Jimmy Bickerstaff, M.F.A, Ph.D., Chair
The department of theatre and dance seeks to foster an understanding and appreciation of the theatre arts and dance that is consonant with the mission of Saint Mary’s University. The department provides students with the opportunity to develop pre-professional theatre skills in performance, musical theatre, design, production and management. The department expects students to be able to attain entry-level positions in theatre around the country as well as entrance to graduate-level studies, if they choose. Through its course offerings and productions, the department consistently and consciously promotes a nourishing, diverse and innovative artistic environment at the Winona campus with a commitment to inspiring a life-long pursuit of the theatre as a profession, a vocation or a source of delight or entertainment. Theatre students prepare for careers in the industry by choosing one of five tracks: musical theatre, dance, acting/directing, design/ technology, and theatre studies.
General Department Goals
Engaging in the department’s curriculum or productions facilitates the development of the following knowledge, skills and dispositions:
- Cultural awareness and sensitivity by understanding how theatre functions within a particular historical and cultural context;
- Problem solving and critical thinking by analyzing dramatic literature for interpretation and production;
- An aesthetic sensibility by engaging in the practice and process of theatrical production and discovering meaningful approaches to dramatic criticism;
- Research and communication skills by engaging in efficient and ethical research on various topics of theatre; and
- Specific knowledge of important theatrical movements, works of dramatic literature, and performance theory from the past and present.
The department produces four theatre productions and two dance productions on the Winona campus annually as well as one theatre production in London each fall. There are a variety of other performances and design/technical opportunities including student-directed scenes, one-acts, and graduation projects. Students are also encouraged to participate in the technical aspects of the Page Series which brings to campus several professional performing companies and artists each year. Eligible students are invited to join Alpha Psi Omega, a national theatre honors society.
Stefanníe Valéncia Kierlin Theatre Program in London
Theatre majors who meet institutional requirements and who are in good standing in the department are expected to participate in the London theatre semester in London, England. The London theatre experience, under the guidance of Saint Mary’s University faculty, includes:
- Attending classes in theatre and dance, as well as courses focusing on broader enrichment;
- Attending numerous performances in London’s West End, Off-West End and Fringe theatres;
- Fully mounting a student production in a London theatre;
- Studying at Dublin’s renowned Gaiety School of acting; and
- Traveling to various sites in the United Kingdom as well as additional travel in Europe.
The Lillian Davis Hogan Scholarships are endowed four-year renewable scholarships for bachelor-degree-seeking students intending to major in theatre.
Theatre Department Honors at Graduation
Theatre offers graduating seniors the opportunity to qualify for departmental honors. These honors are to inspire and reward students who have completed outstanding work within the department. The criteria for department honors are a 3.700 department and major field GPA and a 3.300 cumulative GPA. A senior paper and public presentation or similar creative experience judged to be of superior quality by a committee of departmental faculty is also required. Departmental distinction is reserved for students who perform academically at the top level of all graduates from the department.