The Department of Theatre

The Theatre Department of Warren Wilson College offers a Bachelor of Arts degree that consists of an academically engaging curriculum combined with a theatre season made up of three adventurous mainstage productions plus many other performance projects and community events.  We can do all this because the backbone of our program is the Theatre Crew: a large group of students (majors and non-majors) working in every aspects of theatre production and theatre management.  The fact that Warren Wilson is a Work College is one thing that allows us to offer a theatre experience that is distinctively different from what may be found at other colleges.

We invite all students to become a part of this growing program on campus through our Theatre/English Major and Theatre Minor programs or by participating theatre production through our Practicum series of courses. Many non-majors or minors take Theatre courses as part of their Triad Education program, participate in theatre-related service activities, or simply volunteer on or offstage.

Our academic offerings include instruction in acting, directing, theatre tech and design, stage management, theatre history, dance, butoh, performance art, film analysis and appreciation, community based performance, and – in collaboration with the college’s renowned English and Creative Writing programs – dramatic literature and playwriting. We offer Wilson students the opportunity to explore how art intersects with work and community-engaged service (the other legs of the Warren Wilson Triad) in a context of lively, highly-creative performance.

The mission of the Theatre Department is to empower students, in concert with their peers, to form, bring to life, and present to the community artistic visions of excellence.  In so doing, we will prepare them to lead lives distinguished by self-awareness, open communication, and making a difference.  By fully integrating within the Theatre Program the Triad of academics, work, and service, students expand their intellectual, emotional, and practical capacities as they investigate the purposes and possibilities of theatre as a constantly-evolving, global, collaborative art form with the capacity to transform lives.

Goals

  • To develop the theoretical knowledge and perceptual abilities needed to identify and recognize the purposes and effects of the students’ own and others’ artistic work;
  • To develop the fundamental skills in performance, management, design and technical work needed to  implement a theatrical vision effectively and to pursue post-graduate opportunities competitively;
  • To ensure that students inculcate a process of creative self-awareness developed through communication and collaboration with peers;
  • To develop knowledge of a wide variety of theatrical genres and working methods, as well as the ability to put new experiences into broader historical and artistic contexts;
  • To provide opportunities for motivated students to develop in-depth a particular specialty or interest in acting, directing, design, or stage management.

Warren Wilson Theatre

The Department of Theatre’s production arm, Warren Wilson Theatre, presents at least three productions each year, plus student directed one-acts, student and guest directed full-length productions, musicals, and presentations of work created in studio classes. Productions and other theatre events include classical works, original and experimental works, Butoh/modern dance/performance art pieces, contemporary plays, and visits by guest artists. When possible, theatre coursework involves current productions, and many classes involve or culminate in performances. Academic credit is offered for theatre production involvement under the “Performance/Production Practicum” series of courses.

Theatre productions of all kinds are staged in Kittredge Theatre, the home of the Department of Theatre. This 320-seat proscenium theatre, operated by the Theatre Crew under the supervision of Technical Director Don Baker, includes a stage large enough to seat an audience for intimate theatre productions, a 30-batten counterweight system, a computer-controlled lighting system, and audio and video-projection capabilities. In addition to Kittredge Theatre, work is also performed at the outdoor Amphitheatre adjacent to Kittredge, and sometimes in Bryson Gym or in the Pavilion.

Auditions for all plays are open to all members of the community, and casting is done without regard to class standing. Competition for parts is sometimes intense, but an effort is made to keep the process from becoming too intimidating. All students, including those with no previous experience, are encouraged to audition for plays. Preference may be given to students who have taken or are taking Theatre Department classes, including Theater/English majors and Theatre minors. However, Warren Wilson Theatre and the Department of Theatre consciously foster a welcoming atmosphere of inclusivity; good theatre does not thrive in a “cliquish” atmosphere.

In the fall of 2014, for the first time ever, Warren Wilson Theatre co-produced a show with one of our Service Learning Partners, The Montford Park Players.  WWC students were involved in all aspects of the production with citizens from our community–performing, building sets and costumes, working backstage, and designing the publicity and marketing.  This group effort gave us Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, which premiered in Kittredge Theatre on the Warren Wilson campus, then moved to the Masonic Temple in downtown Asheville for a three week run.

Faculty

Don Baker, MFA
Candace Taylor, MFA
Beverly Ohler

Special Projects

Exceptional students may wish to consider working toward completing The Senior Project in Theatre.  A Senior Project in Theatre provides a challenging culmination for serious theatre majors that transforms their understanding of their abilities as creative individuals.  Senior Projects in performance, directing, and design are given departmental resources and public performances.  Students may also choose to undertake a project in dramaturgical or performance studies research, or creative writing for the theatre.  All projects also require a comprehensive, written self-evaluation.

Our Theatre Partners

North Carolina Stage Company
NC Stage is Asheville’s professional theater company downtown.  Warren Wilson students can get involved in a variety of ways through academic and service-learning opportunities.  Contact the Theatre Office Crew for more information.

NC Stage also offers ticket deals for students, including specially priced season flex-passes (averaging just $3 per show), and $10 Student Rush tickets available the day of a performance.  Call NC Stage at (828) 239-0263 for more info or visit www.ncstage.org.

Montford Park Players
This local community theater is the hub of Asheville’s Shakespeare scene. With indoor and outdoor venues, the performances are always highly attended by the Warren Wilson community, with our own David Mycoff usually in the cast of players. The directors are also very welcoming to students looking to join the cast. For more info visit www.montfordparkplayers.org.

The Magnetic Theatre
The Magnetic Theatre is an Asheville theater company dedicated to performing original works. Writing Professor John Crutchfield has had several of his original plays produced by The Magnetic Theatre. Warren Wilson alumni Glenn Reed and Katie Ann Towner are also active members of this theater group. For more info visit www.themagnetictheatre.org.

Asheville Community Theater
Volunteer: ACT is a volunteer-driven theatre where everyone is welcome! If you’re enthusiastic about learning a new skill or sharing your talents, they would love to have you! They hold a Volunteer Orientation session on a Monday evening once a month from 6:30-7:30 pm.  Please email Chanda Calentine, the Program Director, for more information!

Internships: ACT has been able to tailor internships based on individual requirements. If you’re interested in connecting with Asheville Community Theatre about a possible internship, please email the Program Director, Chanda Calentine. For more info visit www.ashevilletheatre.org.

Art Space Charter School
Art Space is a primary school dedicated to integrating art into standardized learning. Theater, art, music, and gardening are all woven into every classroom. The school is always warm to Wilson students who are willing to lend a hand in any way possible. For more info visit www.artspacecharter.org.

Serpent Child Productions
Founded in 1993, SERPENT CHILD, is a non profit professional arts company dedicated to the collaborative creation of multi-disciplinary, community-based art. Serpent Child’s purpose is to create art in a variety of media based on the experiences, history and myths of specific communities. For more info visit www.serpentchild.org