Communication Studies and Theatre
The Department of Communication Studies and Theatre offers students the opportunity to study human communication practices in a variety of contexts. The department offers two majors—in communication, technology and culture and in theatre—and two minors—in communication studies and theatre—that each balance theoretical understanding with practical skills. The communication, technology and culture major focuses on ways in which ever-changing technological advances are impacting communication practices. The program provides a strong theoretical understanding of communication processes in a technology-based culture, including practical training that will allow students to become effective media practitioners. Courses examine both practical and theoretical approaches to the study of communication such as historical developments, policy implications, the influence of mass media and communication technologies, interpersonal relationships, and connections between communication and power relationships.
Students will learn how the methods of social science help us adapt messages across a variety of rhetorical situations. Communication courses are taught in an interactive manner combining lectures, discussion, in-class activities and hands-on experience. Students conduct theoretical and field research, write various types of academic and professional papers, design public relations campaigns, create blogs and deliver public presentations. In addition to working on their own, students in communication courses work in collaboration with other students gaining valuable teamwork skills.
Students majoring in communication, technology and culture are prepared for careers in a diverse group of occupations, such as public relations, advertising, sales, management, journalism and human resources. The major also helps prepare students for graduate studies.
The theatre major incorporates both theoretical and practical application of theatrical study and theatrical practice. The major in theatre seeks to foster a sense of wonder and excitement in students and community members, while continually asking: what is the role of the theatre and theatre artist in society, whether it be campus, a city, the nation, or the world? A fundamental keystone is that lessons learned in the classroom and on the stage have application in the “real world”. Students learn how to take ideas and realize them through application of theatrical production and presentation. As an interdisciplinary field of study, the theatre major draws from many sources and disciplines and seeks to highlight how they can inform each other, along with a vigorous schedule of productions that put theory into practice.
Theatre,Bachelor of Arts - Major
Communication, Technology, and Culture,Bachelor of Science - Major
Add-On Endorsement in Journalism,Teacher Licensure
Endorsement in Theatre Arts (PreK-12),Teacher Licensure
Theatre Arts Education Licensure (PreK-12 [P-12]),Teacher Licensure
COMM-100: Oral Communication
Teaches students how to create and respond to verbal and nonverbal messages across a variety of rhetorical situations. Students will learn the core concepts of public speaking and develop the skills to select, organize, and deliver material based on the needs of a specific audience. The course will focus on informative and persuasive speaking, and may also include introductory speeches, special-occasion speeches, and business presentations. FILA general education: master core skills.
COMM-131 / PWR-131: News Practicum
Skills-and-theory class that applies critical thinking to discuss and solve practical problems in news media production. Prepares students for the convergence of media, providing practical experience in multiplatform media writing and production, including print, radio, TV and web journalism. Work includes approximately three hours outside the class and one hour inside each week. May be repeated for credit. (Cross-listed as PWR-131)
COMM-131X / PWR-131X: News Practicum
Skills-and-theory class that applies critical thinking to discuss and solve practical problems in news media production. Prepares students for the convergence of media, providing practical experience in multi-platform media writing and production including print, radio, TV and web journalism. Work includes approximately three hours outside the class and one hour inside each week. FILA general education: experiential learning (Cross-listed as PWR-131X)
COMM-201: Introduction to Communication Studies
COMM-230: Communication Technologies: History, Culture, and Society
COMM-240: Contemporary Media Industries
COMM-255W / PWR-255W: Introduction to News Writing
Teaches students the basic skills of researching, investigating and writing in a variety of formats. Emphasis on identification of the writing structures used by contemporary media writers and utilization of these structures in original pieces researched and written by the students. FILA general education: writing intensive. (Cross-listed as PWR-255W)
COMM-300: Special Topics in Communication Studies
Explores topics related to Communication Studies aligning with the research specialty and/or intellectual interest of the instructor. Offered on demand.
