School of Theatre and Dance

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Arts

  • Dance
  • Theatre

Bachelor of Fine Arts

  • Acting
  • Musical Theatre
  • Puppetry
  • Theatre Design & Technology


  • Theatre
  • Technical Production
  • Dance


All theatre degree programs at West Virginia University are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST).

Nature of Program

The School of Theatre & Dance offers a competitive training program for the student who seeks artistic growth and development.  The School trains students in modern, state-of-the-art facilities with an emphasis on experiential learning in either a B.A. or B.F.A. degree program.  We offer intensive training by professionals in the industry with small classes and one-on-one mentoring.

Mission Statement

We, the faculty and staff, educate students in the diverse traditions and practices of theatre and dance.  We challenge each student to engage and confront—vigorously, honestly, and innovatively—the many processes of collaborative theatre and dance.  We exemplify to our students the role of creative artists to develop, to explore, and to contribute meaningfully to the world they inhabit.


The School annually produces five to seven major productions in three major performance spaces: the Gladys G. Davis Theatre, Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre, and the Vivien Davis Michael Laboratory Theatre, all in the Creative Arts Center.  The School also occasionally produces in the historic Metropolitan Theatre in downtown Morgantown.  These productions provide practical experience for all theatre students and serve the community audience with a balance of classic and contemporary drama, dance, opera, and musical theatre.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the School of Theatre & Dance are employed in professional theatre, radio, television, and film.  Others have chosen careers in fashion design, commercial sales, makeup, lighting design and installation, law, and positions in the public arena.  Undergraduates are frequently offered graduate student positions with leading university training programs offering M.F.A. study.


The College of Creative Arts offers a limited number of special College-based scholarship awards for freshman and current students enrolled in its programs. College-based awards are granted on the demonstration of outstanding talent, academic achievement, and the demonstration of future potential for success in the Theatre & Dance program.

Information regarding both University, College of Creative Arts, and Theatre & Dance scholarships can be found at

Admission Requirements

Auditions or interviews are required for admission into the B.F.A. theatre programs and the B.A. dance program.  Additionally, all students must meet the University's criteria for undergraduate admission.  Auditions are required for acting, musical theatre, and dance.  Interviews and portfolio reviews are required for theatre design and technology and puppetry.  The B.A. in theatre does not require an audition/interview but applicants must still meet undergraduate admissions requirements.

Upon entrance, students must comply with the general regulations of the University concerning degrees, satisfy all entrance and divisional requirements, and complete one of the curricula of the School of Theatre & Dance with a 2.0 (C) grade point average.  Students are required to successfully complete a semesterly review with the faculty which may include an interview, scene work, audition piece, or other type of jury.

For admission to the junior year of the School of Theatre & Dance, a student must have established an overall 2.0 (C) grade point average.  Transfer students must establish transfer credit from other institutions during the first semester in which they are enrolled in the School of Theatre & Dance.

Students are responsible for correctly fulfilling all requirements.  Each student should review the course requirements both before and after every registration period so that errors or omissions will be detected immediately.

film courses

FILM 101. The Art of Film 1. 3 Hours.

A survey of the history of cinema from its earliest forms and experimentation through the end of the monopoly of the studio system (c. 1960).

FILM 102. The Art of Film 2. 3 Hours.

A survey of the history of cinema from the rise of the auteur (c. 1960) to present trends, specifically examining American cultural dominance.

Theatre Courses

THET 101. Introduction to the Theatre. 3 Hours.

(Open to all students.) A survey of the nature and function, the arts and crafts, and major phases in the historical development of the theatre.

THET 102. Acting. 3 Hours.

(Open to all students.) Basic theories and concepts in stage acting for the beginning student. Emphasis on the physical, intellectual, emotional, and personality languages of acting.

THET 103. Stagecraft. 3 Hours.

Fundamentals of scenery construction and technical theatre through formal lecture. Requirements include assignments on running crews for Division productions.

THET 104. Stagecraft Lab. 1 Hour.

PR: or CONC: THET 103. (May be repeated for a maximum of 3 credits.) Fundamentals of scenery construction and technical theatre through practical crew experience. Requirements include assignements on scenic construction for Division productions.

THET 105. Costuming. 3 Hours.

Introduction to Stage Costuming through lecture and demonstration. Emphasis on the application of basic sewing skills and processes used in costume construction.

THET 106. Costuming Lab. 1 Hour.

(May be repeated for a maximum of 3 credit hours.) Introduction to stage costuming through practical experience. Emphasis on the application of basic sewing skills and processes used in costume construction for Division productions.

THET 113. Stage Management Principles. 1 Hour.

