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School of Theatre and Dance

The School of Theatre and Dance provides students with liberal and professional education preparing them for careers in the performing arts as artists, scholars and educators. The school’s production season serves as the primary laboratory for the development of student artistic expression and technique. As performing arts, theatre and dance reflect and communicate cultural values and identities intrinsic to human existence. As such, the study of theatre and dance is central to the humanities curriculum.

To achieve these objectives, the School of Theatre and Dance offers comprehensive programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts (theatre), Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance (performance and dance education), Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre (design and technology and musical theatre), Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees. The MA and MFA programs are described in the Graduate Schools Catalog. Minors also are offered in theatre and in dance. These programs are designed to provide basic and advanced training for teachers, scholars, directors, actors, dancers, choreographers, technicians and designers; managers in professional, educational and community theatre; and in allied fields of the performing arts (cinema, dance, music, etc.).

The B.A. in theatre studies is designed for students who seek a liberal arts approach to their undergraduate theatre education and does not require an audition for admittance. The curriculum emphasizes all aspects of theatre and their interactions with other areas of study. Students in both the B.A. and B.F.A. in theatre studies are expected both to develop theatre skills and to analyze the relationship of these skills to theatre and theatre to the world.

The B.F.A. degree is designed for students who wish to specialize in a specific area of theatre or dance (design and technology, musical theatre, dance performance or dance education) and requires successful completion of auditions. Students declaring a theatre major who have not successfully passed the audition(s) will be enrolled in the B.A. program. This program requires the demonstration of competency in the chosen specialty, both in auditions or portfolio reviews and via yearly evaluations. The B.F.A. candidate is expected to develop theatre and/or dance and performance skills equal to entry-level positions in the profession or as expected for admission into M.F.A. programs.

Entrance to the B.F.A. program is based on rigorous auditions or theatre design portfolio. Students who pass this audition or portfolio review will be invited to enroll in the B.F.A. program upon beginning classes at Kent State. All B.F.A. students are required to be evaluated on a yearly basis through performances, portfolio reviews, contributions to the production season and academic achievement. The B.F.A. in musical theatre is an interdisciplinary program offered with the Dance Division of the School of Theatre and Dance and the School of Music. Application to the B.F.A. in musical theatre requires an audition in each of the three performance areas: dance, music and theatre. The students must display talent and training potential in all areas to be admitted to the program. Students who pass the musical theatre audition will be admitted directly into the B.F.A. program at the beginning of their freshman year. Students who pass the Dance Division auditions are also admitted directly into the B.F.A. program at the beginning of their freshman year.

Students in all B.F.A. program areas may be dropped from the program for failure to maintain a 2.50 GPA (B.F.A. students should strive to maintain a 3.00 overall GPA).

B.F.A. musical theatre students must pass yearly auditions; B.F.A. design/technology students must pass yearly portfolio reviews. Students will be dropped from the B.F.A. program for failure of audition or portfolio review. Students on academic probation may not participate in any School of Theatre and Dance productions. All B.F.A. musical theatre majors are expected to audition for all mainstage theatre productions and accept roles if cast. All B.F.A. design/technology majors are expected to participate in at least one mainstage production per semester (this may be in addition to any production design assignment).

Scholarship and Awards
Scholarships and awards available through the School of Theatre and Dance include the L. LeRoy Cowperthwaite Fund, Eugenia V. Erdmann Award, G. Harry Wright Scholarship Award, the Marsha Levinson Award, the School of Theatre and Dance Award, and the Michael Mould Scholarship Award. Faculty nominate students for these awards each spring.

Incoming freshmen may also compete for Creative Artist Awards (CAA) that are given through the Honors College and are renewable for four years. Requirements include a high school GPA of at least 3.30 and either an ACT score of 23 or higher or SAT scores of at least 1060. Successful completion of an audition in the students’ chosen area is also required.

Graduate Study

The School of Theatre and Dance offers programs of graduate study leading to the Master of Arts degree or the Master of Fine Arts degree. It also provides graduate coursework in theatre for graduate students in other disciplines of the university when it is required or elected as part of their programs.

The Master of Arts program offers the student advanced work in theatre that will represent mastery of the field in general and of a specific area of theatre as well. In addition, the research writing skills stressed in this track are intended to prepare the student, who so elects, to define and pursue a terminal degree.

The Master of Fine Arts, normally a three-year course of study, is offered in acting and in design/technology (with concentrations in costume design, scenic design, lighting design and in costume technology and technical direction). The acting concentration includes a returning professional’s track in which students can receive credit for professional work previously completed as fulfillment of Kent State University course requirements (substitutions require course enrollment for credit). The M.F.A. is a terminal degree designed for those who intend to pursue a career in the profession as a creative artist or theatre technologist.

