Theatre & Dance - Production Program | Benedictine College

Production Program - Theatre & Dance

Our Mission Statement

The Department of Theatre & Dance is dedicated to creating “total theatre-makers”. We believe that the performing arts provide the indispensable social functions of Entertainment, Enlightenment, and Education. For the theatre artist, performing arts teaches practical skills including collaboration, creative problem solving, communicative clarity, organizational prowess, ethics, and time management skills, just to name a few. We are artists, but we are also engaged in the practical application of an entertainment business. To that end, students will learn, both in the classroom and in the theatre “laboratory”, every aspect of theatre production. We believe that the performing arts can provide life-affirming experiences for both the practitioner and the consumer, and reveal truths about the human experience in a dynamic way.

Our mission is to provide a nurturing and challenging educational environment through a rich diversity of theatre and dance disciplines, techniques, technologies and productions. Central to our focus as a department is superior teaching, hands-on production-based learning, and personalized mentoring; our classroom encompasses the studio, the stage, and the technical laboratory.

Department Goals

The Department of Theatre & Dance aims to:

  • Foster academic excellence through development of programs that meet national standards
  • Promote quality personnel with expertise in their areas of teaching.
  • Enhance the cultural and aesthetic experience of our campus, community and region through quality productions, leadership, and service learning.
  • Embrace a standard of artistic excellence, which is enhanced by aggressive pursuit of summer internships and other professional development opportunities.
  • Create widespread visibility through our active participation with the KCACTF, USITT, URTA, ATHE, UTA and other professional/educational organizations.
  • Prepare students for successful transfer to graduate or conservatory programs or to pursue professional careers in the theatre and dance performance, theatre and dance education, or allied fields.

Department Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Comprehend how the techniques and practices of theatre arts and dance are used for creative thought and artistic expression.
  • Execute basic production processes in the areas of acting, dance, stage direction, choreography, design, and the necessary technical operations related to production.
  • Acquire knowledge of diverse historical and multi-cultural dimensions and traditions of theatre arts and dance.
  • Formulate assessments of quality, both creatively and critically, in works of theatre, dance and other related art forms.

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

  • The Department of Theatre & Dance produces at least five main stage productions every season, giving the students many opportunities to hone their skills on and off stage. We strive to offer a variety of styles to best prepare our students for the professional world. Every season we seek to produce at least one musical, one classical work, something experimental, something heavy, and something that is fun, and funny, for all.
  • Seniors must complete a Creative Project as part of their graduation requirement. These projects vary widely in scope and are tailored to the students’ primary interests and talents. Examples of projects are:
    • Olga Nikolevna Romanova – a full-length ballet conceived, directed, choreographed, and designed entirely by Elizabeth Benda (’16)
    • The Fall Festival of Fables – a collection of fables prepared by Danielle Shanahan (’17), who also designed the costumes; presented in a festival format prepared by Kaitlyn Langton (’17) as part of Family Weekend activities
    • The Little Prince – an adaptation of the popular short story, written by Diane Gorrell (’16), staged by Clare Nowak (’16); a command performance was given for local elementary school children
    • A Severe Mercy – a full length adaptation of Sheldon Vanauken’s memoir, dramatized by Stuart Mast (’16)
    • A semester-long after-school creative dramatics program offered at the local middle school by Angela Lorang (’16) and Sydney Giefer (’16)
    • Two plays by David Mamet, Oleanna and Speed the Plow, presented in rotating repertory, directed by Rosemary Herold (’17) and Maura Sweeney (’17), who also play the leading female roles under one another’s direction
    • Shrew’d – a one-woman version of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, by Teresa Moore (’15), which she subsequently performed at the Hollywood and Kansas City Fringe Festivals
    • The Jeweler’s Shop – an underground presentation of Saint John Paul II’s poetic drama, in the style of the Rhapsodic Theatre circa 30s Poland, conceived and directed by William Wright (’15)
  • One senior project proposal per year is selected for a main stage production slot. This is a competitive process. The students submit proposals in their junior year to be considered for this directorial project. Past selections include:
    • United We Sing: An American Musical Cabaret – conceived, directed, and choreographed by Courtney Crilley (’17) and Sarah Smeltzer (’17)
    • Viva Vaudeville! – a celebration of the Golden Age of American Entertainment, compiled and directed by Allison Buell (’16)
    • Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley – directed by Br. Zach Boyer (’15)
    • Pas de Deux by Scott Cox – a world premiere directed by Andrew Hagerty (’14)
    • Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman – directed by Elisabeth Meyers (’13)
  • 24-Hour Theatre Festival – once a year, the department stays up all night Friday into Saturday, writing, casting, directing, and designing new short plays which are performed on stage that very night.
  • The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival – we enter all main stage productions for participation and attend the week-long regional festival every January. It provides opportunities to network, a variety of workshops, scholarship competitions, professional auditions, interviews, performances, and countless ways for students to expand their creative horizons.