An examination of the fundamental principles that govern the contemporary stage manager.

THET 143. Freshman Directing Workshop. 1 Hour.

Exploration of the collaborative relationship between actor and director from the actor's point of view.

THET 144. Fundamentals of Acting. 3 Hours.

PR: Theatre major. An introduction to the fundamental techniques of acting with a focus on ensemble building, action, imagination, concentration of attention, and objectives. Course projects include structured improvisations and exercises leading to beginning scene study in Realism. Pre-requisite(s) and/or co-requisite(s) may differ on regional campuses.

THET 160. Theatre Fundamentals. 3 Hours.

An examination of basic theatre concepts, the roles of practitioners in the production process, and an analysis of scripts in light of major theoretical and critical movements.

THET 170. World Theatre and Drama. 3 Hours.

Introduction to theatre and drama traditions in ten world cultures. An intercultural study of theaters, performance and staging practices, the cultural milieu, and dramatic literature.

THET 191. First-Year Seminar. 1-3 Hours.

Engages students in active learning strategies that enable effective transition to college life at WVU. Students will explore school, college and university programs, policies and services relevant to academic success. Provides active learning activities that enable effective transition to the academic environment. Students examine school, college and university programs, policies and services.

THET 200. Production Practicum. 1 Hour.

PR: THET 104 or THET 106 or consent. (May be repeated for a maximum of 4 hours.) Assigned theatre projects as an introduction to the elements of theatrical production.

THET 213. Stage Management Practicum. 2 Hours.

PR or CONC: THET 113. Practical production experience as stage manager. (May be repeated for a maximum of 6 hrs.).

THET 219. Intermediate Costume Construction. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 105. Study and practical application of costume construction techniques and introduction to pattern making with an emphasis on their applications through extensive hands-on experience with construction projects for division productions.

THET 220. Fundamentals of Lighting. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 103. Fundamentals of stage lighting through formal lecture and practical experience. Laboratory requirements include assignments on the lighting/electrics crews for school productions.

THET 221. Theatre Makeup. 3 Hours.

Lecture-laboratory course in art of stage makeup. Practical makeup for the University Theatre productions.

THET 222. Drafting for the Stage. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 103. Techniques in drafting in accordance with current graphic standards for stage design and technology. Introduction and refinement of technique and graphic style through projects and exercises.

THET 225. Introduction to Stage Design 1. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 110 and THET 111. Study elements/principles of two/three dimensional design and application to scenery, lighting and costume design. Emphasis on creative analysis and communication using techniques in drawing, painting, and model making.

THET 226. Introduction to Stage Design 2. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 225. Experience applying elements/principles of two/three dimensional design to study of scenery, lighting, and costume design. Studio course focusing on color theory, painting and finishing techniques in model making.

THET 230. Text Analysis. 3 Hours.

For the student theatre practitioner in acting, design, directing, and stage management. Explorations include: anchoring techniques, concept of pressures, and the parameters of a dramatic event.

THET 231. Advanced Text Analysis. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 230. For the student practitioner in the studio acting program only exploring, in more depth, and with new challenging texts, analysis techniques of THET 230 but with total focus on performing the text.

THET 240. Fundamental Vocal Techniques. 2 Hours.

PR: Majors only. Developing the expressive voice. Understanding the anatomy and physiology of the voice, breath and resonance. Release of physical blocks.

THET 242. Fundamentals of Movement. 2 Hours.

PR: Consent. An investigation into the fundamentals of human movement, and issues of movement in performance. Exercises concentrate on the development of spatial and self-awareness, ensemble skills, and character development.

THET 244. Intermediate Acting. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 144. Continued exploration of acting techniques including exercise work in objectives, beats, actions, personalization, environment improvisation, monologue, and scene study work.

THET 245. Intermediate Acting. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 244. Continuation of THET 244.

THET 293. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

THET 300. Practicum. 1 Hour.

PR: THET 104 or THET 106 or consent. (May be repeated for a maximum of 4 credit hours.) Assigned independent production projects supervised by a faculty mentor.

THET 301. History of Western Theatre. 3 Hours.

A survey of important movements, people, innovations, styles, and traditions in European and American theatre from the Greeks to the present.

THET 302. Directing. 3 Hours.

Fundamental theory and practice of directing for live theatre with emphasis on script analysis, director-actor communication, ground plan, and composition.

THET 310. Stagecraft 2. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 103. Study of advanced technical procedures including welding, materials, wood joinery, and practical construction problem solving. Emphasis on the practices and development of skills through projects.

THET 312. Theatrical Rigging. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 222. An examination of the tools, equipment, hardware, and safety practices commonly used in theatrical rigging.

