For more than 30 years Dr. J.R. Gross and the Wofford Theatre Workshop offered students the exhilarating challenges of mounting full-scale theatrical productions as an extra-curricular activity.
Now with the addition of a theatre major, the serious study of theatre in an undergraduate context will allow interested students to focus even more seriously on the art and craft of theatre. The theatre will remain a place where creative and committed students, majors and non-majors, come together to work toward the achievement of common goals in the classroom, in the scene shop and on stage. Thanks to the addition of Jack Ballance as full-time faculty member, technical director and stagecraft professor last year, our production values will continue to improve. Our theatre department will continue to function as a practical laboratory for what students in every department learn about literature, philosophy, religion, psychology, music and art. Additionally, theatre at Wofford will reaffirm its commitment to provide the engaging and thought-provoking entertainment for the Wofford and Spartanburg communities.
The theatre major is an excellent addition to Wofford's curriculum because focused theatre training builds strong analytical skills, increases intellectual flexibility, improves oral and written communication, and builds confidence. The major is an equal balance between theatre and stagecraft classes and dramatic literature. There are available drama courses in English and Foreign Languages which are invaluable to the major. Additionally, Playwriting is being offered for the first time this semester.
The study of theatre and drama is a valuable end in itself, but it is also true that people need to eat, and the theatre at Wofford offers excellent preparation for the professional world. A major in theatre can be appropriate preparation for a variety of careers including medicine, business, law, and academe. Though its rigor makes it a legitimate solo major, the fact that we require only 28 hours of coursework means that it pairs well with majors like Biology, Accounting, English, Psychology, Art History, Creative Writing, and others. Wofford is not a conservatory training program, but the Theatre Department is centered philosophically on the value of theatre as a collaborative endeavor that supports and enhances the liberal arts ideal of disciplined progress in a broad range of areas as solid preparation for living a committed, thoughtful life.
Our long-term goal is for Wofford to be recognized as the best small college theatre department in the southeast and for it to be a a place that talented and committed students come to study. In the next five years we hope to have two more full-time faculty members, a renovated theatre space, a dedicated costume shop, and a steady stream of adjunct faculty and guest directors offering a variety of seminars, workshops and courses.