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With up to four productions per academic year, students receive ample opportunity to learn the essential skills necessary to pursue acting and directing oriented careers. In addition, undergraduate directing students are able to design and build full productions. With four different venues in which to work, acting and directing students gain first-hand experience with various styles.
Ramsey Theatre housed in the Lied Performing Arts Center, is the main performance venue. With a 52’ X 32’ stage, the space accommodates our larger productions seating up to 675 spectators. This large space helps actors and directors gain a better understanding of the necessary scale of acting and vocal projection required to fill a large house.
Furthermore, the WSC Theatre program utilizes Ley Theatre, housed in the Brandenberg Education Building. This early twentieth-century space was renovated in 1982. With its modifiable thrust stage, Ley Theatre lends a classic atmosphere to productions. Seating space can vary depending on the production, but the venue seats no more than 312. A smaller space than Ramsey, actors and directors gain experience in “scaling down” the acting to establish a closer relationship to their audiences.
And finally, now that the addition of the Theatre Annex is complete, WSC possesses a Black Box Theatre, located on the lower level of the Lied Performing Arts Center. Seating approximately 70, the Black Box is a valuable addition to the WSC Theatre program. In this intimate environment, students gain experience in learning to relate to their audiences in a more realistic and emotionally pure manner. This venue allows actors to internalize their emotion and express it honestly. The closeness of the audience to the action assists directors in gaining a better understanding of the emotional connection between character and spectator that is powered by proximity.
Acting classes at WSC take studio format with integrated analysis and activity components. Acting is offered every fall and teaches students the basic principles of character analysis and stage movement. Actors learn various techniques for creating a believable “life” on the stage. Some of these techniques include emotional memory, sense memory, immediacy, endowment, dealing with physical and emotional obstacles, relaxation, and vocal projection. Regardless of a student’s acting background, Acting is a required course for WSC’s Theatre program for two reasons. First, acting is relationship based. Actors need to create positive working relationships. Acting allows students the opportunity “get to know” their fellow actors in an emotionally supportive environment. And second, Acting acclimates students to Theatre vocabulary in general and WSC specific vocabulary for performance. This common vocabulary significantly aids communication in further WSC production work.
Play Directing instructs students in the basic principles of directing including script analysis, auditioning, blocking, effective communication with actors and technicians, scheduling, time management, creating stage moments, and prompt book development. The students in this course direct a 10-minute scene.
Students in rehearsal for Director’s Showcase.
For more information, please contact:
Gwen Jensen , Ph.D.
Professor and Director
Dept. of Comm. Arts
Wayne, NE 68787
FAX: (402 375-7130