School of Theatre and Dance Statement of Inclusive Excellence

The School of Theatre and Dance at James Madison University believes that equity, access and inclusion are moral imperatives and artistic obligations.  Variety—in the stories we represent, the students we serve, and the audiences we engage—is vital for the health and relevance of contemporary performing arts practice. The School of Theatre and Dance, therefore, welcomes variety of perspective, race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ability.

Theatre and Dance Mission

The School of Theatre and Dance is rooted in the belief that the relevant artist is the thinking artist who couples the mastery and embodiment of concrete skills with knowledge of and sensitivity to the cultural environments of ideas, artistic forms, and other persons.

The school trains and educates artists, scholars, and teachers in the rich traditions and current practices of dance, theatre, and musical theatre.

The school’s programs blend liberal arts education and critical thinking with intensive, pre-professional training and practice.

Faculty foster an environment that values and cultivates creative, passionate, disciplined, curious, innovative, engaged, articulate, collaborative, and independent-thinking artists and scholars.

Committed to a teaching approach that emphasizes mentorship and individual attention to students, faculty members of the school empower students in the development of their own personal strengths, provide them with tools and opportunities to realize their potential, and equip them for successful work in professional environments, graduate programs, and as lifelong learners.

Theatre & Dance Goals

To realize this mission, the School of Theatre and Dance strives to:

  • Develop in students the ability to work productively and sensitively in creative and collaborative processes.

  • Offer multiple opportunities for students to self-initiate and self-produce work in a context supportive of experimentation.

  • Produce performances and creative experiences of high quality.

  • Present performances by and learning experiences with visiting artists.

  • Motivate students to take active responsibility for their work processes and careers.

  • Promote, support, and enable faculty professional development so that teachers continue to provide the education for students that only growing, current, and active creative artists and scholars can provide.

  • Inspire and prepare students to be advocates for the arts.

  • Foster an understanding of the roles of the artist and the arts in society.

  • Advance dynamic partnerships with excellently inclusive communities.

Theatre Major

Theatre students are exposed to all aspects of performance and production, as well as the academic study of theatre history, dramatic literature and criticism. Our students act the parts, construct the sets and costumes, and are responsible for running the productions.

Musical Theatre Major

Students receive training in musical theatre theory, practice, literature and performance. Musical theatre graduates possess the skills required to pursue careers in musical theatre and related entertainment areas.

Dance Major

Dance students develop abilities in performance, choreography and movement instruction. Through intensive dance courses and abundant performance opportunities, students receive a well-rounded education and the skills necessary to pursue a dance career.

Theatre & Dance Performance Opportunities

A main stage season of four theatre and three dance productions, including a musical which is jointly produced with the School of Music. An Experimental Theatre season of eight to twelve student produced shows. These may include student scripts, plays and musicals. Also ten to fifteen Directing Class One-Acts each fall. Studio dance productions typically include original student choreography as well as the work of guest artists and faculty. The summer Children's Theatre produces high quality plays for children and families.

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