses

Independent Study

Independent Study (IS) at The College of Wooster began over 60 years ago and remains the cornerstone of our curriculum today. Each senior and each discipline experiences IS somewhat differently, but the common elements include a year-long research project culminating in a significant piece of scholarship emerging out of a topic generated by the student and guided through one-on-one weekly meetings with an advisor. IS at Wooster has been recognized for its success as part of a liberal arts education.

In the Department of Theatre and Dance students develop a critical question in their Junior year, which goes through an approval process conducted by the faculty. In addition, some students request a production component that combines their research with a practical experience in choreography, acting, directing, playwriting, design, or devising theatre. The project might include choreographing for the Spring Dance Concert, performing an acting recital, directing a one-act play, conducting a staged-reading of their original drama, designing for a faculty-directed main stage production, or developing a devised performance piece.

 

Search the I.S. Database

Student Year I.S. Title Major 1 Major 2 Advisor
Please search to view results

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Alumni

Wooster Theatre and Dance majors choose diverse career paths. Some pursue advanced study at schools such as Yale, Rutgers, Ball State, Columbia, Boston University, Carnegie Mellon, Purdue, Ohio State, Florida State, The University of Illinois, and New York University. Some work for professional theatre or dance companies, while others join arts organizations.

The broad liberal arts background offered at Wooster and the research skills gained through I.S. prepare students for a wide variety of careers.

Stephen Quandt (’85) (MFA NYU) is a professional lighting designer located in New York city and also teaches at Queens College.

Sarah McGraw (’85) is an actor, director, instructor at Wexford Acting Studio.

Jonathan Becker (’86) is master mask make and owner/director of The North American Laboratory for the Performing Arts. Assistant Prof Ball State University; graduate of Ecole Internationale de Theatre Jacques Lecoq.

Martin McDougall (’86) is a London based film actor (tSaving Private Ryan, Batman Begins, FDR, The Fifth Element).

Raymond Inkel (’88) worked as a technical director at Kalamazoo College and as production manager at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, and currently serves as production manager for the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

Cathy Taylor (’92) runs Cathy Taylor Public Relations.

Elizabeth Staruch (’95) is an Associate Professor of Dance at West Chester University.

Ilana Brownstein (’98) (MFA Yale) became a literary manager and director of new play development and commissions at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston.

Dance alumni including Rhiannon Fink (’00), Alyssa Wilmot (’00), Jenifer Hill (’01) have earned the M.F.A. in dance at various schools, such as New York University, Mills College, the University of North Carolina, Temple University, and the University of California at Irvine, and they continue to dance and choreograph professionally.

Chris Matsos (’00) is an Assistant Professor of Theatre and Director of Theatre Studies at the University of Findley.

Craig Dorer-Abadia (’00) worked at Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Opera Idaho, and Boise Contemporary Theatre before leaving the industry to take a position at Synteract, a mid-sized Contract Research Organizations the Associate Director of Program Strategy in Dermatology.

Jim Beaudry (’01) (MFA Mills College) served as Executive Director/Producer at Timber Lake Playhouse, the longest-running, professional summer theatre in Illinois, then returned to NYC where he serves as Company Manager for New York Stage and Film.

Sarah Hamilton (’01), since graduating from Wooster, has fulfilled her arts habit by working at 4myBenefits, which builds and maintains websites structured for corporate benefit enrollment. Her habit has included work with Theatre IV, Cincinnati Black Theatre Company, Cleveland Opera on tour, Cincinnati May Festival/Symphony/Pops (singing with the symphonic choir), and a number of other choirs and choruses.

Jack Pitney (‘01) has worked at the Massachusetts State House as a Legislative Aid, as a Locations PA for the Motion Picture Industry, and is a Location/Propmaker with IATSE 481.

Clayton Drinko (’02) received his MA from NYU and his PhD in Drama and Theatre Studies from Tufts University. Clayton published his book, Theatrical Improvisation, Consciousness, and Cognition and currently manages Play Your Way Sane.

Anne Medlock-Ely (’03) is an Associate Professor in Costume Design at West Texas A&M University in Amarillo, TX.

