Overview 

Are you a performer? Have you always wondered about what happens backstage during a production? As a theatre student, you’ll have the all-access pass to learn first-hand how costumes, make-up, set building, actors, directors, and music all come together to create incredible and meaningful moments on the stage.

Theatre has a very long history at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. From musicals to drama, comedy and original plays to unique interpretations of Shakespeare, students across campus have opportunities to engage in the arts through theatre. A Theatre minor can serve as a useful addition to a major such as music, music therapy, art, psychology, business, or education or other fields. This minor can be completed by campus and online students. It only requires 18 credit hours, which makes it easy to add to most majors.

As a theatre student, you’ll have access to the costume storage and make-up rooms in the historic Conservatory of Music, the Little Theater in Guerin Hall for one-act student productions or Drama Club events, the Green Room, and guidance from experienced staff and instructors. As a liberal arts institution, theatre opportunities at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College provide each student a unique means to access increased self-awareness, refined observational skills, and empathic interpretations of the human condition.

Minor

To complete the minor, the student must complete 18 credit hours including:

  • 12 credits of the required courses,
  • 3 credits (one English elective) and
  • 3 credits in performance and contribution to theatre productions (completed in conjunction with SMWC productions or productions in the student’s geographic area).

Required Courses

12 credit hours required: all courses listed.

TA 213 Introduction to Theatre
Campus | 3 Credits
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Course introduces the student to many facets of theatre: directing, acting, technical aspects, literature and history. Students also attend and critique a variety of plays. Fall, every year.

Campus 3 Credits
TA 151 Interpretative Reading and Reader’s Theatre
Campus | 3 Credits
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Campus 3 Credits
TA/EN 202 Introduction to Literature and Theatre
Campus | 3 Credits
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Introduces the creative and critical processes in literature. Using examples of poetry, fiction and drama, students learn methods of writing and reading critically about literature. Students also study the transition from page-to-stage that occurs in theatrical production, and the role of theatre in culture and society. Fulfills general studies requirement. Satisfies English Education requirement. Campus only. Spring, even years.

Campus 3 Credits
TA/EN 341 Age of Shakespeare
Campus | 3 Credits
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Study of the principal writers of the English Renaissance with special focus on the works of Shakespeare. Spring, odd years.

Campus 3 Credits

Electives

Choose one:

EN 212 Creative Writing
Campus | 3 Credits
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Introduces techniques in writing fiction, drama, poetry, and certain kinds of expository prose. Satisfies English Education, professional writing, and creative writing requirements.

Campus 3 Credits
EN 222 Literature and Myth
Campus | 3 Credits
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Study of literature from a variety of cultures and in a variety of forms with an emphasis on myths. Students explore the value of creative expression in a society to develop an appreciation of the process of creation and to foster personal principles for judging creative expression. Fulfills general studies requirement. Satisfies English Education major/ elective.

Campus 3 Credits
EN 229 British Literature I
Campus | 3 Credits
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This course will take a survey approach to British Literature from the beginnings to roughly 1660 with a focus on placing texts in their historical and cultural context. Texts will be chosen to represent a variety of authorial viewpoints in a variety of genres and forms: poetry, drama, short and long fiction (the novel), and essays. Students will analyze literary expression and evaluate works using various critical theories. Satisfies English Education requirement.

Campus 3 Credits
EN 232 American Literature
Campus | 3 Credits
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Surveys the major periods of American literary history focusing on the works of representative authors. Satisfies English major and English Education requirement.

Campus 3 Credits
EN 320 Advanced Studies in Poetry
Campus | 3 Credits
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This course offers further study of major poets and their historical and cultural connection to literature with emphasis on research. Spring, even years. Prerequisite: EN 211.

Campus 3 Credits
EN 353 Women Writers
Campus | 3 Credits
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Explores the works of women writers as perceptive recorders of the human experience through their art. Satisfies Women’s Studies minor requirements.

Campus 3 Credits
EN 420 Advanced Studies in Fiction
Campus | 3 Credits
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This course offers further study of major fiction writers and their historical and cultural connection to literature with emphasis on research. Fall, odd years. Prerequisite: EN 211 or consent of instructor.

Campus 3 Credits
EN 450 Modern World Literature
Campus | 3 Credits
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Studies fiction, poetry, and drama from Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America of significant writers to evaluate the relationship of place and author, the effect of political and social realities on the themes and styles of authors, to compare and contrast world authors with those from the United States.

Campus 3 Credits

Performance Requirement

Students are required to choose from the performance courses below, totaling at least 3 credit hours by the end of their academic tenure.