COMM-305 / PWR-305: Multimedia Reporting and Writing
Builds on the skills-oriented approach of COMM/PWR-255W by putting theory behind the practice of writing. Through individual and group writing projects, students work toward understanding the increasingly complex definition of news, its blurring line with entertainment, and the dynamic interplay between technologies and audiences. Offered alternate years. (Cross-listed as PWR-305)
COMM-306: Investigative Journalism & Documentary
COMM-325: Communication in the Organization
COMM-327: Interpersonal Communication
COMM-330: American Film & Culture
COMM-331X: The Television & Film Studio System
The history of the American television and film studio system, its influence on society, and the processes of modern television and film production. Includes weekly class meetings on the Bridgewater campus (1 hour per week) and an 8-day trip to Los Angeles during Spring Break. While in Los Angeles, the class tours several studios (including Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, NBC television and/or Universal Studios), participates as audience members on a variety of television shows, talks with members of the television and film industry, and visits media related museums. Additional costs associated with travel. FILA general education: experiential learning.
COMM-332: American Television & Culture
COMM-333X: Europe Media and Culture
This course examines the historical similarities and differences between American media and European media. The course will involve approximately a week of classes on the Bridgewater campus prior to traveling to several locations throughout Europe. Three major themes will be explored: 1) the use of persuasion and propaganda techniques employed during World War II and the Cold War, 2) the development of the European television and film industry (prior to WWII and after it), and 3) issues of media conglomeration, globalization, and the influence of the American film and television industry on Europe. Cities that may be toured include: London, Munich, Prague, Berlin and Paris. (The exact cities to be visited will change each year based on availability of speakers, film festivals, and museum special exhibits.) Additional costs associated with travel. FILA general education: world cultures and experiential learning.
COMM-334: Intercultural Communication
Theoretical and practical survey of intercultural communication processes. Examines intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational, and mass media dimensions of intercultural communication. The course specifically focuses on the distinctive cultural behaviors, expectations, values and power dynamics that affect our abilities to communicate effectively and people from diverse cultures. FILA general education: world cultures.
COMM-335: Communicating Sex and Gender
COMM-337: Intergenerational Communication
COMM-340: Representations of Gender, Race & Class
COMM-345: Argumentation and Debate
This course provides students with a foundational knowledge of classical principles of oral rhetoric and modern theories of the conventions of argumentation. Students will engage in critical examination of issues and the use of argumentation of support and defend a position. Upon completion of this course students will be able to construct and evaluate factual, value and policy claims. Offered alternate years.
COMM-347: Strategic Public Relations
This course will cover strategic planning and specialized public relations issues. Issues include risks, crisis management, social marketing campaigns, and corporate and non-profit communication. Students will learn and apply advanced public relations theories and skills to case studies and real-life situations.
COMM-349: Nonprofit Communication
This class examines the organizational structure of nonprofit and non-governmental organizations and their operations such as fund raising; social cause communication including advocacy; and leadership communication that strengthens the organization's mission. Students will prepare materials used by nonprofits - appeals, alerts, opinion letters or columns, online channels, speeches and event scripts, among others - evaluating effectiveness and adhering to ethical considerations.
COMM-350: Research Methods in Communication
Introduces quantitative and qualitative research methods used in the study of communication. Students learn to critically evaluate published research studies and how to conduct original research. The course will provide specific instruction and practice in survey writing and interviewing. Offered alternate years.
COMM-355: Long-Form Multimedia Journalism
Long-form journalism focuses on in-depth nonfiction narrative, with creative stories told in memorable ways. Students will read and digest contemporary long-form journalism ranging from The New York Times' Pulitzer-prize winning feature on the avalanche at Tunnel Creek to WIRED magazine's series of articles on the Internet "dark web" of drug sales, the Silk Road. Students will also read excerpts from classic long-form journalism such as Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, John Hersey's Hiroshima, Lawrence Otis Graham's "Harlem on My Mind" and Joan Didion's Slouching Toward Bethlehem. Students will analyze, reflect on and write using the techniques of creative nonfiction. Students will learn about user experience design theory (UX Design), a method to improve the usability and accessibility of and user pleasure from media products, by implementing visual and aural narrative elements to craft an engaging experience for the audience.
COMM-360: Rhetorical Criticism
COMM-365X: Rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement
This course examines the rhetorical strategies adopted by the American Civil Rights Movement. Students will study a wide variety of rhetorical artifacts such as documents and speeches, songs and other performances, lunch counter protests, sit-ins, Freedom Rides, photography and other forms of visual rhetoric. The course includes several days of courses on campus and a 10-day bus trip to key sites of the civil rights movement such as the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta. Students will have the opportunity to complete community service at some of the sites. FILA general education: experiential learning.
