The Theatre Arts Area offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree in Theatre Arts

TM Fall 2013 photo

 Theatre Arts at Morgan State University is meant to:

1. provide an inclusive undergraduate education in Theatre.  The student will be prepared for graduate school, professional theatre training programs, and teaching of Theatre at the secondary education level. Courses taken in Theatre Arts will provide the foundation for students in their appreciation and understanding of Theatre. 

2. provide all Morgan State University students with educational and theatrical experiences that enhance their understanding and aesthetic appreciation of stage productions and literature.

3. serve as a vital force in the cultural and intellectual life of Morgan State University, the community, and throughout the surrounding area.

The activities of the Theatre Arts area reflect Morgan State University's commitment to excellence in teaching and creative activity. Its principle research mission is creative activity. By directing, acting, designing and writing for the Theatre both in their on-campus laboratory, Turpin-Lamb Theatre, and professionally in American Theatre, the Theatre Arts faculty enhance their artistic capabilities and enrich their effectiveness in the classroom.

 The Theatre Arts program serves as a resource to school teachers in the State of Maryland by providing special performances and study guides for students, and consultation in the areas of theatrical production and curriculum.

Theatre is a collaborative art. Collaboration implies individuals working as a unit and is predicated on mutual respect among those individuals as artists, as scholar, as people.  Theatre is a living art. Because theatre is alive and exists in the present tense, it can bog down--lose its magic--if the human beings engaged in it do not seek or embrace ways of collaborating which release individual intelligences, creative energies, spirits, and courage.    Teaching theatre to the next generation of imaginers, thinkers, and doers expects integrity and accountability to our students, our profession, and our colleague collaborators. And, because teaching Theatre is also a collaborative living art, it is intrinsically bound up with how well its collaborators, its living beings, function together.

The Responsibilities of a MSU Theatre Arts Major

The Theatre Arts Major is Responsible

*     for participating in some capacity in ALL Theatre Morgan events.  No major is exempt from this responsibility.


*     for attending Majors’ Meeting on the 1st Thursdays of each month at 11AM-1PM (university hours) with the exception of convocation days.  In the event of a convocation, the Majors’ Meeting will be held the following Thursday at the same time.  All absences must receive prior approval of the Coordinator of Theatre Arts. 

*     for attending all Theatre Morgan sponsored events, showcases, workshops, collaborations.

*     for participating in all activities assigned to each month’s meeting.  A major missing more than one meeting will be penalized by way of not being eligible to perform in ANY production during that semester.

*     for representing Theatre Morgan in the most professional way when working off-campus in other venues. 

*     for auditioning for each production.  Auditions are a very important tool to assessing your work in the department.  (See page 3.)

*     for forwarding your Morgan email to your personal email account.  All notifications, alerts, and opportunities are submitted to the Theatre Morgan Blackboard account.  All mail is to be sent to a Morgan address.  It is not acceptable to say that you “did not know because you do not check that email account.”

All majors are members of the Ira Aldridge Players (IAP) and are to carry out the duties assigned to them by this organization.  If there has been at any time that an assignment was not performed by the Theatre Arts major it will result in the student losing the privilege to perform in any other production for the following semester for no more than the year.

Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society (ΑΨΩ) is an honor society recognizing participants in collegiate theatre. The Alpha cast (chapter) was founded at Fairmont State College in West Virginia on August 12, 1925 by Professor Paul F. Opp.

The motto of the society is “Seek a Life Useful.” Theatre Morgan’s  Nu Phi cast of Alpha Psi Omega consider a  student’s eligibility for membership based on their grade point average, fulfillment of all departmental requirements, and a dedication to the craft of theatre. Once a student is inducted into the honor society, they become a part of an everlasting support and network system!

Theatre  Arts  Curriculum

Please refer to Attached forms—Theatre Arts Advising Form.  Keep this form updated after each semester.  All majors are to sign up for advisement during the MSU Advisory period each semester.  Failure to do so may result in misinformation and graduation challenges.

The major in Theatre Arts is very demanding.  Majors must be available to participate in theatre activities during the evenings and weekends.  Participation in the Theatre Arts productions is part of the educational laboratory for the major.  Majors are free to participate in outside Theatre activities during their free time but not in replacement of their prescribed time at MSU.  Work schedules and outside activities must be organized in such a way that there is no   conflict with assignments with Theatre Morgan.

