Theatre and Dance


Robert J. Starko, chair and assistant professor.
B.A., 1974, State University of New York at Oneonta; M.F.A., 1991, Illinois State University. Appointed 1999.

Jennifer J. Chapman, assistant professor.
B.A., 1995, San Francisco State University; M.A., 1998, Ph.D., 2005, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Appointed 2003.

Daniel C. Walker, visiting assistant professor.
B.A., 1984, Washington University, St. Louis; M.F.A., 1987, University of Texas, Austin. Appointed 2003.

Royal A. Ward, professor, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty.
B.A., 1968, MacMurray College; M.A., 1969, University of Illinois; Ph.D., 1984, University of Michigan. Appointed 1979.


The goal of Albion College's Department of Theatre and Dance is to provide the College community with examples of the best theatre and dance from our cultural heritage and from contemporary life. We value the effectiveness of theatre and dance to explore issues of human consequence and to offer to the student, as performer, designer, technician and audience, the opportunity for self-affirmation and self-actualization. The curriculum, therefore, balances a sequence of literature and history courses with the traditional theatre process courses in performance and production as well as dance technique and choreography. Students develop simultaneously their analytical and research skills with their imaginative and creative skills. In the classroom, in the laboratory and in performance, students acquire the knowledge and experiences essential to becoming a gifted theatre artist and an informed audience member.

Participation in theatre and dance productions is open to all students enrolled at the College. Our productions have, on-stage and back-stage, a diverse mix of collaborators from all disciplines. Theatre majors are expected to complement their course work with active participation in the department's programs. Four major theatre productions, two student productions and one dance performance yearly provide the opportunity to gain a thorough knowledge of all facets of theatre production. Majors are expected to participate in all assessment objectives as outlined by the department.

Theatre and Dance Department Web site

Career Opportunities

Professions open to graduates of the department include theatre and dance performance, production design, arts management, teaching at all levels, arts criticism and arts advocacy. Many of our majors pursue graduate study in the specialized fields of performance, directing, design, theatre history and literature and criticism.

Special Features

Juniors and seniors have the opportunity to participate in semester apprenticeships and internships in theatre through the GLCA New York Arts Program and in international opportunities which focus on literary, cultural and artistic experiences. Dance frequently brings in guest artists of regional and national reputation in order to broaden the exposure of the students to different styles. The theatre program at Albion has close ties with the regionally-based Purple Rose Theatre Company and Performance Network. It also sponsors the Kurtz Theatre Enrichment Series which brings outstanding theatre scholars and practitioners to the campus. The department is very active in the American College Theatre Festival, sending a number of students to the annual conference each year.

Requirements for Major in Theatre

  • A minimum of 10 units in theatre, including: 209, 211, 251, 280, 281, and four 1/4-unit practica (175, 176), and four units of electives chosen from 208, 210, 260 or any 300 or higher level course.
  • A total of two cognate courses must be completed for a major in theatre: one course in English (English 261, 349, 374, 375, 376) and one course in music or art (Art History 111 or 112 or Music 111).
  • All courses for the major must be taken for a numerical grade.
  • Theatre majors are required to participate in at least one of the major productions each semester. The nature of the participation will be agreed upon by the student and theatre faculty.
  • Theatre majors must attend at least 75 percent of the departmental American College Theatre Festival responses and the departmental post-production meetings each year. Additionally, majors are required to participate in the departmental comprehensive examination.
  • Theatre majors are expected to serve as an assistant stage manager for a production and to have a major creative role in a production such as directing, designing, acting in a major role, stage managing, or serving as technical director for a major production.

Requirements for Minor in Theatre

  • Six units in theatre, including: 111 or 209; 211, 251, 280, 281 and one elective chosen from 208, 210, 260 or any 300 or higher level course, or four 1/4-unit practica (175, 176).
  • All courses for the minor must be taken for a numerical grade.
  • Theatre minors are expected to participate in at least one of the productions each semester.

Requirements for Minor in Dance

  • Five units in dance, including: Theatre 260 (1 unit); 134 (1/4 unit), 185 (1/4 unit), 186 (1/4 unit) and one additional 1/4 unit selected from 187, 188; 189 (1/4 unit, taken twice), 208 (1/2 unit); 331 (1/2 unit); and a minimum of one and one-half units selected from 401, 402, 411 or 412.
  • The directed study units (411, 412) must be completed in consultation with Melissa Wyss, director of the dance program.

