Theatre Arts FAQs
What are the Theatre Arts major’s course requirements?
The major requirements are set up to provide the Theatre Arts major necessary engagement with all aspects of drama, theatre, and performance culture. By graduation, students are expected to understand the basic working of all areas of theatre, from acting, design, directing, and playwriting, to the formal study of drama, theatre history, and the critical theory of drama, theatre, and performance.
Since theatre is an undertaking which emphasizes and fuses classroom education and hands-on experience (link: Student Learning Outcomes), majors are expected to be actively involved in onstage and/or offstage aspects of production work as well.
Am I expected to have professional aspirations in the fields of theatre and/or film to declare my major in Theatre Arts?
Not necessarily. Link to page: benefits and skill sets associated with Theatre Arts.
Am I expected to have any performing background in order to declare my major in Theatre Arts?
No. It often happens that a student’s appreciation, passion, and talent for theatre often reveals itself during the taking of a course or involvement in a production experience. If you do, great, but if you don’t, it’s not an obstacle.
Are there any course pre-requirements for declaring my major in Theatre Arts?
Yes, there are. They are Visual-Gestural Communication (THE 101) and Introduction to Theatre (THE 110). It is also highly recommended that you register for Theatre Practicum (THE 281) if you are cast in a play for the first time as a Gallaudet student. Your involvement in our productions tells us a lot about you as a prospective major.
Can/do Gallaudet students, regardless of whether s/he is a Theatre Arts major or not, get course credit for working on productions?
Yes. All students acting in, or doing backstage/technical work for, productions can register for Theatre Practicum (THE 281): students receive 3 credits for production work, depending on the assignment.
How do I declare my major/minor in Theatre Arts?
In any given semester, should you decide you are interested in pursuing a Theatre Arts major/minor, you would need to contact the Theatre and Dance program director, or a member of our faculty, by e-mail—by the last week of classes that semester—to inform him/her of your intent to declare.
Shortly after, an interview appointment will then be scheduled—with you being given your choice of 20-minute time slots—on Study Day as designated in the University’s academic calendar. You would be expected to honor your appointment, and if it so happens that you cannot make it, please communicate with the Theatre and Dance program director in advance in order for special arrangements to be made.
For this appointment, please bring:
1) your theatre resume (one which highlights your theatrical background: there are great sample templates on the Web);
2) an audition, using the monologue of your choice (memorized, nothing off paper or iPhone);
3) a visual portfolio showcasing your experience and work in theatre.
Lastly, please be ready to answer questions from our program's faculty.
Is it possible to have a second major along with the Theatre Arts major?
Yes. You can combine a Theatre Arts major with almost any other major at Gallaudet. You would need to take the necessary GSR (General Studies Requirement) courses while following the curriculum for each individual major. You need a minimum of 120 credits to graduate, though, and you will have two majors on your diploma as well as transcript.
It may surprise you to know that our students more often than not are double majors, which we highly recommend in your case if your parents and/or vocational rehabilitation counselors express concerns about the value of a BA degree in Theatre Arts, or even, resistance to the idea of majoring in Theatre Arts to begin with. You, and they, may refer to this link.
Students who do not have a second major will likely consider a minor in another area, and they are encouraged to do so.
Is there a Theatre Arts minor?
Yes. Link: course requirements for a theatre minor
How soon may I take theatre courses?
You may begin taking theatre courses your first semester at Gallaudet University.
What is a typical production year like?
Per year, we usually mount two (2) productions, one (1) per semester. Each production is directed by faculty, guest artists, or qualified Theatre Arts majors and/or recent alumni. There is also the occasional Student Directors’ Showcase.
Will I have any academic advising within the BA program?
Yes. All our faculty serve as academic advisors as well.
Will I be allowed to do production work outside Gallaudet?
Yes. With over 90 theatre companies active in its radius, there is a plethora of opportunities for theatre work in the Washington, DC area, and we encourage our BA students to explore such opportunities for involvement.
One such company, Faction of Fools, is in residence with us as a committed ally for young Deaf theatre artists seeking professional experience and training: the company was the 2012 Helen Helen Hayes Recipient of the John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company, and from 2011 to 2016, they have successfully staged eight (8) productions at Gallaudet with a total of sixteen (16) Theatre Arts majors.
Who can audition for our plays?
We have an open casting policy. Any Gallaudet student can audition for Gallaudet theatrical productions: s/he does not need to be a Theatre Arts major/minor. Preference is given to Theatre Arts majors/minors if we are casting a lead role, but historically, almost all of our productions have cast actors with majors other than Theatre Arts.
However, Galllaudet undergraduates who are non-theatre majors cannot perform in a mainstage production without being registered for Theatre Practicum (THE 281), which may be considered a general elective.
Considering the fact that the d/Deaf community is a linguistic minority, with opportunities for participation in Deaf and sign language productions limited across the nation, we welcome professional members of our community to audition for our productions.
Can first-year students audition for our productions?
Yes. First-year Gallaudet students can audition for all Gallaudet productions if roles remain available. As needed, an announcement will be made through our Facebook page and Gallaudet’s Daily Digest.
When are auditions for our productions?
Auditions for a play regularly take place during the last week of classes in the semester prior to the semester during which a play is rehearsed and staged.
For example, if a play is scheduled to take place in a fall semester, auditions will occur during the last week of classes in the spring semester before, and vice versa. It affords all cast students space and time to register for Theatre Practicum (THE 281).
If you are a student who successfully auditions for a play during the first week of the same semester of the play, the registration process becomes a little more complicated: as you would be registering for Theatre Practicum (THE 281) after the University’s deadline, you would need to obtain permission from the Chair of the Department of Art, Communication, and Theatre (ACT), as well as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS).
What opportunities does the DC theatre community offer students?
In the past decade, Washington, DC has become such a large, diverse, and thriving theatre community with over ninety (90) professional theatres active in the area, making it the second-largest theatre city in the United States.
Student exposure to a wide, varied range of theatrical genres and styles—as well as touring, international, and multicultural performances—is guaranteed, whether as a participant or patron.
With all of this in our backyard, now is the perfect time to be a Gallaudet Theatre Arts major/minor.
Is there an internship requirement?
Yes. For Theatre Arts majors, a professional internship—Field Experience (THE 320)—is required for graduation. It is highly recommended, but not required, for minors to seek out internships.
Graduates find employment in a wide range of possibilities related to theatre. Though there are no guarantees, in professional theatre especially, graduates of Gallaudet’s Theatre and Dance program have appeared on stage, television, film, off-Broadway, and regional theatres across the nation.
To whom do I contact about the Theatre Arts major?
You may contact the Theatre and Dance program director (currently associate professor Ethan Sinnott), or a member of our faculty and staff.