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.

Mark E. Hoffland, staff lecturer.
B.A., 1983, Augsburg College; M.F.A., 1990, Michigan State University. Appointed 2007.


The goal of Albion College's Department of Theatre 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 Department Website

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.

Majors and Minors

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-level or higher 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-level or higher 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.

Theatre Courses

111 Theatre Arts (1)
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 Not recommended for theatre majors and minors. Staff.

136 Dance Technique I (1/2)
A study of basic to intermediate dance technique and concepts relevant to ballet, jazz and modern dance forms. Staff.

187, 188, 189 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

209 Dramatic Analysis (1)
An introduction to dramatic and theatrical analysis, focusing on how a theatre text works both on the page and on the stage. Students discover "how a play means" by exploring different theoretical approaches and dramatic traditions and performing both dramatic and theatrical analyses. Staff.

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 Technology and Design (1)
Prerequisites: Theatre 111, 209 or permission of instructor.
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. Staff.

220 Costume Design and Prop Craft (1)
An introduction to aspects of costume and theatrical property design and artisanship including professional presentation skills, basic sewing, millinery (hat making), apparel and textiles terminology, painting and dying science, leatherwork, wig styling, and armor work. Includes costume lab work and hands-on design and construction projects. Staff.

236 Dance Technique II (1/2)
Prerequisites: Audition and permission of instructor.
A study of intermediate to advanced dance technique and concepts relevant to ballet, jazz and modern dance forms. Staff.

251 Acting I (1)
Prerequisites: Theatre 111, 209 or permission of instructor.
For the student with previous acting experience. Explores exercises, games and pantomimes to expand the physical, mental and emotional awareness used in acting. Includes script analysis and scene work. Starko.

260 Art of Dance (1)
A survey dance history course exploring the evolution of ballet, jazz, tap and modern dance forms through lecture, readings, video viewings, research and beginning-level dance technique. Major themes include the analysis of historical, choreographic and technical examples within four dance disciplines and a range in styles of dance presentation. Staff.

280 Historical Perspectives on Theatre: Ancient Greece to 1850 (1)
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. Staff.

281 Historical Perspectives on Theatre: 1850 to Present (1)
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. Staff.

285 Foundations of Musical Theatre (1)
Examines the growth and development of the musical, starting with the nineteenth-century influences, The Black Crook and subsequent evolutions. Examines the structure of the musical from its earliest iterations, the influence of operetta, Tin Pan Alley composers and the Golden Age, to the concept musical model prevalent today. Relates the development of the musical to changes in popular music, as indicative of changes in society, and considers the musical as an agent of social change. Staff.

287, 288, 289 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

311 Designing Scenery for the Theatre (1/2)
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. Staff.

312 Lighting and Sound Design for the Theatre (1/2)
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. Staff.

314 Stage Management (1/2)
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.

332 Albion Repertory Dance Company (1/2)
A touring dance ensemble that explores dance management, dance production, and dance performance and choreographic analysis. Requires audition and participation in fall and spring semester of one academic year. Staff.

350 Play Direction (1)
Prerequisites: Theatre 209, 211, and 251, or 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)
Prerequisite: Theatre 251 or permission of instructor.
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)
Prerequisite: Theatre 251 or permission of instructor.
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)
Prerequisite: Theatre 251 or permission of instructor.
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.

372 Postmodernism and Theatre (1)
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. Staff.

375 Shakespeare I (1)
Same as English 375. Staff.

376 Shakespeare II (1)
Same as English 376. Staff.

387, 388, 389 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

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

402 Seminar (1)
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)


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)
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
Acting, direction, assistant direction, production design. Staff.