Theatre and Dance

Mission, Goals and Objectives


The Department of Theatre and Dance is a community of professional artists, scholars, and educators who value and practice the most collaborative art forms—art forms that explore the human condition, stimulate and engage our audience, and connect to a global, diverse community. Our standard of excellence demands the celebration of individuality within the collaborative process, empowering the student to begin a lifelong career of artistic risk-taking and self-discovery. These commitments are reflected in the curriculum and the multitude of opportunities we provide for students to develop skills and apply their craft in the crucible of production.

Goals and Objectives

The goals of the department stem from our departmental mission and the primary values of Western Illinois University: academic excellence, educational opportunity, personal growth and social responsibility. The primary goal of the department is to develop skilled and creative student artists for future study and for avocational and professional careers in theatre, dance and related arts. These student artists may be actors, actor-singers, dancers, directors, technicians, or designers at the undergraduate or graduate level. To this end, the Department of Theatre and Dance:

  • Develops creativity, artistic skills and professionalism in students through an active production program that melds scholarship and practice;
  • Encourages and develops skills in communication, problem solving, research and effective writing through coursework and application in performance and production;
  • Enables majors and non-majors to expand and perfect their knowledge of the literary, historical and philosophical aspects of theatre and dance by providing a rich curriculum that has both depth and breadth;
  • Fosters students' understanding and appreciation of the arts through general education courses and the production program;
  • Enhances the cultural life of the campus and the region through a diverse and intelligent array of quality theatre, musical theatre, and dance productions;
  • Maintains a faculty dedicated to excellence in teaching, creative/scholarly endeavor, and service to the college, university, community, and the fields of theatre and dance;
  • Supports students and faculty in their professional development and service to the discipline.

Vision Statement:

Values - Our courses and production program are designed first and foremost to instill a sense of core theatrical VALUES in our students. These values, including respect for diverse viewpoints, self-discipline, empathy, and accountability, do not apply only to theatrical pursuits, but have direct application to any career paths the student takes or life journeys the student embarks upon.

Opportunity - Classroom projects, supplemented by department productions that serve as a laboratory extension of the classroom, offer all our students OPPORTUNITY to develop their ability to assess critically, to make informed choices, to work as part of a collaborative team, and to develop creative solutions to problems even when facing limited resources in terms of time, space, personnel or budget.

Mentoring - Whether in the classroom or the rehearsal hall, faculty members are dedicated to active MENTORING relationships with theatre students. Through modeling collaboration, professional behavior, open communication, and encouraging risk-taking, faculty mentor students toward successful exploration of human nature and communication through the theatrical arts. Faculty guide students as they navigate through professional and artistic choices, but promote an environment where students ultimately develop the skills and confidence to find their own path.

Collaboration - Through a series of classroom and production projects, students work with many different teams, always in service of an end product to which everyone has contributed. This maximizes learning of the collaborative process, which synthesizes the opposing desires of two or more individuals, ultimately creating something that no single person could have created alone. Adaptability and communication are fostered by this process.

Exposure to Theatre Performance - Students are provided many opportunities to see live theatre in performance, primarily on our own campus through our production program, but also through faculty-organized trips to Chicago and Peoria for professional productions