THET 315. Portfolio Development. 3 Hours.

A 3 hour lab course on techniques of portfolio development focusing on both digital and traditional portfolio formats and related general techniques of graphic design and image preparation.

THET 321. Stage Properties. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 103. Techniques and methods for designing and fabricating stage properties for theatrical production. Practical experience in the construction of properties for class projects and for the School's productions.

THET 322. Scene Design. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 222 and THET 225. Introduction to the fundamentals of scenic design including conceptualization, development, drafting, rendering, model building and techniques of design presentation.

THET 323. Advanced Scene Design. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 322. (May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credit hours.) Advanced study of scenic design with an emphasis on conceptualization, rendering, model building, and alternative forms of design presentation for the performing arts.

THET 324. Costume Design 1. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 226. Study of basic design elements as applied to costume design. Script analysis leading to conceptualization and communication through visual language. Experience in practical organization skills, paperwork and budgeting.

THET 325. Lighting Design. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 220. Experience in the design of stage lighting including conceptualization, drafting and rendering techniques related to the development and presentation of lighting design.

THET 326. Advanced Costume Design. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 324. Experience applying the basic principles of costume design to text, movement text, opera, dance, and puppetry. Emphasis on rendering techniques, presentation, composition, and fabric selections. (May be repeated for a max of 6 credit hours.).

THET 327. History of Costume and Decoration 1. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 225 and THET 226. A historical survey of clothing, artistic style and decoration from ancient Egypt to 1750. Emphasis on how stage designers employ style in the design of costumes, scenery, and properties. (Field trip required.).

THET 328. History of Costume and Decoration 2. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 225 and THET 226. A historical survey of clothing, artistic style, and decoration from 1750 to the present. Emphasis on how stage designers employ style in the design of costumes, scenery and properties. (Field trip required.).

THET 329. Computer Assisted Design for the Stage. 3 Hours.

3 Hr. PR: THET 222. Study of the graphic applications of computer assisted design and drafting for stage design through project work and exercises in a studio format.

THET 330. Rendering Techniques. 3 Hours.

This course allows the students to explore and develop different techniques of rendering scenic, costume, and lighting designs. Students will work in watercolor, acrylic, marker, pencil and other media.

THET 340. Intermediate Vocal Techniques 1. 2 Hours.

PR: THET 240 and consent. Extending vocal range, power, and flexibility. Achieving personal connection between words and self. Formation of speech sounds.

THET 341. Intermediate Vocal Techniques 2. 2 Hours.

PR: THET 340 and consent. Developing of flexibility and muscularity of the voice. Phonetics.

THET 342. Stage Movement 1. 2 Hours.

PR: THET 242 and consent. Continuation of THET 242. Workshop in movement skills related to the actor's craft, including the analysis, description and execution of a broad range of movement qualities.

THET 343. Stage Movement 2. 2 Hours.

PR: THET 342 or consent. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit hours. An exploration of compositional techniques through the development of original performance material using movement as a basis. Will include a study of the history of theatrical performance art works and artists.

THET 344. Acting Studio. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 244 or consent. The purpose of studio is to reexamine basic acting principles and introduce advanced techniques in characterization, personalization, and given circumstances through exercises, monologue work, and intensive scene study coordinated with rehearsal and performance in THET 345.

THET 345. Acting Studio. 3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Continuation of THET 344. Applied application of intermediate work in personalization, given circumstances, action, and objectives. Includes rehearsal and performance of play from the Modern Contemporary Theatre.

THET 346. Actor's Craft. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 244. Gives the general theatre student a studio style acting class experience, emphasizing exercises and monologue and scene work in a variety of styles.

THET 348. Studio Scene Study 1. 1 Hour.

PR: THET 244. The presentation of scenes chosen from modern and contemporary theatre, before a panel of acting, voice, and movement faculty for critique.

THET 352. Acting the Song. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 144. Exploration of lyric, rhyme, imagery, storytelling, phrasing, musical composition and overall theme of a song for clues the actor can use in performance.

THET 355. Musical Theatre Studio. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 244 and MUSC 226. (May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit hours.) Examine, explore and execute acting techniques and styles applicable to the musical through scene and musical performance study as well as classroom exercises.

THET 365. Traditions of Dramatic Literature. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 260 or THET 301. An overview of dramatic literature from the Greeks to Pinter. The class will study one play per week in a seminar-style format with written assignments appropriate to a Writing course.

THET 370. Production Dramaturgy. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 112. A process-oriented course dealing with the demands and possibilities for dramaturges in the contemporary theatre. Casebooks and work with other sources contribute to the skill set for dramaturges assisting productions.

