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Courses | B.A. in Theatre

Below are some of the courses you'll have an opportunity to take as a student in this program. Take a look at the list below to get an idea of the types of available courses. Also, be sure to review core curriculum requirements and the official program requirements in the Biola University catalog.

Note: This list is intended to give you a quick glimpse into the program's academic offerings, and should not be used as a guide for course selection or academic advising.

Concentration Required Courses

This course will look at the history and development of Western theatre and dramatic literature from the Greeks through the 18th century. Readings and lectures will focus on the elements of theatrical practice; artists and innovators of theatre throughout history; and on the theatre's development as an art form and a social phenomenon. During the course students will study major plays and the relation of these plays to their historical eras. Grade Mode: A.

Explorations in the basic elements and terminology that define theatre. Special attention given to such topics as: safety, props, two- and three-dimensional scenery and their materials, and scene painting. Grade Mode: A. 

This course offers a beginning study of the principles of contemporary acting techniques. Students will evaluate and demonstrate the acting theories of the Stanislavsky system of acting, as assessed by the 20th century American acting leaders, Uta Hagen and Stella Adler. Grade Mode: A.

This course will familiarize students with the social, political, and aesthetic progress of the art of theatre. This will include a study of performance styles and techniques, dramatic theory and literature, and theatre architecture and scenography. It will broaden students’ knowledge of historical Western and non-Western plays, and explore more fully the connections between research and production. Grade Mode: A.

Textual Analysis introduces students to the principles, methods, and procedures for analyzing written dramatic texts intended for production on both stage and screen. Students will be required to identify various elements of story structure within a script in order to deconstruct the text and assess intended meaning and purpose. Students will explain how the elements of structure relate to one another in service to a specific artistic production outcome. Primary focus for the course is placed on analysis of dramatic texts for the purpose of character insight and production interpretation. Grade Mode: A. 


Electives

For students prepared to gain practical experience. Usually off campus in a work situation. Notes: May be taken for a total of 6 credits. Grade Mode: A.

Grade assignments and/or exams, learning how to use rubrics and to apply communication pedagogy in comments and marks. Proctor exams and assist with teaching, research, and administrative duties as needed. Notes: May be taken multiple times with different content. Special approval required; contact the Communication Studies Office for details. Grade Mode: A.

Various aspects and problems in the fields of communication. Notes: May be taken multiple times with different course content. Grade Mode: A.
The study and performance of major operas and selected Broadway musicals. Notes: Open to all students by audition. Students may only register for Opera Theatre for zero credits if they are already at 18 credits of required courses for the semester. Grade Mode: A.

Selected topics vary, see class schedule for current offerings. Possible topics include: improvisation, musical theatre, dance, and stage management.

Selected topics vary, see class schedule for current offerings. Possible topics include: stage management, scene work, theatre history. Grade Mode: A.

Creation of original material for solo or corporate dramatic performance. Workshop for the presentation of created original materials for stage. Grade Mode: A.

Theatre-based tour of London, England, exploring Shakespeare's birthplace, theatrical venues, and acting workshops. Notes: Tour requires purchase of tour package to London, England and additional fees for Biola University credit. Project required for submission following return from London. Grade Mode: A.


General Education Courses

This course develops student understanding of rhetoric as the foundation to all effective communication. Based on a communication model that recognizes the rhetorical situation as a determining factor in all communication decisions, the course provides students with instruction on gathering, organizing, and presenting information appropriate for the audience, context, and purpose of the communication event. Students will understand their role as both communicator/audience and will be asked to deliver/critique oral and written products to demonstrate their development of rhetorical skills. Notes: Approved for Core Curriculum credit. Students should take this course in the second semester of their Freshman or the first semester of their Sophomore year at Biola. Ideally, a student would have had a COMM 100 (public speaking) or other fundamentals of communication course as part of their high school curriculum. If students have already fulfilled the COMM GE requirement, then COMM 200 may be taken as an option for a lower division COMM elective. Grade Mode: A.

Comparison of fictional and dramatic texts with their cinematic adaptations. Notes: Approved for Core Curriculum Literature credit. Grade Mode: A.

An introduction to the problems, methods and concepts of philosophy with an emphasis on the issues and theories of aesthetics. Notes: Approved for Core Curriculum Philosophy credit. Grade Mode: A.
A survey of psychology as an empirical/behavioral science with a consideration of underlying philosophical bases in light of a Christian worldview. Topics to be surveyed include development, cognition, learning, motivation, physiology, socialization, personality and psychopathology. Notes: Approved for Core Curriculum Behavioral Science credit. Grade Mode: A.

Appreciation of drama through an understanding of the components, terms, personnel, history, styles, and techniques of theatre. Notes: Approved for Core Curriculum Fine Arts credit. Attendance at selected plays is required. Grade Mode: A.


Concentrations

Acting for Stage and Screen

Creating historians via a survey of the development of the motion picture including the evolution of motion pictures as an art form, classic Hollywood narrative structure, technological developments, communication medium, and industry. Films screened in the course will be analyzed from perspectives of auteur theory, genre theory and thematic criticism. Special emphasis will be given to cultural criticism locating films in their unique time and place. Grade Mode: A.

The production lab is a widely used model in university theatre programs. The course is designed to broaden student production experience by providing responsibilities that one cannot gain a full familiarity with in the classroom. The emphasis is placed on doing, “hiring” students in positions that are typical of a producing theatre company. As members of the production team for the Theatre 21 fall or spring production, students will utilize skills in collaboration and organization. Multiple positions are available, with priority for the supervisory roles given to the upper division enrollees. Grade Mode: A.

Intensive training in the correct use of voice and articulation for the actor. Special attention paid to developing skills for vocal and physical relaxation, projection, and anatomical uses of the voice. Grade Mode: A.

The production lab is a widely used model in university theatre programs. The course is designed to broaden student production experience by providing responsibilities that one cannot gain a full familiarity with in the classroom. The emphasis is placed on doing, “hiring” students in positions that are typical of a producing theatre company. As members of the production team for the Theatre 21 fall or spring production, students will utilize skills in collaboration and organization. Multiple positions are available, with priority for the supervisory roles given to the upper division enrollees. Grade Mode: A.

This course offers a beginning study of the principles of contemporary acting techniques. Students will evaluate and demonstrate the acting theories of the Stanislavsky system of acting, as assessed by the 20th century American acting leaders, Uta Hagen and Stella Adler. Grade Mode: A.

The production lab is a widely used model in university theatre programs. The course is designed to broaden student production experience by providing responsibilities that one cannot gain a full familiarity with in the classroom. The emphasis is placed on doing, “hiring” students in positions that are typical of a producing theatre company. As members of the production team for the Theatre 21 fall or spring production, students will utilize skills in collaboration and organization. Multiple positions are available, with priority for the supervisory roles given to the upper division enrollees. Grade Mode: A. 

This course will familiarize students with the social, political, and aesthetic progress of the art of theatre. This will include a study of performance styles and techniques, dramatic theory and literature, and theatre architecture and scenography. It will broaden students’ knowledge of historical Western and non-Western plays, and explore more fully the connections between research and production. Grade Mode: A.

The study of stage movement for the performer, delivered in a hybrid of seminar and lab format. Discussion groups focus on texts exploring the integration of faith and art, which will be used within the context of movement performance. The lab portion introduces students to the theories and practices of performing arts movement specialists, including the likes of Lugering, Laban, Chekhov, and Suzuki. Students who complete the course will be able to demonstrate modes of physical expression that a well-trained actor can call upon in telling a story through performance. Grade Mode: A.

This course features in-depth study and practice of acting skills with increased emphasis on the application of the principles and the theories of creative acting, as assessed by the 20th century American acting leaders, Lee Strasberg and Eric Morris. Grade Mode: A.

The production lab is a widely used model in university theatre programs. The course is designed to broaden student production experience by providing responsibilities that one cannot gain a full familiarity with in the classroom. The emphasis is placed on doing, “hiring” students in positions that are typical of a producing theatre company. As members of the production team for the Theatre 21 fall or spring production, students will utilize skills in collaboration and organization. Multiple positions are available, with priority for the supervisory roles given to the upper division enrollees. Grade Mode: A. 

Screen Acting II is designed to build upon the techniques established in Screen Acting I. Students will be introduced to specialized and advanced techniques of on-camera performance through applied scene work in various television and film genres including: historical work, commercials, industrials, new media, green screen, and performance capture. There is increased focus on the technical demands of these more specialized areas of screen production. Grade Mode: A.

Further in-depth study of characterization, script analysis, and various styles of acting. Topics may vary. Grade Mode: A.

Production

Beginning directed practical experience in dramatic production. Credit for performing in a play, set construction, costume construction, publicity, or other aspects of the theatrical process. Grade Mode: A.

Production Practicum is a widely used model in university theatre programs. The course is designed to broaden student production experience by providing responsibilities that one cannot gain a full familiarity with in the classroom. The emphasis is placed on doing, “hiring” students in positions that are typical of a producing theatre company. As members of the production team for the theatre program main stage and second stage fall or spring productions, students will utilize skills in collaboration and organization. Multiple positions are available, with priority for the supervisory roles given to the upper-division students.

This course offers a beginning study of the principles of contemporary acting techniques. Students will evaluate and demonstrate the acting theories of the Stanislavsky system of acting, as assessed by the 20th century American acting leaders, Uta Hagen and Stella Adler. Grade Mode: A.

Production Practicum is a widely used model in university theatre programs. The course is designed to broaden student production experience by providing responsibilities that one cannot gain a full familiarity with in the classroom. The emphasis is placed on doing, “hiring” students in positions that are typical of a producing theatre company. As members of the production team for the theatre program main stage and second stage fall or spring productions, students will utilize skills in collaboration and organization. Multiple positions are available, with priority for the supervisory roles given to the upper division students.

This course features in-depth study and practice of acting skills with increased emphasis on the application of the principles and the theories of creative acting, as assessed by the 20th century American acting leaders, Lee Strasberg and Eric Morris. Grade Mode: A.

Exploration of the art and craft of directing for the theatre. Topics covered: storytelling, instincts, staging, picturization, dramatic tension, style, meaning, examining, text, groundplans, auditioning, working with actors and other relevant issues facing the director. Notes: Attendance at selected plays is required. Grade Mode: A.

Survey of prominent dramatic theories (e.g. Aristotle's Poetics, dramatic theory of story structure, contemporary theatre theory, etc.). Elements of dramaturgy will also be introduced. Grade Mode: A.

Advanced practical experience in dramatic process. Credit for performing in a play, set construction, costume construction, publicity, or other aspects of theatrical process. Notes: Special approval required. May be taken twice for a total of 4 credits. Grade Mode: A.

Introduction to the mechanics and creativity of drama in the church, as well as issues facing the Christian drama coordinator or director. Class members are involved in class performances. This course explores the potential and practical experiences for use of drama in church and parachurch settings, providing insights for participants and leaders in drama ministry. Grade Mode: A.

Theatre Design & Technology

Beginning directed practical experience in dramatic production. Credit for performing in a play, set construction, costume construction, publicity, or other aspects of the theatrical process. Grade Mode: A.

Production Practicum is a widely used model in university theatre programs. The course is designed to broaden student production experience by providing responsibilities that one cannot gain a full familiarity with in the classroom. The emphasis is placed on doing, “hiring” students in positions that are typical of a producing theatre company. As members of the production team for the theatre program main stage and second stage fall or spring productions, students will utilize skills in collaboration and organization. Multiple positions are available, with priority for the supervisory roles given to the upper-division students.

Makeup requirements for the stage. Individual skill development in character analysis. Application in pigment, plastic, hair, makeup, and selection and use of makeup equipment. Grade Mode: A.

Design fundamentals, including costume history, research, play analysis, fabric selection, construction basics and hypothetical design projects. Grade Mode: A.

Production Practicum is a widely used model in university theatre programs. The course is designed to broaden student production experience by providing responsibilities that one cannot gain a full familiarity with in the classroom. The emphasis is placed on doing, “hiring” students in positions that are typical of a producing theatre company. As members of the production team for the theatre program main stage and second stage fall or spring productions, students will utilize skills in collaboration and organization. Multiple positions are available, with priority for the supervisory roles given to the upper division students.

Study of lighting and sound variables in a stage production. Student projects include light and sound choices for a particular production. Grade Mode: A.

Exploration of the art and craft of directing for the theatre. Topics covered: storytelling, instincts, staging, picturization, dramatic tension, style, meaning, examining, text, groundplans, auditioning, working with actors and other relevant issues facing the director. Notes: Attendance at selected plays is required. Grade Mode: A.

Survey of prominent dramatic theories (e.g. Aristotle's Poetics, dramatic theory of story structure, contemporary theatre theory, etc.). Elements of dramaturgy will also be introduced. Grade Mode: A.

Advanced practical experience in dramatic process. Credit for performing in a play, set construction, costume construction, publicity, or other aspects of theatrical process. Notes: Special approval required. May be taken twice for a total of 4 credits. Grade Mode: A.

Scene design, including script analysis, formation of visual concepts, floor plan development and model building for the stage. Practical training in theatrical production written critiques/reviews. Grade Mode: A.

Musical Theatre

Encompasses a wide variety of chamber grouping and chamber music literature. The following ensemble combinations are commonly organized under this heading: brass quintet, woodwind quintet, flute ensemble, string quartet, percussion ensemble, piano chamber ensembles, small vocal ensembles, and worship bands. Notes: Open to vocal, keyboard and other instrumental students by audition. Piano accompanying is graded on a credit/no-credit basis. Approved for Core Curriculum Fine Arts credit. Grade Mode: A, C.

