Courses & Requirements

IMPORTANT NOTE

The requirements below apply to those students with a 2022-2023 catalog year. Students are required by college policy to follow the major (and minor) requirements found in the catalog in effect at the time they declared their first major. To find your catalog year, please visit your Grades and Academic Records found in myOxy and access the catalog that matches your catalog year.

Theater and Performance Studies

Overview

The heart of Theater and Performance Studies is practice and production. Our shows are supported by rigorous training and analysis through the study of performance theory, history, technique, and literature.  Students learn through embodied practice, applying their research in performance contexts. With numerous opportunities to explore areas ranging from dramaturgy to acting, from set design to stage management, and from playwriting to directing, students also learn to apply a performance studies lens onto other phenomena in the world outside the traditional boundaries of theater.  Embedded within a Liberal Arts institution, our classes are interdisciplinary and the pathway to a major or minor is holistic.  After completing the introductory courses, students can craft their trajectory through the major, taking  advanced courses in their areas of interest, such as in acting, playwriting, solo performance, directing, design, performance studies and theater research, stage management, and technical theater. 

A Theater and Performance Studies major culminates with a senior comprehensive project in the student’s area of interest supported by direct mentorship and guidance from department faculty and staff. 

Located in the arts capital of Los Angeles, the department engages with community partners and arts institutions. From attending productions at southern California theaters to bringing arts education into local schools to a sustained internship program to bringing in local artists into our classes and to our relationship with Oxy Arts, being in the city of Los Angeles is integral to our work. 

The department taps into national and international theater movements, and frequently hosts guest artists, speakers, and performers from around the world. 

Students in Theater and Performance Studies will: 

  • Become collaborative artist-scholars with a deep understanding of the power of performance in and on the world.
  • Find their own voices and the means to express those voices through learning aesthetic and creative skills.
  • Combine theory and practice through embodied expression.
  • Engage with the local and global community through the practice and study of live performance.
  • Transform their ideas into performed expressions inside and outside of the theater.

Requirements

 

Major

The major consists of 44 units. Students who major in the Department of Theater pursue the following program of study:

THEA 101Dramatic Literature: The Art of Reading Scripts

4 units

THEA 110Performance in Action

2 units

THEA 120Introduction to Technical Theater

4 units

THEA 175Introduction to Design

4 units

THEA 301Topics in Theater History

4 units

Production Laboratory

Two semesters of:

THEA 121Production Laboratory

1 unit

And/or

THEA 122Intensive Production Laboratory

2 units

* A minimum of 2 units must consist of two semesters of Production Lab (THEA 121 or THEA 122) in two different areas (one must be a running crew.) The THEA 121/THEA 122 requirement must be completed by the end of the junior year.

Design or Technical Theater

Four units selected from:

THEA 244Stage Management

2 units

THEA 245Stage Makeup

2 units

THEA 246Costume Construction

2 units

THEA 248Sound Design for Theater, Dance, and Multimedia

2 units

THEA 250Period Styles for Stage and Screen

4 units

THEA 275Scenic Design

4 units

THEA 320Advanced Technical Theater

4 units

THEA 325Lighting Design

4 units

THEA 330Producing the Live Event

4 units

THEA 370Costume Design

4 units

Electives

Sixteen units from other Theater or approved interdisciplinary courses.

The Department welcomes interdisciplinary programs and double majors, and will work carefully with students interested in such programs. Up to 8 units of select courses from Film, Music, Art, Art History, and Dramatic Literature may be applied to the Theater Major in consultation with the department chair.

Honors in the Major

To receive College Honors in the department of Theater, the student must be a major and achieve a 3.50 grade point average in departmental courses. In addition, the student must achieve a 3.25 grade point average overall and receive a grade of Pass with Distinction on the senior comprehensive project.

Minor

The minor consists of a minimum of 20 units.

THEA 101Dramatic Literature: The Art of Reading Scripts

4 units

THEA 110Performance in Action

2 units

THEA 120Introduction to Technical Theater

4 units

 

THEA 175Introduction to Design

4 units

Or

Production Laboratory

Two semesters of Production Laboratory:

THEA 121Production Laboratory

1 unit

One semester of THEA 121 must be a running crew.

Electives

Four units of additional Theater coursework 200-level or above.

Second-Stage Writing Proficiency

Students majoring in Theater will fulfill Occidental College's second-stage writing requirement by completing a significant research and analytical paper, earning a minimum grade of B-, written in THEA 301 or THEA 302.

Comprehensive Requirement

The Department has established standards of excellence in theoretical analysis, performance, and production that our students meet by completing a comprehensive project in the senior year.

Information concerning all phases of the senior project can be obtained from the Department Chair.

The department accomplishes the college objectives for the Senior Comprehensive by having each candidate, having completed the THEA 121/THEA 122 requirement, (1) propose a creative or research project; (2) submit a paper of research and/or preparation during the comprehensive process, to be discussed with the faculty; and (3) execute the project. Projects may include but are not limited to acting, directing, design, playwriting, stage management, technical direction, theater management, and scholarly research. See the department for details.

Advising Information

Because the development of a theater artist is enhanced by time as well as training, we encourage students considering a Theater major or minor to consult with department faculty and begin taking courses in the first year. Students interested in the major should consider taking THEA 101 (Dramatic Literature: The Art of Reading Scripts) during the fall of their first year. In addition, students wishing to major in Theater will ideally complete THEA 110 (Introduction to Performance), THEA 120 (Introduction to Technical Theater), and THEA 175 (Introduction to Design) by the end of their second year.

Placement Results

No placement exams are specifically required for the Theater major. 

Sample 4-Year Plan


Fall

Spring

Year 1

  • Fall FYS course

  • THEA 101 (CPFA, CPUD)

  • Foreign Language (4 or 5 units)

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • Spring FYS course

  • THEA 110 (2 units)

  • THEA 120

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • General Elective (2 units)

Year 2

  • THEA 121/THEA 122

  • THEA Elective (2 units)

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

Year 3

  • THEA Elective (4 units)

  • THEA Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

Year 4

  • THEA Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • THEA Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

Transfer Credit Policies

The Theater Department does not accept online courses for transfer credit.

While there is not an AP examination in Theater, qualifying IB or A-level examination scores in Theater will earn four units of credit. These four units may be applied toward the major or minor in substitution of an elective course.

Students may apply up to two courses (eight units of credit), or up to four courses (16 units of credit) in transfer for participation in a conservatory program, toward the major. Those who entered as a transfer student or those who took a leave of absence from the College for at least a semester may apply up to four courses (16 units of credit) in transfer toward the major. Students may apply one course (four units) in transfer toward the minor.

Students should reference the Transfer Credit section for more details.

Special Programs

In the summer, Occidental College hosts the annual Occidental Children's Theater at the Remsen Bird Hillside Amphitheater. Academic credit is available for this program through THEA 197 or THEA 397. Off-campus internships in professional theater and film may be arranged during the academic year or summer through the Department of Theater and the Hameetman Career Center. Support for undergraduate research and travel are available both during the academic year and during the summer. Contact the Department Chair and the Undergraduate Research Center for more information. We encourage Theater students to participate in study abroad. Information on approved programs is available through the International Programs Office. Credit toward the major may be available.

Courses

Theater Courses