TA 150 Production and Performance
Campus | 1-2 Credit
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Weekly work in the theatre, learning and applying skills in a variety of areas – such as makeup, costuming, stage-craft and performance. Course may be taken more than once. Students must do 30 hours of work in a theatre for each credit taken. If the work is for a non-SMWC production WOL students only), an on-site theatre professional must agree to supervise and verify the student’s work hours. Course fee.

Campus 1-2 Credit
TA 323 Projects in Play Production
Campus | 1-2 Credit
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Credit may be earned for a substantial extracurricular contribution to a major production, such as: heading an important crew, designing a setting, lighting or costumes, or serving as assistant director or stage manager. Amount of credit may be earned only once in the same area. If the work is for a non-SMWC production (WOL students only), an on-site theatre professional must agree to supervise and verify the student’s work hours. Prerequisite: TA 150 or consent of instructor.

Campus 1-2 Credit

Information about Course Requirements
We do our best to keep this information updated, but you should always double-check to ensure you are meeting graduation requirements. For the most current course requirements please review the latest undergraduate college catalog.  Always consult your academic advisor when registering for courses or when you have questions about course requirements

Theatre Productions

Theatre productions have been a part of campus tradition for almost as long as the College itself. Each year there are two main-stage productions that take place on stage in the beautiful Cecilian Auditorium. Each fall is a straight play and in the spring, it alternates between a musical (even years) and Shakespeare (odd years).

In the past ten years, the Department of Music and Theatre have presented the following productions:

  • Fall 2007 –  Crimes of the Heart by Guest-Directed by ISU Professor
  • Spring 2008 – Quilters by Directed by SMWC Theatre Director and Professor Sharon Ammen, Ph.D. and Musical Director Sister Sue Pietrus, M.Ed. Costumes by Jessica Becker
  • Fall 2008 – I Sleep, but My Heart Watches Written and Directed by SMWC Theatre Director and Professor Sharon Ammen, Ph.D. Costumes by Jessica Becker
  • Spring 2009 – The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie adapted from Muriel Spark’s novel by Jay Presson Allen Costumes by Jessica Becker
  • Fall 2009 – Life Choices, A collection of One-Acts featuring Drama students and Guest Director Brandon Wentz, MFA Costumes by Jessica Becker
  • Spring 2010 – Urinetown, the Musical by Directed by SMWC Theatre Director and Professor Sharon Ammen, Ph.D. Featuring Guest Artists Professional Actor Brandon Wentz and Comedian Ryan Niemiller Costumes by Jessica Becker
  • Fall 2010 – The House of Bernarda Alba by Frederico Garcia with Guest Choreographer, SMWC Alum and UK Equity Actor Betsy Bear ‘09, MA Costumes by Jessica Becker
  • Spring 2011 – William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale Directed by SMWC Theatre Director and Professor Sharon Ammen, Ph.D. Featuring Professional Actor Brandon Wentz, MFA and Professional Playwright Jonathan Gollembecki Costumes by Jessica Becker
  • Fall 2011 – Little Women adapted from Louisa May Alcott’s novel by Scott Davidson Guest-Directed by SMWC Alum Danielle O’Connor ’11 Costumes by Jessica Becker
  • Spring 2012 – The Sound of Music by Rodgers and Hammerstein Directed by SMWC Theatre Director and Professor Sharon Ammen, Ph.D. Featuring Professional Actor Brandon Wentz, MFA
  • Fall 2012 – The Art of Dining by Tina Howe Guest-Directed by Professional Director Brandon Wentz, MFA
  • Spring 2013 – William Shakespeare’s The Tempest Directed by SMWC Theatre Director and Professor Sharon Ammen, Ph.D. with Guest Artist and Professional Actor Brandon Wentz, MFA
  • Fall 2013 – Original play Murder at St. Mary’s written for The Woods by Second City alum Amy Roeder. Guest-Directed by Professional Director Brandon Wentz, MFA
  • Spring 2014 – Nunsense by Dan Goggin Directed by SMWC Alum and Theatre Director Danielle O’Connor ’11 Musical Direction by Professional Musician David Gibbs
  • Fall 2014 – Original play The Lady Victory by Ann Folino White; adapted from the book by Jane Vincent Taylor with original music by Emily Nott. Directed by SMWC Alum and Theatre Director Danielle O’Connor ‘11
*The playwright and original cast members came to The Woods for a pre-show discussion with the audience and a reception following the matinee.
  • Spring 2015 – William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew Directed by SMWC Alum and Theatre Director Danielle O’Connor ’11 Staging by Professional Actor and Director Brandon Wentz, MFA