Applied instruction in composition, piano, organ, harpsichord, voice, brass instruments, string instruments, woodwind instruments, percussion instruments, conducting, and improvisation. Notes: May be taken an unlimited amount of times. Non-music majors are welcome to take applied lessons, see Conservatory for approval. Grade Mode: A. 

Sight-singing diatonic melodies, major and minor scales and triads using moveable tonic solfege. Transcribing basic diatonic melodies, cadences and progressions. Reading, performing and transcribing rhythmic patterns in simple, compound and irregular meters. Notes: Students may test into an accelerated section of this course. Grade Mode: A.
The study of the following music fundamentals: elementary acoustics, keyboard layout, intervals, scales, key signatures, triads, figured bass, diatonic voice-leading, cadences, elementary harmonic progressions, meter, rhythm, time signatures and staff notation. Grade Mode: A.

Applied instruction in composition, piano, organ, harpsichord, voice, brass instruments, string instruments, woodwind instruments, percussion instruments, conducting, and improvisation. Notes: May be taken an unlimited number of times. Non-music majors are welcome to take applied lessons, see Conservatory for approval. Grade Mode: A. 

The production lab is a widely used model in university theatre programs. The course is designed to broaden student production experience by providing responsibilities that one cannot gain a full familiarity with in the classroom. The emphasis is placed on doing, “hiring” students in positions that are typical of a producing theatre company. As members of the production team for the Theatre 21 fall or spring production, students will utilize skills in collaboration and organization. Multiple positions are available, with priority for the supervisory roles given to the upper division enrollees. Grade Mode: A.

Intensive training in the correct use of voice and articulation for the actor. Special attention paid to developing skills for vocal and physical relaxation, projection, and anatomical uses of the voice. Grade Mode: A.

The production lab is a widely used model in university theatre programs. The course is designed to broaden student production experience by providing responsibilities that one cannot gain a full familiarity with in the classroom. The emphasis is placed on doing, “hiring” students in positions that are typical of a producing theatre company. As members of the production team for the Theatre 21 fall or spring production, students will utilize skills in collaboration and organization. Multiple positions are available, with priority for the supervisory roles given to the upper division enrollees. Grade Mode: A.

This course offers a beginning study of the principles of contemporary acting techniques. Students will evaluate and demonstrate the acting theories of the Stanislavsky system of acting, as assessed by the 20th century American acting leaders, Uta Hagen and Stella Adler. Grade Mode: A.

The production lab is a widely used model in university theatre programs. The course is designed to broaden student production experience by providing responsibilities that one cannot gain a full familiarity with in the classroom. The emphasis is placed on doing, “hiring” students in positions that are typical of a producing theatre company. As members of the production team for the Theatre 21 fall or spring production, students will utilize skills in collaboration and organization. Multiple positions are available, with priority for the supervisory roles given to the upper division enrollees. Grade Mode: A. 

This class is part practical and part academic survey of some of the major choreographers who have contributed to the Musical Theatre cannon. From the academic perspective, students will be required to review and research different choreographers and choreography and comment on how their innovation led to changes in musical theatre as we know it. The goal of this class is that the students will be able to understand, appreciate and invest in the future of the theatre by examining the past and how choreography has developed as a result of a practitioner’s vision and application. From a practical perspective, the students must participate in the choreography to help strengthen their own skill and physically understand the creative process that went into creating some of the best choreographic pieces ever conceived.

The study of stage movement for the performer, delivered in a hybrid of seminar and lab format. Discussion groups focus on texts exploring the integration of faith and art, which will be used within the context of movement performance. The lab portion introduces students to the theories and practices of performing arts movement specialists, including the likes of Lugering, Laban, Chekhov, and Suzuki. Students who complete the course will be able to demonstrate modes of physical expression that a well-trained actor can call upon in telling a story through performance. Grade Mode: A.

This course features in-depth study and practice of acting skills with increased emphasis on the application of the principles and the theories of creative acting, as assessed by the 20th century American acting leaders, Lee Strasberg and Eric Morris. Grade Mode: A.

The production lab is a widely used model in university theatre programs. The course is designed to broaden student production experience by providing responsibilities that one cannot gain a full familiarity with in the classroom. The emphasis is placed on doing, “hiring” students in positions that are typical of a producing theatre company. As members of the production team for the Theatre 21 fall or spring production, students will utilize skills in collaboration and organization. Multiple positions are available, with priority for the supervisory roles given to the upper division enrollees. Grade Mode: A. 

Further in-depth study of characterization, script analysis, and various styles of acting. Topics may vary. Grade Mode: A.

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