Students with disabilities are given the opportunity to participate in theatre classes and productions even if it requires the department to make adjustments to meet the individual’s need.

All majors are required to audition for ALL department productions.  Departmental auditions for a semester are held at one time in a fixed point in our calendar each year. This information will be provided to you at the majors’ meeting. Students who fail to audition during a term will be placed on probation for no more than one semester.  During probation a student will lose the   privilege of appearing on stage, of directing, or stage managing for Theatre Morgan.  There will be no exceptions made by any individual director to any actor in the matter of auditioning and casting.  An actor who is not at the general call for any reason is ineligible for casting that semester, and may be placed on departmental probation.  Any exceptions to this policy will be at the discretion of the Coordinator of Theatre Arts.  Majors who are ineligible to perform in a production due to having violated another ruling of the Theatre Arts program, must still go through the audition process for all productions.  PROPER ATTIRE is required for auditioning. Inappropriate attire, and decorum will not be tolerated.

Special production requirements stipulating a change of personal or extenuating appearances, such as hair alterations or nudity, will be announced at the time of auditions. Students will be expected to accept casting under those announced conditions unless excused from them by the director prior to the posting of the final cast list.

The Theatre Arts program will follow the Actors’ Equity Association, the official union for actors and stage managers, guidelines for casting, which states:

            “Actors’ Equity Association defines color-blind casting as “the casting

of ethnic minority and female actors in roles where race, ethnicity, or

gender are not germane to the character’s or plays development.”


*  All performance finals are held during regularly scheduled times as set by the university.  If a professor needs more than an allotted two hours, s/he may schedule a second finals session to finish work, but it must fit within the university calendar, stay in the classroom and not be presented at night.  The only exception is the Senior finals and the Directing finals.  They will be held in the evening to provide for maximum casting flexibility. 

*  Finals may be open for viewing at the discretion of the professor, and by individual invitation only.  This is true for students, faculty, family and friends. Finals may be closed to outside viewing if the professor prefers.

* Senior Comprehensive Exam–The examination is to have been taken on the 1st Saturday of November or March.  This written examination is an assessment of the Theatre Arts curriculum with a passing grade of 75% or higher.  No student is exempted from this Exam.  A retake of the exam will be during the next scheduled date.  This exam does not have to be taken in the final semester of the senior year but must be taken after enrollment of all Theatre Arts required courses.    

Each senior is responsible for enrolling in Thea 450, Theatre Practicum, in their final semester.  The student will prepare for the course the semester before.  The student must consult with the Coordinator the preceding semester to determine what the senior project will be and complete the Senior Practicum Prospectus.  This prospectus is to be approved by the Coordinator before work on the project begins.   The project cannot be changed after it has received final approval. The senior project is to showcase the talent that has been nurtured during the student’s tenure.  It is not be that which is new to the student.  This is not the time to try out new ideas to see if the senior has talent in that area.  The project is to be an assessment of scholarship in the form of research and talent.  All works are to be submitted at the appointed time decided upon by the Coordinator and Senior.   The faculty has the right to determine whether the student’s final project is of passing or failing status.  If the project does not warrant passing the student will be unable to graduate and have to redo the project. There is no guarantee that this should happen in the same semester. 

There will be no changes made once the prospectus has been approved and the advisor has been assigned.

Each senior is still responsible for participating in some form or fashion in the production.  The role will not be as strenuous but you are still a Theatre major.


General Education Requirements & Electives

Theatre Arts Course Requirements & Electives w/ a C or better

Writing Proficiency Exam w/ a Pass

Speech Proficiency Exam w/ a Pass

Theatre Arts Senior Comprehensive Exam w/ a Passing grade or 75% or better

Production hours for each semester

Laboratory/Internship (THEA 350 – required elective for students prior to the 2006 catalog)

Senior Project (THEA 450) approved by Coordinator semester preceding final semester

 See page 197 for a list of theatre courses that are required for Theatre Arts majors:  (from the Morgan State University Academic Catalog)

 See page 62 for a list of General Education requirements for all students at the university: