Oral Communication Plan

"Students will develop proficiency in oral discourse, and evaluate an oral presentation according to established criteria." –from the Board of Trustees requirement in Basic Communication.


Theatre offers opportunities for students to actively engage in oral interaction in relation to performance skills (text interpretation) and in presentations such as oral reports, oral critiques, persuasive presentations, interviews and debates. In these contexts the learning objectives include: understanding the value of communication, becoming more comfortable communicating in a variety of situations, developing an awareness of the need for respect and civility in all communication situations, developing appropriate listening behaviors for a variety of communication situations, being able to logically organize one’s thoughts into a coherent message, refining one’s ability to effectively use visual aids in presenting design and directorial ideas, gaining experience in critically evaluating peer communication and performance based upon the specific standards of the discipline.


Skill development and practice take place through experience in a series of courses (both core and electives) and production opportunities throughout the student’s career in the major. The progression begins with either THT 130 or INT 111, one of which all majors are required to take. These two courses serve as a gateway for the intermediate and advanced level courses for the Acting/Directing  and Design/Technical Theatre concentrates. Both INT 111 and THT 130 are performance courses that involve doing and evaluating. Skills such as vocal preparation, attention to pace/breathing, interaction with the audience, concentration on logical thought and ways to deal with “stage fright,” are addressed. These courses also incorporate the development of listening skills and evaluation of oral communication and performance in others. THT 495: Senior Seminar/Capstone serves as an advanced level experience for the major and incorporates practice of refined oral communication skills.  As students progress in the discipline, the following courses (electives) provide reinforcement of the basic skills and the opportunity to practice and develop oral communication skills (orally defending a creative presentation in design, technology or directing; developing and practicing skills for using oral communication in leadership situations; developing interview skills; synthesizing and analyzing research in an oral report; and in the case of THT 430, further integration of vocal performance skills):

THT 322: Basic Scene Design
THT 334: Dramaturgy
THT 341: Principles of Directing
THT 351: Costume Design
THT 364: Western Theatre
THT 430: Advanced Acting


The THT 495: Senior Seminar/Capstone course for acting/directing concentrates focuses on a performance related project (performance of a major role, acting recital, directing project, stage management project). For Design/Tech concentrates, THT 495 focuses on a design (costume, scenery, lighting, sound, make-up) or technical direction project. Portfolio preparation, resume writing, auditioning and interviewing are also included in the career transition aspects of THT 495. The following  advanced level oral communication skills are emphasized throughout the capstone experience persuasive defense of a design idea or directorial choice that reflects a clear understanding of the language and history of the discipline poised and articulate interviewing skills auditioning skills that reflect appropriate use of material, effective relaxation, a grasp of heightened language and a balance of vocal spontaneity and technique (for Acting/Directing concentrates only) an ability to effectively use visual aids (models, slides, renderings) in presentations an ability to orally critique production elements in an organized, logical articulate manner that reflects a clear understanding of the aesthetic principles of the discipline and maintains an awareness of the need for respect and civility.

Since the capstone project is a collaborative endeavor, and takes place over the greater part of a student’s senior year, the student is, ideally, constantly practicing  oral communication skills (at rehearsals, production meetings and performances). In the fall semester of THT 495, students will present their proposal for the capstone project in a 6-8  minute oral presentation. Another  oral presentation (10-12 minutes) will be part of the debriefing for the capstone project.