Dance Activity Courses

A maximum of four activity courses (100 level, 1/4 unit) in theatre (dance) or in physical education may be used toward completing the 32 units required for graduation.

133 Dance Conditioning or Dance Conditioning through Dance Methodology (1/4) Fall

134 Ballet (1/4) Fall, Spring
A study of basic body positions and motions in ballet. The fundamental ballet exercises are taught at the barre, followed by center practice and combinations of dance steps. Staff.

184 Basic Dance Repertory (1/4) Spring
Students learn and rehearse dance routines each class period in preparation for spring performance. Staff.

185 Ballroom and Folkdance (1/4) Fall, Spring
Includes the tango, waltz, foxtrot, jitterbug, Charleston, polka, cha-cha, Mambo, Eastern Swing, contra dances, English country dances and others as time permits. No previous dance experience is necessary. Staff.

186 Dance Techniques: Modern Creative (1/4) Fall, Spring
Presents basic dance concepts and techniques drawn from modern forms within the framework of dance as a performing art. Exposes students to improvisation and simple composition problems, choreographers and performers. Staff.

187 Advanced Modern Dance (1/4) Spring
Offered as interest demands. Staff.

188 Advanced Ballroom and Folkdance (1/4) Fall
Prerequisite: Theatre 185 or permission of instructor.
Improves skill level in partner and group dances from Theatre 185 and presents new combinations and dances not covered in the beginning class. Staff.


111 Theatre Arts (1) Fall, Spring
A study of the nature and foundation of theatre as a unique art form. The course explores the elements which make up dramatic production, the theatre's historical development and how the theatre relates to contemporary life. Staff.

151 Basic Acting (1) Fall
An introduction to methods and techniques of acting for the student with limited previous acting experience. Students explore exercises and games to expand physical, mental and emotional awareness used in acting. Includes script analysis and scene work. Staff.

208 Dance Repertory (1/2) Spring
Students learn and rehearse dance routines each class period in preparation for a spring performance. Choreography is based on well-known works as well as original choreography, representing a variety of dance styles. Students help with every aspect of the performance including the dance, costumes, lighting, music, set, programs and publicity. They create and teach original choreography as time and ability allow. Staff.

209 Survey of Dramatic Literature (1) Fall
A survey of western dramatic literature from the ancient Greeks to the late 20th century. Emphasizes the analysis of texts from the point of view of contemporary performance, while noting their historical context. Chapman.

210 Women in the American Theatre (1)
An examination of the contributions of women in all aspects of the American Theatre; a study of the images of women as portrayed in American drama; an introduction to feminist theory and criticism as it relates to theatre and drama. Staff.

211 Introduction to Theatrical Design and Technology (1) Spring
An introduction to the technical skills used in theatre (scenic construction and painting, costume construction, lighting and sound technology), and the basic principles of scenic, costume, lighting and sound design. Walker.

251 Acting I (1) Spring
An introduction to acting for the student with previous acting experience. Students explore exercises, games and pantomimes to expand physical, mental and emotional awareness used in acting. Includes script analysis and scene work. Starko.

260 The Art of Dance: An Overview of Five Dance Forms (1) Fall
Explores the art forms of five different types of dance (modern, ballet, folk, ballroom and African dance's influence on jazz and tap) through use of video, readings, discussion and active participation. Studio sessions are geared to beginners. Everyone should be able to participate equally; students will not be graded on previously acquired dance skills. Staff.

280 Historical Perspectives on Theatre: Ancient Greece to 1850 (1) Spring
An examination of the major periods of theatre history, theatre architecture and conventions, and dramatic literature from fifth century B.C. Greece to mid-nineteenth-century Europe. Offered periodically. Chapman.

281 Historical Perspectives on Theatre: 1850 to Present (1) Fall
The second of two classes in the theatre history sequence. An examination of dramatic styles, literature, theory and criticism, and movements primarily of the twentieth century. Offered periodically. Chapman.

288, 289 Selected Topics (1/2, 1) Fall, Spring
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
An examination of a special topic which is not included in the regular curriculum. These courses are offered to meet the evolving needs and interests of students. Staff.