COMM-370X: Heroes, Flutes, and Ghosts: Stories and Opera
This course examines how stories, and particularly the hero narrative as captured by Joseph Campbell, are used in opera to inspire, engage, and provide social commentary, as well as to entertain. Understanding the audience (i.e., the historical time frame) and evaluating the medium (i.e., why set the story to music?) enriches our appreciation for and evaluation of the success of a story's message. Students will analyze how narrative changes when it is told through different media and will construct their own story using the medium of their choice. FILA general education: experiential learning.
COMM-375: Media Effects
Examines media effects research from the early 20th century to the present. Students learn about various methods used by social scientists to identify and measure the effects of persuasive messages on changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. Students gain skills in framing research questions about media effects, designing effects studies and evaluating claims of media effects advocated by scholarly and non-scholarly sources. FILA general education: social sciences.
COMM-400: Applied Communication Theory
This capstone course explores practical applications of communication theory. Emphasis will be placed on the process of writing and public speaking in multiple professional and personal rhetorical situations.
COMM-410E: Communication Law and Ethics in a Digital Age
Analytical survey of ethical and legal issues pertaining to communication professionals, focusing on the new digital media landscape. Issues explored include First Amendments rights, public affairs journalism, copyright, defamation, obscenity, censorship, licensing, corporate and governmental communications, and the Digital Millennium Act. FILA general education: ethical reasoning.
COMM-420: Political Campaigning in Virtual Environments
COMM-427: Communication in Romantic Relationships
COMM-447: Science, Environment, and Health Communication
COMM-481X: Media Field Experience
This course is designed to provide students field experience in media production, media writing, media management and/or media relations. Prior to signing up for this course, students will work with the instructor to identify a field experience site where they can either help create content at a media outlet such as a television/radio station or film production studio, or where they can practice media relations for a business or non-profit organization. The course requires students to complete: (1) an initial face-to-face meeting with the course instructor, (2) online modules about communication-related issues in the workplace, (3) an initial and exit interview with their site supervisor, (4) 100 hours of work in the field, (5) reflective short essay assignments and (6) a final project consisting of an online portfolio of work they complete during the field experience. Students may take the course up to two times for credit, but each time must be at a different site. FILA general education: experiential learning.
COMM-490: Independent Study
COMM-499: Honors Project
THEA-200: Theatre Production: Costumes and Scenery
This course is an introduction to the many elements involved in Western theatre production, with emphases on two of the primary areas of design, construction and implementation: scenery and costumes, and an integration with stage management. The class will explore concepts, techniques, equipment and materials necessary for a successful theatrical production, emphasizing problem solving through research, experimentation, and collaboration. Students will be challenged to engage and understand the interrelationships between the various elements involved in mounting a stage production, and how these elements relate to and affect the other aspects of dramatic art.Previous experience with theatre is not necessary. FILA general education: fine arts and music.
THEA-210: Theatre Production: Lighting and Sound
An introduction to the many elements involved in Western theatre production, with a special focus on stage management and emphases on two of the primary areas of design, construction and implementation: lighting and sound. The class will explore concepts, techniques, equipment and materials necessary for a successful theatrical production, emphasizing problem solving through research, experimentation, and collaboration. Students will be challenged to engage and understand the interrelationships between the various elements involved in mounting a stage production, and how these elements relate to and affect the other aspects of dramatic art. Previous experience with theatre is not necessary. FILA general education: fine arts & music. Offered alternate years.
THEA-225: Scenic Painting
Practical study of the various theories, techniques and materials used in scenic painting. Focusing on theory and practice, encompasses a systematic approach to painting theatrical scenery. Emphasis on traditional scene painting techniques, including material selection (brushes and paints) and their practical application through design reproductions and faux finishes, as well as the tools and paints that have been developed to support those techniques. Students learn how the theories and techniques of scenic painting have changed historically, and how these unique changes have impacted the materials and techniques utilized by the scenic painter. Engages with the unique qualities of different types of paint noting how they perform on different types of materials, and how that knowledge can be used to create effective results. Projects include painting stage drops, creating stained glass windows with paint, faux marble and wood grain finishes, photos and designer renderings. FILA general education: fine arts and music.