THET 375. Puppet Construction. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 105. This studio class focuses on puppetry through the study of basic mechanical systems, printing, sculpting, sewing and finishing techniques.

THET 393. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

THET 400. Advanced Production Practicum. 1 Hour.

PR: THET 200 or consent. (May be repeated for a maximum of 6 hours.) Assigned advanced production projects that are supervised by a faculty mentor.

THET 401. Capstone Experience. 3 Hours.

This course provides a culminating senior project for students in the areas of BFA acting, design, puppetry, and children's theatre, as well as for the BA in theatre.

THET 402. Repertory Theatre. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Rehearsal and performance techniques for producing plays in rotating repertory. Emphasis is on the creation of synthesized company of performers, designers, and technicians. (May be repeated for maximum of 12 credit hours.).

THET 403. Advanced Directing. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 302. Emphasis on the work of the director as an integrating artist. High level of proficiency in the direction of a one-act play is required of all students enrolled.

THET 404. Playwriting. 3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Development of basic playwriting techniques. Specific assignments explore characterization, dramatic event, dialogue, tension, compression. Emphasis on the student finding one's own voice, style, and courage to dramatize one's view of the world.

THET 405. Advanced Playwriting. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 404. Further exploration of dramatic technique, with emphasis on orchestrating the longer play. Also touches on script analysis of known dramatic texts and on practical problems of a playwriting career.

THET 421. Lighting Design 2. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 325 and THET 200. An advanced study of lighting design with emphasis on design development, cueing, and design refinement during technical rehearsals.

THET 422. Advanced Stage Makeup. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 221. An Advanced study of stage makeup materials and techniques. Intensive focus on facial anatomy, casting, sculpting, and design.

THET 423. Costume Crafts. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 111 and THET 425. Identification and application of the materials and techniques used in the fabrication of costume crafts. Emphasis on research and practical experience through hands on project work.

THET 424. Advanced Technical Production. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 103 and THET 222. Detailed study of the fundamentals and principles of technical production. Emphasis on budgeting theatrical productions and developing leadership skills.

THET 425. Advanced Costume Construction. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 111. Study and practical application of costume construction techniques through development of flat-pattern drafting skills. Emphasis on use of research to interpret the costume rendering. Extensive hands-on experience with construction projects for Division productions. (May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit hours.).

THET 426. Automation. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 329. Automation is the exploration of motorized equipment used in the arts and how it can be utilized for production purposes. Topics from electricity to mechanical design will be discussed.

THET 427. Lighting Technology. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 220. An advanced study of the tools and technology available to lighting designers with an emphasis on the programming required of the latest technological developments in moving lights and control.

THET 428. Scene Painting. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 322 and THET 622 or consent. An introduction to the basic tools, materials, and techniques of scene painting for the stage.

THET 429. Sound Seminar. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 103 and THET 104. An exploration of sound design and equipment for the theatre with practical emphasis on producing and recording sound effects using computer software.

THET 433. Model Building. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 225 and THET 226. Design and construction methods of the scenographic model are examined. Mastery is attained through the construction of three or four projects in the design studio.

THET 435. Theatre Health and Safety. 3 Hours.

Course investigates common health and safety issues encountered in Theatrical Production. Examines the laws and governing agencies in the theatrical industry. Certifies students in CPR and First Aid.

THET 440. Advanced Vocal Techniques. 2 Hours.

PR: Consent. Meeting the demands of heightened texts requiring greater emotional and physical commitments. Tutorials.

THET 441. Advanced Vocal Techniques 2. 2 Hours.

PR: THET 440 and consent. Integrating vocal techniques in the context of rehearsal and performance in plays of heightened text and issues of period and style.

THET 442. Advanced Stage Movement 1. 2 Hours.

PR: THET 343 or consent. Practical application of issues of performance theory and composition. Studies in the relationship of text and movement in performance, and in the development of original performance material that uses movement as a point of departure.

THET 443. Advanced Stage Movement 2. 2 Hours.

PR: THET 442 or consent. Intensive study of issues related to physicality i performance; special topics, which may include, but are not limited to stage combat, mask, and large group composition.

THET 444. Advanced Acting Studio. 3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Continuation of advanced exercises focusing on the works of Shakespeare. Includes verse scansion, text analysis, dynamics, scene study, exercise work and characterization.

THET 445. Advanced Acting Studio. 3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Continuation of THET 444. Rehearsal and presentation of style project, (Shakespeare, Comedy of Manners, Shaw, etc.). Also includes seminars in special topics in performance.

THET 447. Studio Scene Study 2. 1 Hour.

PR: THET 444. The presentation of scenes chosen from Shakespeare and other plays of heightened text, before a panel of acting, voice and movement faculty for critique.

