Our goal is to equip theatre artists for the task of developing their creative gifts for service in the Kingdom of Christ. The annual theatre season includes four faculty-directed productions and many student productions. The department sponsors guest artists each year and participates in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

The DeWitt Theatre Arts Center houses two theatres of equal size (a proscenium theatre and a black box theatre). Scenery, costume and prop shops are also in this building that showcases a department with a national reputation for theatrical excellence. Our fully equipped dance studio is a short walk away in the Bultman Center.

The department also has a national theatre touring ensemble. The ensemble prepares a repertoire of plays to be performed in churches and schools. The ensemble is faculty-directed, with members being selected by auditions at the beginning of the academic year.

Theatre department homepage

Watch NWC theatre in action!

Major requirements

THE 112 - Performance Studies
An introduction to the use of performance as a means of interpreting, analyzing and celebrating literature, and as a tool for experiencing cultural diversity and enacting social change. By providing training in the principles and techniques of performing various genres of literature before an audience, this course seeks to expand students' understanding of the relationships between text and performer, performer and audience, and written and oral forms of literature. Assignments include solo and group performances from poetry, narrative fiction and oral history.(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
THE 114 - Stagecraft
A practical course which introduces students to the organization, skills and materials necessary for mounting a stage production.(2 credits)
THE 130 - Introduction to Design
An introduction to the concepts of design necessary to approach, create and critically evaluate a theatrical performance environment. Study of the processes of script analysis, design research and communication. Breakdown of aspects and elements that define the most commonly held principles of scenery, costume, lighting and sound design.(2 credits)
THE 206 - Playwriting: The One-Act
THE 215 - Acting
A study of the theoretical framework of the craft of acting.(4 credits)
THE 312 - Directing
Beginning directors review the guiding principles of theatrical art and then apply these to script selection, development of a prompt script, and the complete rehearsal process. Each student prepares a short play for public performance.Prerequisites: THE113 and215 or permission of instructor.(4 credits)
THE 343WI - History and Theory I
(4 credits; alternate years, consult department)(Writing intensive) A study of the development of the history and theory of theatre from its origins through the neoclassical period.
THE 344WI - History and Theory II
(4 credits; alternate years, consult department)(Writing intensive) A study of the development of the history and theory of the theatre from the English Restoration through the postmodern era.
THE 406 - Topics in Dramatic Literature
Specific subject matter of this course will vary from semester to semester, but will focus on the study of dramatic literature from one genre or one playwright or one geographical area or one theme/value.Prerequisite: THE113.(2 credits)
THE 490SR - Senior Seminar in Theatre
This course is designed to study the connection between theatre and place; theatre and social responsibility; theatre and vocation. We will create our online identity for prospective employers, develop an artist's statement to take us into the next phase of our journey, imagine how our artistry can and should intersect with our social responsibility. We will also take a 4-5-day trip to Chicago. Prerequisites: Junior or senior theatre major (theatre minor recommended). (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
Choose one course:
THE 226 - Scene Design
THE 230 - Costume Design
A study of methods and approaches to costume design for the theatre.Prerequisite: THE130.(2 credits, alternate years, consult department)
Choose one course:
THE 227 - Introduction to Lighting Design
THE 235 - Sound Design
Choose four credits:
ENG 280 - Shakespeare
William Shakespeare never attended college, yet he saw the world sharply in his mind's eye. He wrote piercingly about kings and college students, warriors and witches, goblins and gravediggers, his 1,000 characters have never been off the stage in 400 years. In this course we read eight plays which fathom the range of human experience and take the English language to the height of expressive beauty. Prerequisite: ENG250LC (4 credits, alternate years)
PHI 238BR - Philosophy of the Arts
(4 credits) (IGE option under Belief and Reason) A study of major theories of the analysis and evaluation of art.
THE 133 - Ballet
A study of the form and techniques of ballet.(1 credit)
THE 135 - Jazz Dance
A study of the form and techniques of jazz dance. Emphasis will be on the integration of modern musical performance.(1 credit)
THE 260 - Drama Ministries Ensemble
A performance group emphasizing preparation of scripts for presentation in worship services and worship-related settings.(1/2 credit)
(2 credit maximum goes toward major)
THE 305 - Story and Worship
Christian worship, at its core, is remembering the story of God. This includes biblical stories, personal narratives, the Liturgical Year, church history (global and local), and the story journey of each worship service. This course asks why the church must tell its stories and provides specific tools for including stories within worship. This course is not primarily focused on storytelling as drama, but the role of the dramatic arts will not be overlooked. Students will be invited to seriously consider that the ancient Hebrew people had a dramatic anthology, and the class will examine together practical tools for restaging those biblical works for contemporary culture. (4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
THE 315 - Acting: Scene Work
Students perform scenes from classical, modern and contemporary literature. Emphasis is placed on script analysis.Prerequisite: THE215.(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
THE 328 - Advanced Lighting Design
No course description available.
THE 365x - Acting for the Camera
Study and practice of acting skills and techniques in front of cameras using scenes from television, film, commercials and industrial scripts. Course also includes sections on audition techniques and the business of acting.Prerequisite: THE215, COM202, or permission of instructor.(3 credits, alternate years, consult department)
THE 407 - Playwriting: The Full-Length
This continuation of the study of playwriting focuses on the challenges of the long form. The course includes the processes of writing according to classic structural principles, rewriting, formatting and submitting plays for publication.Prerequisite: THE206 or permission of instructor.(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
THE 465 - Selected Topics in Theatre and Speech
This course will focus on various issues of theatre and speech that are not covered in current course offerings. Possible topics might include: auditioning, stage management, musical theatre, contemporary theatre since 1967, specific genres (comedy, tragedy, theatre of the absurd, Greek, etc.), theatre as social criticism, ethnic theatre, theatre as historical documentary.(2-4 credits, alternate years, consult department)

Total credits required: 40