THEA-250: World Theatre History I
Traces the development of dramatic art and the history of theatrical production from its ritual beginnings to the English Restoration. It will place dramatic art and theatre history in context by engaging with the social, political and cultural conditions of specific historical moments. Topics of study will include Greek Drama, Roman spectacle, Sanskrit Drama, Noh Drama, early Medieval religious and secular theatre, Italian commedia dell'arte, Renaissance and Baroque pageantry, and the English Restoration. The approach will be a documentary one. Students will read specific play texts in conjunction with primary evidence, both textural and pictorial, using both to illuminate the creation and history of theatre. FILA general education: fine arts and music. Offered alternate years.
THEA-255: World Theatre History II
Survey of post-Restoration theatrical culture, history and production forms. Though it is a continuation of the World Theatre History I, the student need not have taken the previous course. Students will begin examining theatrical history and expression in Turkey, China and Japan, and move across the European continent focusing on the rise of European modernity. Students will cover Romantic theatre and opera, melodrama and poetic spectacle, Realism, Naturalism and the independent theatre movement as well as the innovation of early 20th century theatrical practitioners. The approach will be a documentary one. Students will read specific play texts in conjunction with primary evidence, textural and pictorial, using both to illuminate the creation and history of theatre. FILA general education: fine arts and music. Offered alternate years.
THEA-310: Production Laboratory/Applied Performance (Acting, Movement)
Production laboratory requiring intense involvement with the process of translating a play text from script to performance. Requires the student to work independently and as an ensemble interpreting, rehearsing and performing a play. Professionalism and dedication to the theatrical process are stressed. In-class and out-of-class work is essential. May be repeated for credit.
THEA-311: Production Laboratory/Applied Performance (Lighting, Costumes and Makeup, Scenic Painting, Scenery and Props, Technical Direction, and Sound)
Application of technology associated with lighting, costumes and makeup, scenery and properties, scenic painting, technical direction, and sound as associated with theatrical production. Requires the student to work independently and with faculty and/or guest designer to interpret, create, and implement effective designs. Professionalism and dedication to the theatrical process are stressed. In-class and out-of-class work is essential. May be repeated for credit.
THEA-312: Production Laboratory/Applied Performance (Stage Management, Dramaturgy, Assistant Directing)
Application of techniques associated with stage management, dramaturgy, and assistant directing as associated with theatrical production. Requires the student to work independently and with faculty and/or guest artists to interpret, create, and implement effective theatrical performances. Professionalism and dedication to the theatrical process are stressed. In-class and out-of-class work is essential. May be repeated for credit.
THEA-315X: Theatre in London
An exploration of the rich and varied theatrical scenes in London through nightly attendance at professional and nonprofessional productions. The group attends professional West End, classical, modern, and musical productions. Immersive theatre, experimental performance, and alternative theatrical spaces/venues are explored. Workshops with professionals, theatre workshops, and back stage tours, as well as theatrical, historical, and cultural interests complement the experience as do side-trips to Stratford-upon-Avon and Shakespeare's Globe theatre. FILA general education: fine arts and music and experiential learning.
Acting provides the student with an organized and practical approach to acting. A systematic approach to acting through a thorough examination and application of Konstantin Stanislavski's system of acting with in depth attention to the technique of the actor and their use of body and voice. Textual analysis, scene work, monologues, auditioning, performance pieces, and various training exercises will be used. No theatre experience is necessary. FILA general education: fine arts & music. Offered alternate years.
Designed to introduce the student to the basic fundamentals of directing plays for the stage. Students will carefully examine play structure and analysis, communication with the actor and designer, and rehearsal process and performance. Students will explore the work of the director through laboratory exercise, and short performance piece where students cast and direct their own scenes. Examining the techniques of many of the most influential 20th century stage directors, students will work towards a technique that the student can call his/her own. Practical work will be combined with written analysis in addition to the final short student-director production. FILA general education: fine arts and music. Offered alternate years.