THET 450. The Complete Performer. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 447 and THET 455. This lab-based course employs the best pedagogical approaches to strengthen the abilities of the actor who sings, acts, and dances. Students will work with musicians, lyricists, and book writers toward creating an original musical short, presented at the end of the semester. It is designed to cultivate student ability to compete in the musical theatre community as a triple threat.

THET 455. Advanced Musical Theatre Studio. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 344 and THET 355. (May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit hours.) Presentation of scenes and musical performances from the American Musical Theatre genre (1960-Present) with instruction and critique from a panel of acting, music, and dance faculty. Students will examine, explore and execute acting techniques and styles applicable to the musical through scene and musical performance study and classroom exercises.

THET 460. Contemporary Drama. 3 Hours.

PR: ENGL 102 or ENGL 103. Contemporary drama provides an analysis and exploration of a set of representative living playwrights with research and context. Also, writing and discussion will follow current issues of the periodical American Theatre.

THET 461. Creative Dramatics. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 144. Study and practice of creative drama for theatre education or classroom/curriculum use. Instructional methods for drama techniques and practical activities are stressed.

THET 462. Puppetry. 3 Hours.

Comprehensive study of puppetry as a theatrical form. Construction, manipulation, and production methods for adult and youth audiences are highlighted.

THET 463. Puppetry for Educators. 3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Study of the use of puppetry in the classroom and other educational settings; Construction, manipulation, scripting, story-telling ideas to use with children. Curricular issues will be covered.

THET 464. Children's Theatre. 3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Study of theatre for child audiences. Writing, acting, designing, directing and producing plays with detailed analysis of scripts and children as audience members. (Field trip required.).

THET 490. Teaching Practicum. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Teaching practice as a tutor or assistant.

THET 491. Professional Field Experience. 1-18 Hours.

PR: Consent. (May be repeated up to a maximum of 18 hours.) Prearranged experiential learning program, to be planned, supervised, and evaluated for credit by faculty and field supervisors. Involves temporary placement with public or private enterprise for professional competence development.

THET 492. Directed Study. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. (May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credit hours.) Directed study, reading, and/or research.

THET 493. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

THET 494. Seminar. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Presentation and discussion of topics of mutual concern to students and faculty.

THET 495. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

THET 496. Senior Thesis. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent.

THET 497. Research. 1-6 Hours.

Independent research projects.

THET 498. Honors. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Students in Honors Program and consent by the honors director. Independent reading, study or research.



  • Joshua B. Williamson - M.F.A. (University of Wisconsin - Madison)
    Associate Professor, Lighting & Sound Design


  • Mary McClung - M.F.A. (West Virginia University)
    Costume Design & Technology
  • Jerry McGonigle - M.F.A. (American Conservatory Theatre)
    Acting & Directing

Associate Professors

  • Jessica Morgan Bishop - M.F.A. (The Ohio State University)
    Stage Movement
  • Lee Blair - M.F.A. (University of Florida)
  • Cornel Gabara - M.F.A. (Columbia University)
  • Laura Hitt - M.A. (Trinity Repertory Conservatory/Rhode Island College)
    Voice and Dialect
  • Yoav Kaddar - Ph.D. (State University of New York - Albany) and M.F.A. (University of Washington Seattle)
  • Robert Klingelhoefer
    Scene Design
  • Jay Malarcher - Ph.D. (Louisiana State University)
    Theatre History, Literature, & Criticism

Assistant Professors

  • Radhica Ganapathy - Ph.D. (Texas Tech University)
    Theatre History, Literature, & Criticism
  • General Hambrick - M.F.A. (Texas Christian University)

Clinical Associate Professors

  • Alan McEwen - M.F.A. (University of Oregon)
    Lighting & Sound Design
  • Steven Neuenschwander - M.F.A. (Yale School of Drama)
    Technical Direction and Production Management

Clinical Assistant Professor

  • Tiffany Delligatti - M.F.A. (University of Connecticut)

Teaching Associate Professor

  • Cathy O’Dell - M.F.A. (West Virginia University)
    Theatre, Introduction to Theatre, Acting

Teaching Assistant Professor

  • Irene Alby - M.F.A. (Columbia University)

Part-time Instructors

  • Maureen Kaddar - M.F.A. (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee)

Professors Emeriti

  • Charles Neel - Ph.D.
  • Joann Spencer Siegrist - M.F.A.
  • M. Kathryne Weidebusch
  • John C. Whitty - Ph.D.
    Theatre History

Associate Professors Emeriti

  • James D. Held - M.F.A. (University of Washington)
    Theatre History, World Drama