The mission of Wheaton’s Department of Theatre and Dance is to provide students with a well-rounded practice of making theatre and performance, complemented by theory and dramatic literature.

Central to this education are:

  • An emphasis on theatre as a collaborative art form involving the efforts of directors, performers, designers, playwrights, dramaturgs, stage managers, technical crews, and a host of other off-stage personnel.
  • An emphasis on theatre as a window to diverse cultures, lifestyles and perspectives. Our students explore and understand a vast survey of the human experience through historical and emotional realms.
  • An emphasis on the development of oral and written communication skills.
  • Providing sound constructive criticism in course work and production.

Acting courses at Wheaton encompass multiple levels of study, spanning a range of material from classical to contemporary and experimental. The crucial arts of deep listening and responding generously serve as through lines for text analysis, character development, improvisation, physical occupation of space, engaging an audience and reflecting critically upon one’s own work.

Directing courses at Wheaton place special emphasis on the function of the director as interpreter, organizer and teacher. Directing students may find themselves with opportunities for deeper study and larger independent projects for presentation to the Wheaton audience.

Dance courses at Wheaton are technique-driven, with multiple levels of training in ballet, jazz, contemporary dance, and dance drawn from a range of non-western traditions. The fundamentals of dance are taught in conjunction with an understanding whole-body engagement, alignment, and the kinesthetic expression of the mind-body connection.

Design and technical courses at Wheaton emphasize the fact that design underscores text and performers’ actions. All visual and audio elements in the stage environment illuminate the statements being made in a production and inform what we think and feel during a performance.