Department Fact Sheet

Department of Theatre

Department Chair: Lee Orchard, Ph.D.
VUCA 1106 | 219-464-6109

Majors offered:
Theatre, B.A.

Links to Web sites:
Department of Theatre (department maintained)

What Is Distinctive About Valpo's Program?

Valpo's dramatic literature requirement includes reading and analyzing plays. A weekly colloquium focuses on what you will do after graduating as a theatre major. The curriculum is comprehensive, covering every area and sub-discipline of theatre. You will study technical production, costume, directing, acting, literature, etc. It is also possible to major in Theatre by taking as few as ten courses, or about 25% of the total number of courses required for a Bachelor's degree. You can then add another major. It is also possible to take a large major (48 credits) requiring 16 courses.

In studio classes such as basic stagecraft, costume and makeup, and scenery and lighting, you will work with basic materials, learning to transform them into theatrical works of art. In playwriting courses, you will write plays that are given staged readings; in directing class, you will direct plays for the annual directing showcase. Perhaps most "hands-on" of all are the voice, movement, acting, and dance studio courses. In addition to the studio, you will be involved as a leader in major play production projects in one of Valpo's two theatres or on the road in its outreach theatre program to schools and churches.

The Soul Purpose liturgical drama troupe (see extracurricular) tours throughout the country, and Theatre Outreach Performance (T.O.P.) companies travel to and perform in a score of schools each year.

Valparaiso University Center for the Arts:
The VUCA is home to Valpo's mainstage and studio theatres. You may utilize the performance spaces, recital halls, classrooms, practice rooms, and equipment laboratories in the VUCA. The theatre facilities in the VUCA are state-of-the-art.

What Can You Do with a Theatre Major?

Degree, Skills or Experience Needed for Beginning a Job in This Field:
Requirements for work in theatre include organizational and presentation skills, broad experience with presentational technology, and production experience.

Kinds of Work Available to Graduates in this Major:
Artistic: Actors, directors, scriptwriters and editors; scene, costume, lighting, and sound designers, singers, choreographers, and dancers. Production: Stage managers, floor managers, technical directors, cameramen, editors, lighting, sound, costume, and properties technicians. Administration: Sales and marketing, fiscal and audience development, promotion, box office management, programming, house management. Education: Teaching theatre skills in primary and middle schools, high schools and colleges.

Potential Hiring Institutions:
Theatre and film production companies; agencies and institutions outside the media and entertainment industry, including hospitals, schools, churches, etc.

What Beyond-the-Classroom Opportunities Does Valpo Offer You in Theatre?

Extracurricular Activities:
Students can take part in four faculty-directed productions a year, three of which are featured on Valpo's mainstage. Performance opportunities also exist through events such as Shakespeare Under The Stars and the Acting-Directing showcase. The community of Valparaiso is rich in theatrical opportunities in addition to those offered by the University itself. Alpha Psi Omega, and liturgical drama groups like Soul Purpose and outreach programs like Theatre Outreach Performances that perform in elementary schools, provide further outlets for theatre students.

Study Abroad: Almost any of Valpo's 14 overseas programs enhance the on-campus theatre program since going to see theatre, especially abroad, is so enriching. Given the easy accessibility of theatre in Great Britain, the Cambridge Program is a good choice for Theatre majors.

Chicago Arts Program: The Chicago Arts Program is a 15-week semester of immersion in the Chicago artworld. The Program is designed for college students with a strong interest in the language, visual, performing, media and commercial arts, as well as arts education and community outreach.

Students live and study in Chicago, and work at a part-time internship. Participants attend events in a variety of artistic media, meet and interview guest artists and arts professionals, and write about and discuss practical and theoretical issues. Click here for more information.

Notable Alumni:

Rhett Luedtke (VU '95), professor of Theatre, George Fox University, Oregon.
Jeannie Roshar (VU '97), successful stand-up comedy artist and television actor.
Justin Bayle (VU '99), (helped considerably by David Ruprecht (VU'70), host of "Supermarket Sweep," ) is very successful on stage and TV in Los Angeles.
Denise Schneider (VU '98), Director of Media Relations, The Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.
Heather Keudzierski (VU '01), recently debuted on "The Guiding Light" after receiving her MFA fro Rutgers University.