THEA-345: Acting: Styles and Techniques
This course will introduce the student to the physical, vocal, and mental worlds of various styles and techniques of non-realistic performance traditions. Students will experiment with a variety of acting styles and techniques including physical, masked, post-modern, non-western, and devised performance. This course includes interfaith components of eastern meditative, movement, and centering practices as they are linked to acting methods and techniques. This course is a practical expression of the theoretical and historical. Textual analysis, scene work, monologues, and various training exercises will be used. FILA general education: fine arts & music. Offered alternate years.
THEA-355: Environmental Theatre
Environmental theatre began in the 1960s in response to the social and political climate of the time. Performers and performance groups pushed the boundaries of what was traditionally thought of as theatre, and as a result, restructured and reinvigorated the fundamental understanding of what performance was and its function within society. Environmental theatre continues to be a powerful vehicle for social commentary. The objective of this course is three-fold: to introduce the student to the cultural, social, and political richness of environmental theatre, including site-specific performance; to provide a historical understanding of the period by highlighting how the original practitioners and their works were directly influenced by cultural events of the time; and, to involve the student in the process of creating and performing their own individual and group site-specific environmental performance piece. FILA general education: fine arts and music. Offered alternate years.
THEA-360W / ENG-360W: Modern Drama
Examination of theatrical literature and forms from the late 19th century well-made plays, Realism, Expressionism, Futurism and Symbolism to Epic theatre and the Theatre of the Absurd. Playwrights such as Henrik Ibsen, Bernard Shaw, Anton Chekhov, Eugene O'Neill, Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Beckett and others will be studied. The goals of this course are for students to gain an understanding of the scope, history, techniques and influence of Modern Drama. FILA general education: literature and writing intensive. Offered alternate years. (Cross-listed as ENG-360W)
THEA-362W / ENG-362W: Contemporary Drama
Contemporary theatrical forms of American and British drama. Students will begin with post-World War II dramatic works and move sequentially to the present day. Some areas of attention will be the "angry young men," metadrama, gender race and ethnicity, the "new brutalism," and contemporary docudrama. Particular focus will be on how play texts engage with the cultural and historical moment of their creation. The goals of this course are for students to gain an understanding of the scope, history, techniques and influence of contemporary drama. Playwrights such as John Osborne, Edward Albee, Edward Bond, José Rivera, Martin McDonagh, Tony Kushner, Sarah Kane, Suzan Lori-Parks, Nilo Cruz, Moisés Kaufman, Sarah Ruhl and others will be studied. FILA general education: literature and writing intensive. Offered alternate years. (Cross-listed as ENG-362W)
THEA-370X: Special Topics in Theatre
A study of specific topics related to theatre including Movement for the Performer, Playwriting, Set Design, Lighting Design, and Costume Design. May be taken more than once provided different topics are covered. FILA general education: fine arts and music & experiential learning.
THEA-450: Theatre Capstone
A formal capstone experience focused on the student's area of concentration. Defined through consultation with the theatre faculty, the capstone will outline and realize a body of theatrical work and presentation. Focus could be on acting, design (set, light, costume), directing a fully realized theatre production, as well as the writing of a full-length play or a significant project in historical research and writing. Projects must be submitted and approved by theatre faculty prior to the student's final year of study.
Provides an opportunity for a student to gain field experience in an area related to the student's program of study or career goals. The learning objectives for internships include connecting academic knowledge and problem-solving processes to experiences and problems in professional settings. Supervision of an intern is provided by an appropriate faculty member and by a site supervisor of the agency or business in which the student is an intern. A student who wishes to engage in an internship must consult with the appropriate faculty member at least eight weeks in advance of the start of the term in which the internship is to be completed. A description of the internship, signed by the student and the faculty sponsor, must be filed with the director of internships by the first day of the semester prior to the start of the internship. Approval of each application for an internship is made by the director of internships based upon approved policies and guidelines. Internships are graded on an S or U basis. Students must complete 120 hours of internship-related work as well as weekly journal entries and a final reflective paper completed in accordance with approved requirements. A student may enroll in an internship program for 3 credits per semester, and internship credit may be earned in subsequent semesters subject to the limitations that no more than two internships may be pursued in any one agency or business and a maximum of 9 credits in internships may be applied toward graduation. FILA general education: experiential learning.