Majors and Minors - Department of Performing Arts - Theatre and Dance - Christopher Newport University

Department of Performing Arts - Theatre and Dance

Majors and Minors

Students of theatre and dance explore a host of intellectual and creative experiences in core coursework, and then focus on a specific area of study in upper-level classes.

Theoretical learning is paired with hands-on work through the entire program. Faculty work alongside students on all creative endeavors, so you’ll learn firsthand how to problem-solve, communicate and lead.

We offer a bachelor of arts in fine and performing arts with a major in theatre, as well as minors in theatre and dance.


Auditions are required for some concentrations.

  • Acting (audition required)
    Explore active and dynamic characters through professional training in vocal and physical expression.
  • Music-theatre / dance (audition required)
    Engage in rigorous performance training integrating acting, singing and dance.
  • Directing / dramatic literature
    Learn theatrical storytelling though dramatic analysis, dynamic staging and collaboration.
  • Arts administration
    Lead the business world into creativity through interdisciplinary study.
  • Design / technical theatre
    Define the world by composition and leadership of the visual and sensory spectacle.
  • Theatre studies
    Formulate your own path with this highly flexible concentration that explores psychology, social identity and history.

Students in the acting and music-theatre/dance concentration must audition for all department productions each semester, and nearly 90 percent of all performance majors perform on the mainstage each season.



The theatre minor allows you to pursue a meaningful exploration of the art of theatre while undertaking a major in another discipline. Theatre minors take an active part in the production process from performance to backstage. If you have a love for theatre, but your primary interest is in another area, the minor is perfect for you.


The dance minor allows you to pursue formal dance study while completing your degree in another area. The program includes theoretical and movement components and is designed to appeal to a broad spectrum of students who may use the minor to complement their major studies.

The Department of Theatre and Dance is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre and holds students to high artistic standards, collaborative conduct and scholastic achievement.

Sample Courses

This course acts as an introduction to Afro-Caribbean folkloric dance performance and its context. A physically rigorous course, students will dance every day. Through supplemental readings, discussions, writing assignments and creative projects, students will gain a deeper understanding of the African nations where the dances have their origins, the nature of the syncretized or creolized culture from which the dances arose, the ritual purpose the dances serve in their communities, and the history of their performance.

This practical workshop introduces students to the basic principles of theatrical makeup design and application. Students will investigate the makeup design process through research, character analysis, production concept, rendering and actualization.

This course explores through reading, discussion and research the symbiotic relationship between the sciences and the performing arts, and specifically, what unique factors make the dramatic text and the theatre an ideal medium to tell the challenging story of scientists and scientific knowledge. As E.O. Wilson states in his 1998 book Consilience, “The greatest enterprise of the mind has always been and always will be the attempted linkage of the sciences and the humanities.” This class will explore the cultural factors and paradigm shifts within the scientific and artistic communities that have created a flowering of contemporary dramatic works such as "Arcadia," "Proof" and "Copenhagen" that explore the scientist and scientific knowledge as a central dramatic metaphor.

There is a fundamental difference between armed and unarmed combat. While hand-to-hand fighting has a core similarity throughout the ages relying greatly on instinct, strength and reflexes, the way people choose to arm themselves is a reflection of era, style, education and social standing. Add to this the inherent challenges presented by weapons of steel and wood on stage and the actor enters a whole new level of technique and discipline. This course will introduce the techniques, theories and historical perspective of armed personal combat. The styles of Elizabethan and Medieval weaponry will be addressed on a rotating basis.

Accessible Undergraduate Catalog
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