Theatre and Dance Hosting Open House for Prospective Students

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 24, 2003 — High school students interested in attending Southeast Missouri State University and majoring in theatre and dance are invited to attend an open house Nov. 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., sponsored by Southeast’s Department of Theatre and Dance and the Office of Admissions.

This event will allow prospective students and their families to experience first-hand all that the Department of Theatre and Dance has to offer.

Workshops focusing on dance and stage movement will be taught by Southeast’s professional faculty.  Attendees are encouraged to dress for movement.  Participants will be given a tour of the campus and department facilities.  Lunch will be provided and will allow those attending the event the opportunity to interact with the faculty.  Complimentary admission to the matinee performance of William Shakespeare’s comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will give participants the chance to witness the Department of Theatre and Dance in action.  A post-show reception will be held to allow prospective students to meet the cast and crew.

Dr. Kenn Stilson, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, encourages all students interested in attending Southeast’s theatre and dance program to participate in this upcoming open house.

“An event such as this provides the best way to learn about a department, seeing it in action.  Students will be able to work directly with the faculty and will meet current students to ask questions about the program.  They also will be able to see a production, which is one of the best indicators of the quality of a department,” he said.

The Department of Theatre and Dance at Southeast has three degrees to choose from: a bachelor of fine arts in performing arts, which is an intensive specialist degree; a bachelor of arts in theatre and a bachelor of science in theatre and speech education, which are more general degrees and easily pair with a double major such as education.

According to Stilson, the department places great emphasis on hands-on instruction.

“Each year, the department produces four mainstage and two second-stage faculty directed and choreographed productions, resulting in ample opportunity for students to gain technical and performance experience.”

In addition to the faculty-directed productions, students often direct and choreograph additional projects for performance.  The Department of Theatre and Dance also collaborates with the Department of Music on musical theatre productions.

Students are given the opportunity to gain experience through departmental “workships,” during which they are paid to work in various behind-the-scenes positions of a production, including shop assistant, costume assistant, publicity assistant and box office assistant.

Internships and field experience are other ways students can gain a practical understanding of their prospective careers.  Southeast students have opportunities to complete internships with dance and theatre companies and recently have interned with Stages, Santa Fe Opera, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Huron Playhouse and others.

The faculty of the Department of Theatre and Dance are a team of professional, highly skilled educators who hold expertise in a variety of disciplines, Stilson said.  They have served in positions throughout the country, such as directors, writers, actors, artistic directors, costume designers and others.  Several have been published, including Stilson, who co-authored an acting text that has been studied by acting students since the 1950s, and Dr. Marc Strauss, associate professor of theatre and dance, who co-authored a text exploring a wide range of dance styles.

The Department is actively involved with the Southeastern Theatre Conference, Midwest Theatre Auditions, American College Dance Festival, United States Institute for Theatre Technology and the Kennedy Center/ American College Theatre Festival.  Students can participate in the student organizations Dance Xpressions and University Players and work toward membership in the Black Mask Honorary Society.

The facilities of the department provide a professional atmosphere for students to practice and learn, Stilson says.  Current facilities include a large dance studio, a 500-seat theatre, construction facilities, a 75-seat black-box theatre and three lecture classrooms/design studios, as well as access to two additional dance studios.  A new River Campus for the Visual & Performing Arts is expected to be completed in Fall 2006.

If you are interested in attending Southeast’s theatre and dance program and would like to participate in the open house hosted by the Department of Theatre and Dance, contact Stilson by Oct. 28 at (573) 986-6818 or Danielle Alspaugh, associate director of admissions, at (573) 651-5937.  Pre-registration is required for this event.  For more information, email dalspaugh@semo.edu.