Theatre Mission Statement

The CMU Theatre Arts department combines professional training, academic excellence, and quality theatrical experiences in an environment distinguished by small classes and one-on-one instruction, in addition to the creative, artistic outlet available through the four annual productions. Opportunities for onstage and backstage work are available to all members of the CMU community. All department classwork fulfills the mission of the university and is open to students from all majors. Performance classes, such as Acting and Directing, prepare students for any and all work involving public presentation. History and literature classes, such as Script Analysis, Dramatic Literature, and Theatre History I and II, support and expand the understanding of human culture and history through exploration of the theatre, its influence on the development of societal institutions, and the role theatre plays in the expression of human emotion. Students who take Basic Principles of Theatre also work backstage on one of the productions that semester.

Finally, it is important to explicitly state how the department supports CMU's educational mission: Building Character in the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom: The CMU Theatre department enhances the university mission to pursue knowledge and wisdom as a step to building character. Whether in the classroom or onstage, Theatre Arts students learn about and practice theatre as an exercise in the exploration and expression of the complexity of human existence. Dramatic plays serve as a vehicle for understanding how different peoples have and continue to experience life. In the study of playscripts and in the public presentation of these scripts, our students are forced to consider the given circumstances of the characters they bring to life, including their hopes, desires, and their actions, regardless of how controversial they may be. In so doing, theatre arts students must confront their own beliefs and actions and how they reflect on their character in life situations. Valuing Freedom and Diversity: Creating characters and dramatic situations onstage, whether for public presentation or within the classroom laboratory, require students to approach each character and each situation as unique, respecting the differences which flourish in human society. This demands that students develop a holistic approach to their studies, a panoramic perspective to human relationships. When a student develops a character study, s/he must be willing to see that character from as many different angles as possible (a panoramic view) in order to best understand the characters motives to action. Service and Leadership: Students who work in Theatre Arts completely dedicate themselves to the current artistic project in all its aspects. The work involved requires every student to work in collaboration with others in order to bring an artistic finished product to the public. Theatre is above all a collaborative art. Community Responsibility: Theatre students dedicate themselves to serving the community, while also challenging the community to expand its horizons and its understanding of life. Most importantly, the theatre arts department has a responsibility to work toward an expression of the concerns of the community, while also entertaining.