CofC Logo

Our Mission and Vision

MISSION

The Department of Theatre and Dance offers distinctive and diverse opportunities for students at the College of Charleston, as well as for the College and community as a whole. The Department provides broad instruction at the undergraduate level in theatre and dance within local and global contexts, as well as in-depth instruction and experience in the practice of theatre and dance in a liberal arts setting. At the graduate level, we provide focused instruction in theatre education. The melding of theory and practice in these disciplines stimulates the skills necessary for a successful life both in and out of the professional arts. Additionally, the Department presents a production program that furthers the understanding of the creative process and showcases the accomplishments of our students. This program provides entertainment and thought-provoking theatre and dance for the College and community at an artistically high level.

 
VISION

In On the Parts of Animals, Aristotle divides systematic knowledge into two distinct types: one being "scientific" or detailed knowledge of a given subject, the other being an "educational acquaintance" or critical knowledge of the subject. Aristotle and later Renaissance era thinkers noted the distinction and promulgated the ideal of the liberal education--possession of at least a critical awareness of all subjects. The liberally educated person should have the knowledge to judge the likely truth or falsehood of a proposition about any subject by someone purporting to be an expert in that subject and thus be "liberated" from ignorance.

The educational goals of the Department of Theatre and Dance are twofold and treat the two types of knowledge with equal importance--the ideal graduating theatre and dance student has detailed knowledge of a chosen area of the theatre and dance art as well as critical knowledge of other theatre disciplines and all the arts and sciences. Implied in the latter is a critical awareness of the diversity and importance of the entire world's cultures and their individual contributions in theatre specifically and to the world in general. It is crucial to both goals that the student develop a strong ability to communicate detailed and general knowledge, verbally and in writing, and to at least understand the graphical languages of visual communication. The areas of "detailed" knowledge within the department have more specific goals which are outlined below.

The classroom goals of the Department of Theatre and Dance are anchored by a common belief. The faculty agrees that an essential component of all aspects of theatre and dance education is a strong grasp of the craft and practical aspects of the art form. Just as the sciences in the liberal arts promote a sound practical understanding through laboratory experience, all aspects of the Department of Theatre and Dance seek to provide the student with meaningful experience in the foundation skills upon which theatre and dance production and criticism rest. To this end, recommended course sequences in acting, design, theatre for youth and general theatre begin with craft experience and build toward aesthetic and holistic understanding. The ultimate goal is a level of detailed knowledge which, combined with a liberal knowledge of the humanities, allow the student to pursue advanced theatre studies, to seek employment in the industry, or to pursue a career in any field of choice.

In support of this goal all production practices are explicitly linked via classroom discussions and assignments with the theory and literature of the theatrical art form. A strong process-oriented approach is taken both in instruction and in faculty production work as an example to the student of the advantages of well-rounded working methods that draw not only upon craft and art skills but also upon a solid knowledge of literature, history and the humanities.

The Department extends the pursuit of these goals beyond the classroom by including in its production program works from other cultures, other languages (in translation), and modes of thought other than those found in Western European or English-language cultures.