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The Theatre Arts Major at Earlham College was developed and approved in 1986, arising out of the need for and development of individual majors in the arts. As a result, the Theatre Arts Major is more comprehensive and better suited to meet the educational needs and career development of theatre artists.
The faculty of the Theatre Arts Department firmly believes that the strongest and best preparation for a career in theatre is an excellent liberal arts education. Understanding other disciplines and their ways of thinking helps to depict human society, past and present, in the plays brought into performance. The interdisciplinary nature of theatre requires a broad base of knowledge and experience.
The curriculum provides comprehensive background in all major aspects of theatre. Academic theory is integrated with practical application through student participation in theatrical productions and in-class projects. Each student's progress in the various arts and craft of theatre is, of course, entirely determined by that student's initiative, ambition, talent, energy and dedication.
The liberal arts approach offered in theatre is for the specialist as well as the generalist. Classes are environments for discovery and discussion in a supportive atmosphere. We encourage interaction and participation in this comprehensive program, so that the students who take full advantage of the opportunities offered will be well equipped to enter graduate school or begin the apprenticeship process leading to work in the professional theatre.
Earlham students often choose to participate in off-campus study to enrich their education. The New York Arts Program is popular. There, students pursue internships in a professional theatre, while living in New York City for a semester. Theatre students also choose the London Program. In London, they regularly attend theatrical performances as a part of their course of study.
Recent graduates from the Theatre Arts Department have gone in two general directions — graduate studies and pre-professional training. We've had students attending some of the finest graduate programs in the country such as Yale University and New York University. Graduates have participated in professional internship programs at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Steppenwolf in Chicago and in companies in Minneapolis, Seattle, St. Louis and San Francisco. Still others use the creative, organizational, communication and interpersonal skills developed from the Theatre Arts Major in occupations not related to theatre directly, from teaching of cognitively impaired middle-school students to sports broadcasting to business management.
Actor Owiso Odera '96 means to change the way Hollywood tells Africa’s story, and in so doing tell his own. He has appeared in recurring roles in such television series' as "Numb3rs," "Flash Forward," "Three Rivers" and "The Unit."
Dan McCoy '00 finds himself at the top of his profession as a staff writer for “The Daily Show,” hosted by Jon Stewart. It is the first time he has held a full-time job in comedy. But this is not as improbable as it sounds.