The Theatre major at Lewis & Clark offers three concentrations: in dramatic literature/theatre history, in performance, and in design/technical theatre. Because we believe in a well-rounded major experience, these concentrations share a strong core of requirements; but these concentrations also allow some flexibility within the major and do encourage students to pursue their particular interests within the theatre arts.
The concentration in dramatic literature/theatre history might be appropriate for students most interested in playwriting, dramaturgy, or the study of theatre as a branch of literature; the concentration in performance might be appropriate for students most interested in acting, directing, or (again) playwriting; the design/technical theatre concentration might be most appropriate for those interested in the visual components of theatre, in production organization, in set, props, lighting or costume design, or in the construction/implementation of those designs. Senior thesis projects generally reflect a student’s training within a particular concentration. For example, a student concentrating in dramatic literature/theatre history might engage in a major research project on a particular playwright or might write a play or might undertake a dramaturgical project; a student concentrating in performance might direct a play or act in a one-person show; a student concentrating in design/technical theatre might merit a major design assignment in a faculty-directed show. There are no rigid guidelines for senior thesis projects, but we do want them to represent a culmination and a continuation of a student’s training within our Department.
For committed Dance students, the Department offers a minor with a concentration in Dance that combines training in technique, choreography, dance history, and performance analysis. We also offer a theatre minor with a high degree of flexibility in its requirements.
The Department of Theatre offers two scholarships for continuing students (they are not available to entering students). The Howard Ross Warren Scholarship, established in 1988, is awarded to students demonstrating academic excellence in the theatre arts. The Pike/Reynolds Scholarship, established in 1987, is awarded to students demonstrating excellence in the areas of design and technical theatre. We make these awards annually to a small number of outstanding students in our Department.
Because of Lewis & Clark’s longstanding commitment to international study, there is a wide range of opportunity for international travel, including two trips with special interest for theatre students: the London and Ireland programs. All feature superb theatre-going opportunities in major theatre capitals. The London program features internship opportunities in a variety of London theatres. There is also a first-rate domestic opportunity for theatre students: the New York program. This trip also features superb theatre-going opportunities – this time in the theatre capital of the United States. It offers internship opportunities in a variety of New York theatres. A number of our students have returned to New York or London following graduation in order to pursue opportunities they were made aware of through these trips.
Local Connections and Internships
The Department maintains close connections with a number of area theatres. We have been able to provide internship opportunities during the academic year at CoHo Theatre, Miracle Theatre, Hand-to-Mouth Theatre, Artists Repertory Theatre, and Portland Center Stage – all located in Portland. Because of our proximity to Portland’s vibrant theatre scene, we routinely take classes to professional productions. In addition to traditional theatre, there is abundant opportunity to see professional dance performance and contemporary performance/performance art. Each year the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art sponsors a major festival called TBA (Time- Based Art), which features contemporary performance, dance, music, new media and the visual arts.
Majoring or minoring in theatre and dance at Lewis & Clark opens up many different paths for future work or employment. Former students have gone on to found theatre companies in Portland and beyond. Some have gone on to graduate study in acting or playwriting; some have gone on to Ph.Ds in theatre. Some have become professional actors in New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago. Some have become professional designers. Some have gone on to management positions, either inside or outside the world of theatre. Some have become theatre teachers in high schools or colleges, and some have become elementary school teachers. Some have gone on to law school, have become professional dancers, or have gone on to arts administration. The Theatre Department is true to its liberal arts environment: we’re interested in broadly educating our students, inculcating habits of critical thought and life-long learning, and creating opportunities for experiential learning and leadership. Our outlook and the habits of mind we foster prepare our students for the future, but not a future narrowly defined. We want our students to go in whatever direction and however far their imaginations, their training, and their talents might take them.