Katie Hammond (’03), a member of the actors equity, tours the country with musical improv group Broadway’s Next Hit Musical and is on a musical house team at The Pit in NYC. She co-wrote a musical, Season, that was produced in London summer 2013.

Rachel Kirley (’03) got an MA in Arts Administration, worked for the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra as their Director of Major Gifts, helping cultivate and solicit gifts from key supporters in the community, and now serves as the Director of Development at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

Aaron Schwartzbord (’03) pursued a career in theatre marketing and management, receiving an MFA in Performing Arts Management from Brooklyn College/CUNY. He’s held jobs with The Arca Group (Urinetown, Wicked), The Pearl Theatre Company, Daryl Roth Productions (August: Osage County, Kinky Boots), Seattle Repertory Theatre, and The New Victory Theatre. Currently he is Marketing Manager at Patron Technology in NY.

Kevin McFillen (’03) is a playwright and teacher based in Columbia, Missouri. Kevin completed an MA in Theatre at Miami University before beginning his PhD in Theatre at the University of Missouri. He now serves as a UMLD at the University.

Erin Koster (’04) completed her MFA in stage management at Columbia University and has worked with such companies as Epic Theatre Ensemble, The Public, New York Stage and Film, The Atlantic, Classic Stage, and Roundabout. She is also a member of Actor’s Equity and Caborca Theatre Company.

Corrine (Brush) Gosling (’04) is currently a Masters Candidate in Publishing at George Washington University. In September 2018 she published a children’s book entitled Sherlock and the Baskerville Beast.

Ada Smith (’05) received her MFA in Scenic Design from Boston University, worked with Glimmerglass Opera, and in NYC developed a career in Film as an Art Director and Production Designer.

Andrea Hiebler (’05) is the Literary and Artistic Coordinator at the Lark Play Development Center in New York where she leads the organization’s writer selection processes and facilitates artistic programming.

Kate Anderson-Hall (’05) received an MA in English at Case Western Reserve before completing a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia (UK) where she is currently a researcher, as well as at King’s College London.

Yining Lin (’06) completed her PhD from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and now serves as a Teaching Artist and Wraparound Services Assistant at Cleveland Playhouse.

Kristen Cooperkline (’07) earned her MA in American Culture Studies at Bowling Green State University and her MFA in Stage Management at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has worked as stage manager for Bebe Miller Company and an event coordinator for the first ever American College Dance Festival Association’s South Regional Conference. She now works at Otterbein University as Production Manager for the Department of Theatre and Dance.

Patrick Midgley (’07) (MFA Purdue University) spent several years as an actor with the American Shakespeare Center in Virginia before completing a PhD at Texas Tech University.

Kellee Roston Edusei (’07) is Dance USA Director of Member Services & Board Liaison

Stefanie Genda (’08), completed her MFA in Costume Design at Rutgers and now works as a Freelance Costume Designer out of New York.

George Myatt (’11) is currently the Project Coordinator at Charles Schwab in Austin, TX

Ben Pfister (’14) attended Yale School of Drama receiving an MFA in Stage Management. He is currently working in stage management throughout NYC.

Chelsea Gillespie (’14) is the Production Assistant for Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre in New York and tours internationally with Alvin Ailey II.

Kent Sprague (’14) worked as an Assistant Lighting Designer and Electrician for Florida Repertory Theatre before becoming a Freelance Designer in NYC.

Amadi Baye Washington (’14) is currently a swing in the immersive production of Sleep No More at The McKittrick Hotel in Manhattan.

Colin Martin (’15) went to Second City and completed levels 1 & 2 of conservatory training. Since then he has been doing comedic and dramatic improv in Chicago as well as working odd jobs to continue his passion for travel.

Emily Baird (’16) is a graduate student at Miami University, in dance kinesiology

Emily Donato (’16) is the Career Development Coordinator at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania, as well as a registered yoga instructor teaching anti-racist raja yoga.

Shannan Burrows (’17) currently works for High Output, a rental house for film, theatre, and event equipment/services based out of Boston.

Becca Snedeker-Meier (’17) is the Development Associate at Cleveland Playhouse.

Maria Witt (’17) is a certified Pilates trainer; graduate student, Walsh College, physical therapy for dancers,

Helen Rooker (’18) is the Master Electrician for Northern Stage in Vermont.

