The Department of Theatre Arts is dedicated to the highest standards of excellence in both its academic and performance/technical theatre programs. Its energies are committed to fostering student creativity in all areas of theatre—design, performance, directing and management—and to help students gain better insights into themselves and the world around them. The theatre arts program has been a vital and important part of the curriculum and student activities at North Dakota State University for more than 100 years. The program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre.
The department offers three undergraduate degree programs in theatre. Each is flexible and can be designed to fit the individual student's career goals.
The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in theatre arts is a general baccalaureate degree built around a traditional liberal arts curriculum. Courses are required in technical theatre, performing and directing, as well as in literature, theatre history and modern language. The B.A. program requires proficiency of a foreign language at the second year level.
The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree is an alternative to the B.A. The B.S. requires a minor in an approved field.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) with an emphasis in musical theatre, performance or design technology is a professionally-oriented degree track that places primary emphasis on performance and studio activity, while also requiring a high level of involvement in the academic curriculum. It can be entered only by audition. This degree track broadens the student's exposure to his or her field, and considerable study is made of other fine arts fields as well.
Admission to the B.F.A. degree program in theatre requires consistent involvement in Theatre NDSU and LCT Productions, and demands a high level of commitment on the part of the student.
Theatre NDSU is a laboratory for learning in which imaginative play and disciplined work are fused in dramatic creations. A high degree of professionalism is consistently displayed.
(1) Main Stage Productions—four plays are produced each school year. These productions range from modern musicals such as Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson and Sweeney Todd to classic comedies such as The Comedy of Errors and Noises Off, including contemporary and ancient plays of the widest variety. Production seasons are chosen according to a four year style-rotation cycle. This ensures that during the course of his or her undergraduate career, the student will have the opportunity to acquire first-hand knowledge of all major performance styles in the Western theatrical tradition, including Devised work and TYA or Theatre for Young Audiences.
(2) The Newfangled Theatre Company is the student branch of Theatre NDSU. This student-managed company produces up to four shows in the second stage season.
Numerous dramatic activities take place on a flexible schedule in Studio Theatre Productions. There are showcase productions for B.F.A. candidates and for student acting or directing projects as well as a dance recital each semester.
Theatre arts students study, work and create on three stages:
(1) Askanase Auditorium (the main stage), a 380-seat theatre with continental seating,
(2) the Studio Theatre, a flexible studio-lab black box space also located in Askanase Hall, and
(3) the 1,000-seat Festival Concert Hall, in Reineke Fine Arts Center, used for major musical stage productions.
In addition, Askanase Hall contains theatre classrooms, costume, scene and property shops.
Theatre training develops and exercises the creative imagination. Our graduates have found a rich variety of professions. Former students have gone on to earn advanced degrees in theatre and related fields and now teach in colleges and universities, community colleges and high schools. Other graduates of our program work in arts management, technical theatre and technical consulting, as well as in community theatre, semi-professional repertory companies, professional theatre and commercial radio and television. Theatre NDSU is committed to helping students understand the value of entrepreneurship in the Arts, creating their own work and community outreach.
A number of scholarships in theatre arts are available for students both in performance and technical emphases. Several scholarships are available to incoming freshmen. Both a student's academic record and his or her level of achievement in the production program are criteria used in awarding these scholarships. Active participation in the NDSU theatre arts program is expected of all scholarship recipients. Applications can be found on the Department of Theatre Arts website.