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Theater BA

College of Liberal Arts / Fine Arts
Undergraduate major / Bachelor of Arts

About The Program

The Theater Program is designed to provide students with an understanding of and critical appreciation for the basic elements of theater, including acting, directing and playwriting. This program does not emphasize specific tracks in theater, and among the hallmarks of the theater degree is an emphasis on students creating original work, allowing valuable insight into the creative process and its practical applications. Additionally, a study of the great traditions of theater and the development of skills can empower students toward their own clear and original voice--a valuable asset in any profession. For this reason, the program encourages the integration of theater skills and theory within other disciplines and individual studies. Students are welcome to contact a theater program advisor to better focus this integration.

This program also values prior learning. Students at Metropolitan State may continue to build upon previous learning experience in theater, in keeping with our tradition of alternate learning strategies.

A number of past and current students have worked professionally and semi-professionally in the theater for years, and are now committed to an academic qualification.

Student outcomes

Students graduating from the Metropolitan State Theater program are expected to be able to:

  • demonstrate a knowledge of or proficiency in, the skillful use of voice, body, sensory perception, imagination and craft.
  • comprehend the foundations and value of theater as history, through its role in culture and society as it evolves and integrated contemporary forms.
  • explore and mount original and existing work, and to critically analyze its form, structure and significance to real-world problems, committed citizens and artistic vision.

Related minors

How to enroll

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Theater BA now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Theater BA

More ways to earn your degree: Metropolitan State offers the flexibility you need to finish your degree. Through programs at our partner institutions, you can find a path to getting your Theater BA that works best for you.

About your enrollment options

Program eligibility requirements

Twelve-fifteen credits need to be taken at a community college within the MinnState system. 

Courses and Requirements

SKIP TO COURSE REQUIREMENTS

It is strongly suggested that students meet with the program advisor in advance of the year they plan to begin the theater major so they can be aware of future production opportunities and other options.   

The courses required for your specific program are listed in the course requirements section. Contact your advisor with questions concerning your degree plan. Students should work with theater faculty advisors to make sure that equivalent classes can count toward the major when transferring.

Requirements (120 credits)

+ Required courses (23 credit minimum)

This course uses full-length playscripts, videos of plays and film adaptations to tour the dynamic traditions of the theater. Students are to demonstrate reading knowledge of all plays on the reading/viewing list through online discussions, critical/creative thinking activities, and the focused analysis of six short questions for each play read or watched. The playscripts are provocative and diverse, exploring theories and concepts of dramatic literature from multiple perspectives, and serving as an entry point into discussions about politics; social justice; and issues of identity, including race, gender, sexuality, class, and subjectivity.

Full course description for The Art of Reading Plays

Two credits of off stage production support are required for the major and minor. Students enrolled in advanced acting/directing classes or working on season productions or special performance projects under faculty guidance may receive credit for rehearsal time spent out of the regular class period. Students cast in directing class scenes may also receive credit. Note: Students may take up to eight credits over time. Prerequisite: Instructor's permission if not enrolled in directing or advanced acting class.

Full course description for Production and Performance Laboratory

This course examines the ideas, individuals, institutions, and innovations that have contributed to the development of theater, from its precursors in the ancient world to the present day. Through the reading and viewing of seminal works, the essential elements of live theater - acting, directing, dramatic texts, design elements, performance space, and the audience - are explored with a focus on staging practices, aesthetics, and theatrical convention.

Full course description for The Evolution of Western Theater

Writing for the spoken word and for acting demands different skills than writing for the page. Develop your ear, your signature of voice, your sense of subtext. Through a variety of approaches, from improvisation to creative autobiography, students explore character, conflict and drama as metaphor. Writers with material they would like to explore or adapt for the stage are welcome. Expect to complete at least one short play.

Full course description for Playwriting I

This course is designed for theater majors exploring and preparing for their post-graduation careers. It will examine specific work environments; the value of attending graduate school or conservatory programs; and the role that internships, undergraduate research, and networking play in career development. In addition, this course will assess how to organize and manage an internship and job search, as well as how to construct strong resumes, cover letters, audition materials, and professional portfolios.