George Marn (’18) has been part of the Vocal Company at the College Light Opera in 2017 and 2018, a Young Artist at OLO in 2019, a Studio Artist at Opera in the Ozarks (2016) and currently performs in Three Brothers Theatre in Waukegan, IL. Starting in September 2019 he will be a teaching artist with Forte Theatre Company in Franklin, WI.

Nicole Heusner-Wilkinson (’19) is a dance instructor with Moving in the Spirit


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Prizes & Scholarships

Scholarships

Awarded to first-year students (transfers not eligible) on the basis of acting, directing, playwriting, design and technology, stage management, or dance. Students can receive $2,000 to $8,000 per year. Applicants should apply in the area in which they wish to focus their time and skills on while at Wooster. Scholarship recipients are not required to major or minor in Theatre and Dance at Wooster.

* Acting scholarship students are required to audition for the faculty-directed theatre productions each semester (though not required to be cast in the show).

2021-22 Audition Weekends
  • December 4, 2021 (available for November 15 deadline applicants only)
  • February 5, 2022

Learn more about Theatre & Dance Scholarships

Prizes

The Edward McCreight Prize in Dramatics is awarded to the senior in the department who has contributed the most in dramatics.

The Cummings-Rumbaugh Speech and Dramatics Prize is an award shared with the Department of Communication which honors the senior with the highest academic standing.

The William C. Craig Theatre Prize is awarded to the graduating senior who has made the greatest contribution to all areas of the theatre program.

Earline F. Brown Scholarship in Performing Arts is awarded in the Fall to a black student who has contributed significantly to the performing arts at Wooster.

Allardice-Wise Scholarship for Seniors (auditions will be held during the Spring semester of the junior year)

The Gladene “Deanie” Collins Endowed Scholarship is awarded to a student for their senior year, with first preference given to a student with financial need who is involved in The College of Wooster dance program.

Unique Opportunities

The Theatre and Dance Department offers renewable scholarships to first-year students who show promise in acting, directing, playwriting, design and technology, or dance. The department employs students in the scene and costume shops, and the box office. Summer opportunities include the chance to audition for Wooster’s resident summer professional company, The Ohio Light Opera. Wooster also offers theatre and dance students off-campus opportunities with the Great Lakes Colleges Arts Program in New York, internships with professional theaters, and study-abroad at renowned schools of drama.

The American College Theatre Festival

The American College Theatre Festival is a 5-day long opportunity for students and faculty from colleges and universities who are interested in theatre to share ideas and view one another’s work. In addition to performances and competitions, there are a wide range of activities that, in past, have included workshops and seminars on such topics as play writing, auditioning, voice, movement, stage combat, scenic painting, set design, and so on.

There are a total of eight regional festivals sponsored by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts which are held annually throughout the country during January and February. We are in Region III along with colleges and universities from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Wooster Students Excel at American College Theatre Festival Regional Competition
Before the 2016 spring semester had even started, Helen Rooker (’18), Maira Senoo (’18) and Charlene Gross converged on Milwaukee for the Kennedy Center American Theatre College Festival. Both students submitted work in Design, Technical & Management. All three participants kept busy during the conference attending workshops, performances and presenting work from The College of Wooster.

Charlene Gross presented a poster on the EL Wire designs from Kim Tritt’s dance piece, Luminescence on the design and technical aspects. She was also a respondent to the Regional Design Projects.

Helen Rooker was recognized as outstanding stage manager for her work as Production Stage Manager on Latins In La-La Land in Fall 2015. Because of her recognition, she was invited to submit her stage management book on the show for for the National KCACTF Stage Management Fellowship. She received excellent feedback from her judges during her presentation.

Maira Senoo presented her costume designs for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the Regional Design Projects alongside of other undergraduate and graduate students from Region 3 (Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan & Ohio). The project was first designed for Charlene Gross’s Costume Design class in Fall 2015. Maira also was given excellent verbal responses and will receive additional written feedback from multiple designers within the region.

Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition

Two Irene Ryan Scholarship participants are chosen for each mainstage production by and ACTF respondent who adjudicates the show on one of the performance nights. To accept a nomination means that the participant will attend the Festival in January and will complete all the requirements put forth in the Irene Ryan Contract.

