The drama curriculum focuses on the study of world theater and literatures from the Greeks through the 21st century as well as hands-on theater making through the art of collaboration. We teach dynamic courses in acting, directing, dramaturgy, design, and playwriting. Our aim is to introduce students to the theoretical and practical dimensions of theater through the encounter of a variety of genres and cultures and to encourage students to generate new work through collective creation.
Drama 102 and 103 give prospective majors a basic understanding of topics ranging from the art of collaboration to theatrical communication, design and technical elements, and essential skills of stagecraft. Drama 200 allows students to participate directly in departmental productions and thus apply the more theoretical knowledge they obtained in 102 and 103. In the sophomore year, all majors complete a full-year course on the sources of world drama and begin more intensive study of one or more theatrical skills. This coursework prepares sophomores for more advanced study of both the history and theory of drama and the practical aspects of production. During the junior and senior years, majors must complete at least two 300-level courses which further develop their understanding of drama and performance studies and their ability to think critically and write effectively about the history and theory of drama. Normally, majors will also continue to participate in departmental productions and to develop their theatrical skills through courses ranging from Drama 302 (Problems in Design) to 382 (Acting for the Camera). Course instructors, as well as those involved in play productions, constantly evaluate students’ progress in developing the theatrical skills explored in each course.
Most senior majors enroll in Drama 390 (Senior Project in Drama). In this course, the student undertakes and completes, with close faculty supervision, a significant project in dramatic literature, theater history, performance studies, acting, directing, design, or playwriting. Students are encouraged to collaborate on a project. Even when undertaking practicum projects in acting, directing, or design, students in 390 must produce a companion research paper of considerable length. In this way, before graduation, each student demonstrates to the faculty his or her ability to think and write about theater, as well as the more practicum skill or skills that he or she has acquired.
Vassar Experimental Theater
The Vassar Experimental Theater presents six to eight productions a year in the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film and the Powerhouse Theater. Of these productions, roughly half are student directed. View productions.
We do not require auditions for majoring in the department, however, auditions are required to act in our plays. Our productions are open to any students, including non-drama majors.