Performing Artists are amazing people. At the University of Portland we teach performing artists who are highly educated, highly creative, highly passionate and highly driven human beings. We teach performing artists who are thrilled to work as a team and colleague, create to their greatest ability and capacity, take criticism boldly and graciously, and grow with confidence and grace everyday. At UP we teach performing artists to be excellent creators, communicators, and thinkers. We teach artists.
The Theater Program at the University of Portland is a strong liberal arts theater training program with an emphasis in comprehensive learning in theater arts. We are committed to our small class sizes, the individual training for each student, and the focus of our program is to create an accomplished theater artist. We are known for the excellence of our productions and of our students in both regional and national American College Theatre Festival competitions sponsored by the Kennedy Center. We have had several undergraduate actors, designers and stage managers win in our region and compete in Washington DC in the last 8 years.
A student who enrolls as a Theater Major has the opportunity to focus their major in one or more of three emphases: Performance, Design/Technical or Production Management. We begin the training with a general core curriculum that is the bases for our comprehensive learning. Introduction to Theatre Design and Communication and Acting I immediately immerse students to building common critical language and tools to build their path of learning. We add Modern Production Theory, Theater History and Production Practicums to round the core and begin to build critical thinkers and creators. From there the emphases constitute an advanced component of class work and allows our students a combination of a generalist’s degree and elements of conservatory training. It also allows for the broadening of the liberal arts college experience without the narrow focus of the conservatory approach. We feel we offer our students the best of both ideas. The strength of our approach and our program is backed up by our membership in NAST. We were the first theater program to achieve national accreditation in Oregon in 2000, which means we met a high level of standard in our production program, our curriculum and our degree programs.
The Theater Program produces 4 main stage productions and 3 – 4 second stage productions a year in the Mago Hunt Theater which a 300 seat thrust/proscenium combination theater space. It boasts a fully operational computer lighting and sound system and a partial stage elevator. The Hunt Center also contains a student employed costume and scene shop where our majors and minors learn the production skills and crafts necessary to create theatrical productions. Majors are also called to all lighting calls, strikes and other teambuilding duties that shape the students strong sense of teamwork and clear commitment to the craft. We also work closely with our music colleagues and encourage our students to take classes in voice, piano and other instruments to help them become a stronger and more competitive artist. Private lessons can be taken in voice and most instruments in music by drama majors. The faculty deeply believes that the more opportunities our students have on and off stage, the more qualified they become for a life long association with theater on all levels.
We also are currently in the construction process of the Mehling Black Box theater space to further expand the style and flexibility of producing and creating theater. It will be a 100 seat performance space geared to student generated productions both for our graduate directing students and our undergraduate senior capstone projects. This space will also serve for readings and performances of our beginning playwrights with The New Play Series, which happens every spring. Students write and produce staged readings of their newly created plays.
We are committed to teach the best students and the most dynamic and creative theater artists, and human beings. I hope you can join us for an exciting, emergent and inspired next 4 years. We would love the opportunity to teach you. Please contact any of our faculty if you want to know how to become a part of this exceptional program.
Gregory Pulver, Director of Theater