Theater Skip Navigation

Theater (THEA)

Director: A. Sweeney

The Department of Theater at Colgate University educates students in the interdisciplinary, artistic practice of theater through courses in acting, directing, stagecraft, and design, as well as elective courses in playwriting and dance.  In addition, majors study theater as a social and cultural institution through a minimum of two courses in theater history and dramatic literature.
Theater students at Colgate learn by doing in the intellectually and physically rigorous environment of studio courses, rehearsals, and public performances.  The theater curriculum transcends the artificial split of mind - body, encouraging students to develop skills in both logic and intuition that apply to any field of endeavor.  A major or minor in theater fosters students’ ability to read closely, think critically, and communicate clearly – not only through speech and writing, but also through embodied presence.  Students of theater are trained to integrate analytical, physical, emotional, and interpersonal intelligence in a way that few other courses of study demand.  
All students regardless of their majors may participate in University Theater and Dance productions, concerts and workshops.  Stop by our office on the 2nd Floor of the DANA ARTS Building for more information on auditions, classes and visiting artists.


View all with day/time information
FSEM 154, Introduction to Drama
Faculty Profile for Professor DuComb

Drama and theater predate recorded history and remain vital modes of artistic expression in the modern world. This seminar offers a selective introduction to dramatic literature, theater history, and performance theory from classical Athens through the early nineteenth century. Course readings explore the ritual origins of theater, as well as the relationship of theater to colonialism, sex, social class, and revolution. Plays on the syllabus include both classics of European drama and exemplary theater texts from other parts of the world. Students who successfully complete this seminar will receive course credit for THEA 266 and satisfy one half of their Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry requirement.

Christian DuComb recently published his first book, Haunted City: Three Centuries of Racial Impersonation in Philadelphia (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2017). As a theater historian, he researches the intersection of race and performance in America, with a focus on the nineteenth century. As a teacher, he believes that students should learn to read plays as living texts, continuously reinvented through historically and culturally specific practices of theatrical performance.

FSEM 165, Basic Acting: Openings
Faculty Profile for Professor Sweeney

Basic Acting: Openings (Touching the Source)

Provides a theoretical and practical introduction to acting. Explores individual and collective creative potential, familiarizes students with the rigors of creating theater and introduces them to the fundamentals of acting training. Through intensive individual and ensemble exploratory work, students are familiarized with the fundamentals of acting as art, discipline and craft; the course aims to expand the student’s intellectual and creative potential. Acting teaches not only poise and presence, vocal and physical coordination, before a group, but also how to follow a line inquiry both physically and intellectually. Through warm-ups, improvisation, exercises, and scene work, students will acquire a working vocabulary in the fundamentals of making theater through acting exercises and theory, rehearsal and script analysis. Students who successfully complete this seminar will receive course credit for THEA 254 and satisfy one half of their Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry requirement.

April Sweeney is an actor and theater maker originally from Dallas, Texas. She teaches acting and performance classes in the Department of Theater and directs Colgate students in both Studio and University mainstage productions. She has performed in theaters and festivals in the U.S., Latin America and Europe; from basements to Off-Broadway; the Bolivian jungle to Regional Theater and everything in between. Professor Sweeney believes in the transformative power of theater to cultivate the agency of the imagination and develop important tools that can be applied to any field of endeavor. In fall 2018, she is teaching a First-Year Seminar in acting to introduce students to the exciting and unpredictable creative process of making theater.

THEA 246, Intro to Performance Studies
What is performance? The verb "to perform" can be variously defined as "to carry out an action," "to discharge a duty," "to accomplish a task," and "to present to an audience." Interdisciplinary in nature, students explores performance in the context of the performing and media arts, as well as in the context of ritual, politics, and everyday life. Emphasizes the relationship between performance and race, gender, sexuality, and other vectors of identity: how are various types of difference enacted, articulated, and represented through performative acts?

THEA 252, Scenic Design
A hands-on introduction to the aesthetics and practice of set design. The course examines the relationship between play and text analysis, concept, and production. It explores the set designer’s responsibility as artist and collaborator. Historical and visual research and the step-by-step development and realization of individual design concepts are introduced. Basic technical skills, such as perspective drawing, drafting to scale and model building, are taught with the goal of expressing the students' imaginations in a full and articulate manner.

THEA 259, Performance I
Credit for performance in a University Theater production. May be repeated up to three times for credit. The University Theater production is an opportunity offered to students to be involved in a production directed either by a Colgate faculty member or by an artist in residence. The production is cast through an audition process, which usually occurs at the beginning of each semester. Students may also receive credit through working on the production in a substantial technical or production related role.

THEA 271, Intro to Contemporary Dance
Introduces students to the concepts and practice of contemporary dance. Students gain confidence, fluidity, and control of their movement expression.