February 13, 2020 at 1:30pm
Dane Lisser

Program offers opportunity for students to focus on specialized areas to meet academic, career goals

The Millikin University School of Theatre & Dance has announced the launch of a new Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Theatre and Performance Studies degree program to replace its current Bachelor of Arts in Theatre degree program. Students can be admitted into the new degree program starting in fall 2020.

The BA in Theatre and Performance Studies program retains the flexibility of Millikin's existing BA in Theatre program, but increases training focused on helping students develop analytical skills with an eye toward creating their own theatrical art.

Students admitted into the program will continue to take traditional courses in acting, directing, design and theatre history, but will now have new courses in advanced play analysis, devised theatre and performance studies. These courses will combine theory with practice, with students learning how to analyze performance and also then creating it.

"The inclusion of performance studies in this new curriculum places Millikin's BA program on the cutting edge of innovative theatre practice," said Laura Ledford, dean of the College of Fine Arts at Millikin University. "In addition to studying and practicing conventional theatrical forms, this added focus will give students the opportunity to create original work that pushes the boundaries of those forms, and positions them to become practitioners and pioneering leaders in the performing arts."

The new degree program will appeal to students who see themselves as directors, dramaturgs or playwrights, as well as producers or performers. Students will have opportunities to be closely involved with Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre (Millikin's student-run theatre company in partnership between the School of Theatre & Dance and the Tabor School of Business), Shakespeare Corrected (a program that brings Millikin students together with incarcerated and disadvantaged populations to collaborate and create theatrical experiences) and the School's mainstage season.

Though most MA and Ph.D. programs in theatre in the United States embrace the field of performance studies in some respect, very few undergraduate programs offer specific training in the discipline. Millikin's BA program provides students an earlier introduction to performance studies, better preparing students for possible graduate education.

Millikin School of Theatre & Dance

Graduates of Millikin's BA program are working across the industry, from Chicago to New York, to Los Angeles to Florida. Among Millikin's graduates are actor, writer and comedian Joel Kim Booster '10, who is currently starring in the NBC/Hulu series "Sunnyside," starring Kal Penn. Booster has also performed standup on TBS's "Conan," Comedy Central's "The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail," and Logo's "Comedy Cabaret," among many others, and has been a writer on truTV's "Billy on the Street," Netflix's "Big Mouth," and Comedy Central's "The Other Two."

Millikin School of Theatre & Dance

The new program will launch in fall 2020, aligned with the opening of Millikin University's new $29 million Center for Theatre & Dance. The new Center will include a 250-seat theatre, dance and acting studios, classrooms, design labs, a costume studio, offices, and ample collaboration space for Millikin students, faculty and staff.

In addition to the new BA in Theatre and Performance Studies, the Millikin School of Theatre & Dance offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Acting, Musical Theatre, Stage Management and Theatrical Design and Production.

Millikin School of Theatre & Dance

The Millikin University School of Theatre & Dance is a nationally recognized program, offering conservatory style training rooted in a liberal arts education. The School's approach to education, known as Performance Learning, offers a comprehensive integration of theory and practice with the added component of collaboration with third-party stakeholders. Through these collaborations, students gain valuable insight into their chosen field which helps prepare them for professional success.