Full course description for Career and Portfolio Seminar

+ Requirements from Minneapolis College or any MinnState Community College (6 credits)

THTR 1145 Stagecraft (3 credits) THTR 2150 Script Analysis (3 credits)

+ Choose one: (4 credits)

Actor training can be life enhancing. In this class, advanced students are guided to discover, explore and develop their emotional, physical and psychological resources using varied acting exercises and techniques. Prerequisite: Acting II (MCTC) or equivalent (Screenwriting students exempt from prerequisites).

Full course description for Acting III

Art is in the becoming." In this class students move beyond a basic understanding of acting and toward a more complete connection between the role and the actor. A continuation of THEA 345 Acting III, students work further to develop the ability to sustain focus of attention, to concentrate energy and to deepen their understanding of character motivation and subtext. Students may have the opportunity to audition for directing class projects which rehearse outside of class time. This class may be taken twice for credit.

Full course description for Advanced Acting

+ Electives (4 credits)

This course is designed to expose students to the wide and unique variety of theater available in the Twin Cities with a conscious emphasis on mission specific theater companies such as Theater Mu, Ten Thousand Things, Penumbra, Mixed Blood, etc. which practice color blind/color conscious casting. Through lecture, discussion, and play attendance at professional and semi-professional venues, students will acquire the skills to critically analyze and appreciate theater and its components. Early classes and on-line links/supporting materials are provided for navigating each play experience. Students will respond to each performance through one of several approaches, depending on the type of play attended.

Full course description for The Live Theater Experience

Actor training can be life enhancing. In this class, advanced students are guided to discover, explore and develop their emotional, physical and psychological resources using varied acting exercises and techniques. Prerequisite: Acting II (MCTC) or equivalent (Screenwriting students exempt from prerequisites).

Full course description for Acting III

Students obtain internships in selected areas of study to gain deeper knowledge, skills and the context of a given field. Site supervisors give guidance and direction to customized internship projects. Faculty members serve as liaisons between the internship sites and the university, providing information to students and potential supervisors and supervising the learning experience. Internships normally earn between one and four credits, requiring forty work hours per credit, and may be served through a standard hours/work schedule or with flexible work hours scheduling, depending on the nature of the internship and site preferences.

Full course description for Theater Individual Internship

Student-designed independent studies give Metropolitan State students the opportunity to plan their own study. This type of independent learning strategy can be useful because it allows students: to study a subject in more depth, at a more advanced level; to pursue a unique project that requires specialized study; to draw together several knowledge areas or interests into a specialized study; to test independent learning capabilities and skills; or to use special learning resources in the community, taking advantage of community education opportunities which, in themselves, would not yield a full college competence. Students should contact their academic advisor for more information.

Full course description for Theater Student Designed Independent Studies

Two credits of off stage production support are required for the major and minor. Students enrolled in advanced acting/directing classes or working on season productions or special performance projects under faculty guidance may receive credit for rehearsal time spent out of the regular class period. Students cast in directing class scenes may also receive credit. Note: Students may take up to eight credits over time. Prerequisite: Instructor's permission if not enrolled in directing or advanced acting class.

Full course description for Production and Performance Laboratory

Art is in the becoming." In this class students move beyond a basic understanding of acting and toward a more complete connection between the role and the actor. A continuation of THEA 345 Acting III, students work further to develop the ability to sustain focus of attention, to concentrate energy and to deepen their understanding of character motivation and subtext. Students may have the opportunity to audition for directing class projects which rehearse outside of class time. This class may be taken twice for credit.

Full course description for Advanced Acting

Learn to analyze script, work with actors, construct a prompt book, and use the director's tools to elevate the written script to dramatic action. Students initially explore the possibilities of realistic drama with the option in the second half, to move on to original creations, collaborations or other styles of theater. All work is under the guidance of a director, toward the evolution of the specific theater piece. This class may be taken twice for credit.

Full course description for Directing and Creating Theater

Student-designed independent studies give Metropolitan State students the opportunity to plan their own study. This type of independent learning strategy can be useful because it allows students: to study a subject in more depth, at a more advanced level; to pursue a unique project that requires specialized study; to draw together several knowledge areas or interests into a specialized study; to test independent learning capabilities and skills; or to use special learning resources in the community, taking advantage of community education opportunities which, in themselves, would not yield a full college competence. Students should contact their academic advisor for more information.

Full course description for Theater Student Designed Independent Studies