The School of Theatre and Dance offers a limited number of graduate assistantships for both full-time Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts students. Graduate assistantships usually provide a tuition waiver and a stipend and require a minimum of 20 hours of service to the School of Theatre and Dance in the form of instruction, supervision of labs or work in a specific area (management, scene shop, costume shop). Students interested in a graduate assistantship must apply to the School of Theatre and Dance in writing. To be continued on a graduate assistantship, students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA, pass periodic review by the Graduate Studies Committee and (if M.F.A. students) regular performance or portfolio review, and show satisfactory progress toward the degree. Students are notified at the time of these reviews of the awarding or continuation of a graduate assistantship. An M.A. student may hold an assistantship for a maximum of two academic years (excluding summers) and an M.F.A. student may hold an assistantship for a maximum of three academic years (excluding summers and off-campus internships).

For further information on either the Master of Arts degree or the Master of Fine Arts degree, please contact the School of Theatre and Dance or visit the school’s Web site at http://www.theatre.kent.edu/.

Master of Arts

Admission
All Master of Arts applicants for graduate study should comply with the conditions for admission as set forth in the general section of this catalog. Of the three letters of recommendation required in the application for graduate study, at least two should come from former professors or others competent to evaluate research or scholarly writing skills. The application must be accompanied by a brief statement (no more than two double-spaced pages) summarizing the student’s background and career goals. Students are required to submit an example of historical or critical writing (such as a documented research paper). Applicants for the Master of Arts must achieve and submit appropriate scores on the Graduate Record Examination.

Students are expected to have the equivalent of an undergraduate curriculum in theatre consisting of at least 12 semester hours in theatre history and dramatic literature and basic courses in acting, directing, design and technical theatre. An idea of the level of background expected may be derived from the Kent State University undergraduate catalog and from course syllabi in these areas of theatre. Applicants who do not possess the equivalent of this curriculum may be required to complete specified undergraduate coursework for no credit in addition to the master’s degree curricular requirements.

Program Requirements

Curricular advising will be provided by the coordinator of graduate studies or area head prior to first enrollment. Unless they have successfully completed an equivalent course, Master of Arts students must take Introduction to Graduate Study (THEA 61000) during their first semester. Program requirements for the two-year program may be completed via one of the following options, which the student will elect in consultation with an advisor, chosen during the first semester in residence:

  • Option 1. Thesis. Requires a minimum of 32 hours of graduate coursework, consisting of THEA 61000, at least five courses from among our graduate offerings in theatre history, drama, theory and criticism (to include THEA 51110, 51133, 51134, 61110 and 61111), courses in other departments that support and enrich the area of specialty, and 6 hours of Thesis I (THEA 61199). Continuous enrollment in Thesis II (THEA 61299), including summer, is required until the thesis is successfully defended
    (maximum time: six calendar years from first enrollment). A description of the thesis process may be obtained from the school. The thesis is deposited in the college office and archived, and follows regulations described in the College of The Arts Style Guide.
  • Option 2. Non-thesis Paper. Requires a minimum of 36 hours of graduate coursework consisting of THEA 61000, at least five courses from among our graduate offerings in theatre history, drama, theory and criticism (to include THEA 51133, 51134, 61001, 61110 and 61111), courses in other departments that support and enrich the area of specialty, 9 hours in a specified research area (at least 3 hours of these courses must be at the 60000 level), and 3 hours of Research (THEA 61098). A description of the nonthesis paper process may be obtained from the school.

Master of Fine Arts

Admission
All Master of Fine Arts applicants for graduate study should comply with the conditions for admission as set forth in the general section of this bulletin and in the application form. Applicants whose undergraduate grade point average is below 3.0 are not normally accepted for graduate study. Those seeking exception to this rule must submit scores on the Graduate Record Examination and other evidence of high academic potential. Of the three letters of recommendation required in the application for graduate study, at least two should come from former professors or others competent to evaluate productions and academic skills.

In addition to meeting the general university requirements for admission to graduate study, the applicant must meet one of the following two requirements in undergraduate preparation: a baccalaureate degree in theatre that includes a core curriculum consisting of 12 semester hours in theatre history and dramatic literature, plus basic courses in acting, directing, technical theatre and design; or a baccalaureate degree in a discipline other than theatre, when there is a record of equivalent professional training or experience in theatre, or demonstrable potential for work at the Master of Fine Arts level in theatre.

Applicants to the Master of Fine Arts program are required to submit a resume of all theatrical experience and a brief statement — no more than two double-spaced pages — summarizing background and career goals.

Admission to the Master of Fine Arts concentrations in design/technology or acting requires an audition or portfolio review with the graduate faculty in the area of concentration. On campus interviews, auditions and portfolio reviews are by appointment only and are scheduled each semester, typically during the November or March preceding the first enrollment for a fall semester. M.F.A. classes are admitted once every three years, beginning with the fall of 2003. Students may also schedule an appointment at conferences and conventions where graduate faculty are in attendance. During the first and second years of study, students are regularly reviewed by the graduate faculty in their area of concentration (design/technology faculty or acting faculty) and advised of the outcome of those reviews. Reviews concern whether the student will be allowed to continue in the program and may involve warning, probation or dismissal, as well as retention. Design/technology students must present a portfolio of their work for these reviews and acting students the performance of a significant role. All students are expected to be able to demonstrate significant contributions to the productions of the School of Theatre and Dance.

