Program Overview


Theatre and dance are performing arts that present imaginative worlds to the senses. Because they invite us to create, shape, and communicate our understandings of identity and value, they also help us make sense of the world around us. And because they involve us as individuals and as a community in ongoing journeys of making and sharing, forming and performing, viewing and reviewing, theatre and dance also have the power to change lives. As a faculty, we are committed to sharing the joys of discovery, the rigors of craft, and the insights of criticism. We believe in making performances that are both challenging and entertaining for our students and for the greater community.

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The Department of Theatre and Dance involves students in creative inquiry, embodied knowledges, inventive collaboration and skillful expression of ideas in order to prepare them for lives of leadership, service, and excellence in the arts, culture and business of the future. Each student in Theatre and Dance explores performance, design, technology and research in a multifaceted liberal arts context. Theatre and Dance students acquire foundational skills in multiple aspects of performance and production. Majors are also expected to immerse themselves in the history, theory and literature of their art form in order to develop individual identities as artist-thinkers.

The Department’s mission emphasizes the value of performance as a vital means of working for social justice and personal transformation.

The Department mentors majors and non-majors alike in explorations of the many ways theatre and dance artists interpret and affect society. Students and faculty collaborate on creative research projects designed to raise awareness, create community, foster self-expression, challenge stereotypes, evoke compassion, and represent diverse perspectives. Advanced seminars and capstone experiences enable students to develop and articulate their own unique senses of vocation, purpose and creative vision for life and art beyond college

Theatre and Dance Department performance events entertain and challenge Gustavus audiences with dynamic, innovative productions. The department also seeks to serve the greater St. Peter community with the artistic excellence and educational outreach so important to our work. The Department is committed to being a resource for the expression of community concerns, histories, and story-telling.

The Department’s program prepares students for graduate study and/or for professional work in the fields of Theatre and Dance. It also provides students with experience and confidence with collaboration, creative imagination, self-expression, problem-solving, critical analysis and empathy—abilities crucial to every walk of life.

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Majors and Minors

Both the Theatre major and the Dance major consist of a sequence of courses culminating in a senior project. The Theatre major is intended to produce insightful interpreters, skillful collaborators, and expressive creators of theatre art; it lays the foundation for graduate studies and beginning level work in theatre or such allied fields as broadcasting, communications, arts management, and human services. The Dance major is intended to produce technically skilled, articulate movers, who use dance as a way to perceive, discover, create and communicate. In addition, the department offers a Theatre minor, Dance minor and Theatre for Social Justice minor. Majors and minors are strongly encouraged to consider a professional internship or international study program. Such programs are arranged individually, based on the interests and skills of the student.

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