311 Designing Scenery for the Theatre (1/2) Fall
Prerequisites: Theatre 211 and permission of instructor.
A theoretical and practical course in designing scenery for the theatre. Students design projects in realistic and non-realistic production styles and in various media. Offered periodically. Walker.

312 Lighting and Sound Design for the Theatre (1/2) Fall
Prerequisites: Theatre 211 and permission of instructor.
The theory and practice of designing lighting and sound for the theatre. Students produce projects as well as have the opportunity for hands-on experience in both lighting and sound. Offered periodically. Walker.

314 Stage Management (1/2) Fall
Covers the mechanics and methods of theatrical stage management/production management, including running rehearsals and performances, and the rules of the Actors’ Equity Association. Presents the basics of production stage management such as scheduling and budgeting. Offered periodically. Staff.

330 Methods and Materials in Dance Education (1/2) Spring
A survey of all types of dance including modern, folk, square, social, ballet, tap and character dancing. Offered as interest demands. Staff.

331 Dance Composition and Movement Exploration (1/2) Fall
Students choreograph dances for the spring performance. Staff.

350 Play Direction (1) Fall
Prerequisites: Theatre 251 and permission of instructor.
An examination of the role of the director in the theatre, with emphasis on the relationship between the director and the actor and the technical problems which arise in rehearsal and performance. Starko.

361 Vocal Technique and Movement (1) Fall
An advanced acting course designed to give students greater control over their vocal and physical expression. The course includes individual assessment of strengths and weaknesses coupled with exercises to broaden individual students' abilities. In addition, students will prepare monologues for future auditions. Starko.

365 Interpreting Shakespeare for the Actor (1/2) Spring
An advanced acting course that examines the textual clues inherent in the Folio versions of Shakespeare's texts, discovering how they help to illuminate the actor's role. It will also focus on the vocal and physical aspects of performing Shakespeare, while placing the shows in proper historical and critical perspective. Starko.

366 Acting Styles (1/2) Spring
The study of a particular style of acting associated with a specific period or playwright. Involves textual analysis of the playwright or plays of the period as well as specific vocal and physical techniques associated with those works. Topics may include but are not limited to: The Restoration, Brecht, Ancient Greece and Shaw. The topics will vary based on departmental needs and student interest. Course may be repeated once for credit for a total of one full unit. Starko.

371 Feminist Theatre (1) Spring
Surveys various expressions of feminist theatre from several locales (Latin America, Europe, Britain) that have appeared since 1960. The first half of the semester traces an evolution of a feminist theatre "movement" by examining several succeeding forms of feminism and their influences on theatre practices. The second half of the semester covers related issues through appropriate plays and production practices, and theatre criticism. Chapman.

372 Postmodernism and Theatre (1) Spring
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.
Explores postmodernism, in all of its various manifestations, and what it means in the context of "theatre" and, more generally, "performance." Focuses on the multiple meanings of "identity" within the postmodern movement, and examines how theatre and other performance forms (dance, music, television, film) embrace hybridity and multiplicity around issues of identity. Also examines theoretical texts that attempt to explain or define postmodernism and applies those ideas to works studied. Investigates how postmodernism is both a break from and a continuation of the ideas of the previous era. Chapman.

374 Theatre, Youth and Global Society (1) Spring
An examination of the role of theatre as an agent of social change in the lives of young people, and the impact of global politics on theatre for and by youth. Explores three theatrical forms--drama-in-education, theatre-in-education, and theatre for young audiences--and explores their applications in the United States and abroad. Chapman.

375 Shakespeare I (1) Fall
Same as English 375. Crupi.

376 Shakespeare II (1) Spring
Same as English 376. Crupi.

388, 389 Selected Topics (1/2, 1) Fall, Spring
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
An examination of a special topic which is not included in the regular curriculum. These courses are offered to meet the evolving needs and interests of students. Staff.

391, 392 Internship (1/2, 1) Fall, Spring
Offered on a credit no credit basis. Staff.

402 Seminar (1) Fall, Spring
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.
Detailed study of significant and relevant problems in theatre. Specific topic for consideration each year will be determined before fall registration. Staff.

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2, 1) Fall, Spring


A practical experience in department-sponsored activities. Students may repeat the course up to four times in any combination for a total of one unit. Offered either semester on a credit/no credit basis.

175, 176 Theatre (1/4, 1/2) Fall, Spring
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
Acting, direction, assistant direction, production design. Staff.