Program Requirements

The Master of Fine Arts program is an intensive, three-year, professional training program requiring the completion of 60-73 hours of graduate credit depending on the area of concentration. All M.F.A. students are required to take THEA 61000 during their first semester in the program, the graduate core courses THEA 61110 and THEA 61111, 6 hours of Graduate Practicum in their area of concentration (design/technology or acting), THEA 60992, 61992 and 60199-M.F.A. Thesis Project (Design/Tech) or THEA 61309-M.F.A.Comprehensive Project in Acting. Each student will be provided a graduate faculty advisor from his/her area of concentration to assure that curricular requirements in the area of specialty are met.

THEA 60992 and THEA 61992 may be completed in one of three ways (all require the advisor’s approval): (1) an internship with the Porthouse Theatre Company and an internship with another professional theatre company; or (2) internships with two professional theatre companies; or (3) two internships with the Porthouse Theatre Company.

All internships require an exit document by the on-site supervisor summarizing the duties performed, skill level attained and quality of the student’s internship work. Where possible, internships should be undertaken during the summer. Absence on internship during a semester requires prior approval by the Graduate Studies Committee.  M.F.A. students are required to remain in residence for the three years needed to complete the program (excluding, if appropriate, the internship). At a minimum, acting students
must audition for all main stage productions and accept the roles assigned to them, and design/technology students must complete one production assignment and work on one other production per semester. Students may not undertake any work outside the School of Theatre and Dance without petitioning the appropriate area faculty and receiving written permission prior to auditioning/interviewing. (Returning professionals in acting are exempt from this requirement but need to keep the school advised of absences.)

Students in the Master of Fine Arts program must successfully complete a Comprehensive Project (Performance) or M.F.A. Thesis Project (Production) as to demonstrate mastery of skills and artistry commensurate with entrance into the profession. The scope of the project will be determined and reviewed by the area of specialty and may be fulfilled within the School of Theatre and Dance, through Porthouse and/or professional production assignments. The Comprehensive Project will consist of performance or exhibition of work, documentation of that work in a format appropriate for each area and project, and an exit interview.

M.F.A. Thesis Project/M.F.A. Comprehensive Project

Design/Technology
Students in design/technology begin the M.F.A. thesis project by presenting a two-page proposal to the advisor requesting that a specific design or project be accepted as the thesis project topic, and identifying a thesis project committee, consisting of a minimum of three graduate faculty, including the student’s academic advisor. When deemed in submissible form, the advisor will present the proposed topic to the graduate faculty in the area of concentration. When approved by the graduate faculty in the area, the advisor will submit the proposal to the graduate coordinator for circulation to the Graduate Studies Committee and will present the thesis project topic to them as scheduled. The approval of this committee shall be final and a Notification of Approved M.F.A. Thesis Project Topic form will be filed with the school and the college. The student may then enroll in THEA 60199 for the semester in which the project will be undertaken.

As soon as the thesis project has been completed, the student will prepare and submit the thesis project paper or components to the advisor in accordance with regulations specified in the school’s description of the M.F.A. Thesis Project Paper (available from the coordinator of graduate studies) and in the College Style Guide. When both are satisfied, the paper will be circulated to the members of the student’s thesis project committee. When the committee deems the work is in appropriate form, it will be made available to members of the graduate faculty in the school and presented at a public meeting. Upon successful completion of these procedures, the Report of Completion of M.F.A. Thesis Project will be signed and the thesis project placed in the student’s file and deposited in the college office.

Acting
Students in acting begin the comprehensive project during the second semester of study by identifying a graduate faculty advisor in the acting area. Each of the three roles in which the student is cast (from this point to the conclusion of the project) is presented to the area with the student’s rationale that the role is challenging, significant and relevant to serve as part of he comprehensive project. The student will register for THEA 1309 M.F.A. Comprehensive Project for each role approved. he process is then documented in a format appropriate for he project and presented by the faculty advisor. After each role, the student will meet with the acting area for assessment and evaluation. Upon completion of the third role, the student will compile all appropriate documentation and create a
comprehensive project summary to be approved by the acting area. After approval, the comprehensive project summary will be presented to the Graduate Studies Committee. The approval of this committee shall be final and the project summary shall be housed in the school office.

Students in the returning professional track in acting focus upon one task for the M.F.A. comprehensive project, approved according to the topic proposal and specified area of research and creativity. The returning professional project completion process follows the process outlined above. The advisor will clarify what documentation is appropriate for each project.

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