2011-2012 University Catalog 
2011-2012 University Catalog

■ Theater

Performing Arts Building, Room A407
Phone: 703-993-1120
Web: theater.gmu.edu


Ken Elston, Chair

Professors: D’Andrea (Robinson Professor), Davis, McDonald

Associate Professors: Austin, Elston, Gero, Johnsen-Neshati, Kurtz

Term Associate Professor: Chew

Adjunct Faculty: Cetron, Gaines, Lechter, Lee, Maier, McManus, Mountain, Murray, Nanni-Messegee, Wallace, Wilson

Course Work

The Theater Department offers all course work designated THR in the Courses  chapter of this catalog.

Undergraduate Programs


The Theater Department offers BA and BFA degrees, both requiring completion of 120 hours of course work.  Entrance into either program is by audition, portfolio review, or interview.  Information about the audition, portfolio review and interview process, including dates, can be found on the department web page, theater.gmu.edu or by calling the department office at 703-993-1120.  Admission to the University is determined by the Admissions Office.

The department aims to prepare students for graduate study or entry into the profession through rigorous, concentrated, and individualized training; however, students are encouraged to maintain wide-ranging interests within the department and throughout the university’s extensive offerings.

Students seeking to earn a BA or BFA as a second bachelor’s degree, either concurrently or sequentially, must complete all theater degree requirements. Students must earn a minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA in their major.

Theater BA

Theater majors may organize their advanced work within the major to include classes in at least two of the concentration areas.

Theater BA Concentrations

Theater majors may apply to complete their degree in one of the following concentrations: Design and Technical Theater, Performance (Acting and Directing), Playwriting and Dramaturgy, Teaching Theater, or Theater Studies.  Information about the application can be found on the department web page, theater.gmu.edu or by calling the department office at 703-993-1120.

Theater BFA Concentrations

Design for Stage and Screen

Performance for Stage and Screen

Writing and Dramaturgy for Stage and Screen

Writing-Intensive Requirement

The university requires all students to complete at least one course designated writing-intensive in their major at the 300 level or above. Students seeking a BA in theater fulfill this requirement by successfully completing THR 350, THR 351, or THR 482.

Certification to Teach Theater

The theater education concentration is approved by the Virginia State Department of Education and administered through the College of Education and Human Development, which is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).  Minimum scores on the Praxis I and VCLA tests must be achieved before state licensure is granted.

Students must be formally accepted into the Teaching Theater concentration.  See Teaching Theater concentration for a complete list of requirements.

Production Opportunities

Participation in Theater at Mason productions is expected of all declared majors.

All Theater majors must enroll in THR 191 each semester.  It is a zero (0) credit class, graded S/NC, that is successfully completed by attending productions, guest lectures, workshops; participation in production load-in; and participation in production strike.

Students must also earn four (4) practicum credits, one (1) credit for satisfactory completion of each of four (4) performance and production assignments in the major, including faculty or guest-directed Mason Players Mainstage, Studio, or Theater of the First Amendment (TFA) productions.

  • THR 196 assignments including actor, designer, assistant designer, stage manager, and assistant stage manager.
  • THR 197 assignments include director, assistant director, dramaturg, master electrician, technical director, playwright, house management, and publicity.
  • THR 198 assignments include scenery construction and painting, costume construction, electrician, and props.
  • THR 199 assignments include stage crew, light board operator, sound board operator, wardrobe, and fly crew.

TFA, a professional theater in residence within the Theater Department, offers students the chance to work closely with professional artists. TFA productions regularly employ student assistants in stage management, directing, design, dramaturgy, technical crews, and production and company management. Students are eligible to audition for age-appropriate roles or understudy assignments in TFA productions and may participate in the Membership Candidate Program through the Actors’ Equity Association.

Academic Policies

Please see College of Visual and Performing Arts  academic policies.


    Undergraduate DegreeUndergraduate MinorBachelor’s/Accelerated Master’s ProgramMaster’s Level Certificate