The Department of Performing Arts oversees programs in theatre and music at USI. USI offers a baccalaureate program of study in theatre that enables students to progress in performance, design, and technology within the field. It also offers a number of courses in music designed to enhance programs of study with music education courses, choral, and instrumental ensemble courses. Both areas offer talent scholarships.
The Theatre Program
The USI Theatre Program presents students with exciting experiences that carry the work of the classroom forward into the practical realm of the University’s fully produced season of plays, a season that ranges from such classic playwrights as Sophocles and Shakespeare to contemporary plays and musicals. There also is an extended connection between the academic program and the New Harmony Theatre, the University’s professional summer theatre program, and students often receive their first professional experience through the summer project. With dedicated mentoring and placement guidance from the faculty, many students begin to work in other professional summer theatres around the country during their study, so there are always opportunities to pursue, both in and out of the classroom.
As baccalaureate candidates, students prepare for a full range of possibilities following their college experience. While a strong professional focus is maintained throughout the program, the theatre major has far-ranging applications, greatly increasing students’ sense of personal discipline, their critical thinking, and their communication skills. Graduates of the program are generally well-prepared for graduate study, specialized internships in the field, as well as for the professional world. Many will seek a career in teaching, combining their study with a secondary education field, such as English.
The Theatre Program at USI believes strongly that theatre students, regardless of their area of focus, must have an appreciation for the theatre as a whole. It therefore requires a balance between performance and technical subject areas. All students are required to take some history or survey classes. Still, the program provides a great deal of flexibility, enabling performance students to choose acting, directing, and playwriting electives, while technology and design students may develop equally in the areas of lighting, scenery, and costume. Special topics classes are periodically offered to address the interests and needs of the students.
In addition to the major in Theatre Arts, a Theatre Arts minor and Theatre Education minor are both offered. The Theatre Arts minor permits students with other major programs of study to take a concentration of courses in any aspect of theatre to which they are drawn. The Theatre Education minor, taken in conjunction with a Secondary Education major, will permit this additional teaching certification.
The Music Program
The music program of the performing arts curriculum offers students throughout the University opportunities to develop their musicianship through performance. It also provides valuable experience for performing arts students eager to build their musical credentials within the Theatre major. The various music ensembles maintain a performance calendar independent from that of the USI Theatre, as well as offer a number of performance-based scholarships. There is currently no major or minor offered in music.