At the Festival, participants will be required to perform a monologue and a scene or song for a panel of judges (consisting of directors from other colleges or universities). Winners from that round compete in semi-finals in front of the entire Festival. Finals are held the last night of the Festival and $2500 scholarships are granted to the two winning participants from each region. These two winners will then go to the Kennedy Center National Festival where they will perform in an evening of scenes in front of top professional actors, directors, producers, and casting agents.

Off campus study

Many of our students pursue a semester of off-campus study during the fall semester of their junior year. As a result students receive a more expansive perspective on the practical and intellectual applications of theatre and dance.

If you are planning to study off-campus, please consult with your adviser and the Office of Off-Campus Study. Together, they can help you identify programs and courses that match your interests and needs. Some of the programs that our students have pursued in London include the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and The Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Our students also have attended the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland.

Students in theatre and dance may also consider immersing themselves in New York City for a semester by participating in the NewYorkArts Program. Students in the program live in a Chelsea brownstone and work in the NYC professional creative community by pursuing an internship with a professional theatre/dance company in their field of interest. Internships have included working with professional lighting designers, choreographers and dance companies, acting schools, and casting agencies to mention a few of the possible opportunities.

 

Productions/Events

Theatre and dance is an art form which mirrors the human spirit through history, literature, criticism, theory, production, and performance.  The study of theatre and dance involves not only the development and practice of various expressive skills but also historical and theoretical issues. It can be studied in the classroom, the studio, on the stage, or behind the stage.

View upcoming events and learn more about The Arts at Wooster

Spring 2022

I.S. Productions
February 11 & 12, 2022
I and You by Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Brian Luck
Staged Reading by Annie Sheneman
Playwriting by Gabby Sullivan
Shoolroy Theatre
Box Office opens February 7, 2022

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark by Lynn Nottage
March 3, 4 & 5, 2022
Directed by Lisa Langford
Freedlander Theatere
Box Office Opens February 28, 2022

Spring Dance Concert
April 21, 22 & 23, 2022
Directed by Emily Baird
Freedlander Theatre
Box Office opens April 18, 2022

Past Performances

Far Away – Fall 2021
The Day the Music Came Back – Fall 2021
I.S. Production – Fall 2021
Fall Dance Concert – Fall 2021
Blind Date – Spring 2021
Spring Dance Concert- Spring 2021
Theatre of Urgency: Creative Responses to 2020 – Fall 2020
Fall Dance Concert – Fall 2020
Fall Dance Concert – Fall 2019
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Fall 2019
Spring Dance Concert – Spring 2019
The Normal Heart – Spring 2019
Senior I.S. Production – Spring 2019
Fall Dance Concert – Fall 2018
The Tempest – Fall 2018
Spring Dance Concert – Spring 2018
Eurydice – Spring 2018
Medea – Fall 2017
Fall Senior Weekend – Fall 2017
Spring Dance Concert – Spring 2017
Almost, Maine – Spring 2017
Senior I.S. Performance – Spring 2017
Fall Dance Concert – Fall 2016
The Crucible – Fall 2016
Sangreal: An Electronic Opera – Spring 2016
Festival of New Works – Spring 2016
Latins in La-La Land – Fall 2015
Spring Dance Concert – Spring 2015
Water by the Spoonful – Spring 2015
Senior I.S. Performance – Spring 2015
Fall Dance Concert – Fall 2014
Scapin – Fall 2014
Spring Dance Concert – Spring 2014
Senior I.S. Performances – Spring 2014
Fall Dance Concert – Fall 2013
The Golden Age – Fall 2013
Life is a Dream – Spring 2013
Equus – Fall 2012
Fall Dance Concert – 2012
Las Meninas – Spring 2012
Festival of New Plays – Spring 2012
The Glass Menagerie – Spring 2011
Spring Dance Concert – 2010
Songs for a New World – Spring 2010
Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off – Spring 2010
Comedy of Errors – Fall 2009
Fall Dance Concert– 2009
Fall Dance Concert – 2008
A Flea in Her Ear – Fall 2008
All My Sons – Spring 2006
Nocturne – Fall 2006
Getting Out – Spring 2005
Tartuffe – Fall 2004

Theatre Production Handbook