Senior Project

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Guidelines for Senior Project
Theatre 491 & 492


The Senior Project is an opportunity for students to demonstrate what they have learned during their years as theatre majors as well as to have a focused experience in their field. The project is completed over the course of two quarters. The first quarter (Theatre 491) is the research and project preparation phase, and the second quarter (Theatre 492) is the production phase.

Getting Started

Before beginning the research phase in Theatre 491, the student must arrange for one of the resident theatre faculty to serve as faculty advisor. Together, the student and advisor will concur on a suitable project.

Selecting a Project

Each student should select a project that represents the focus of his/her work as a theatre major. For instance, if a student has not taken a class in directing, selecting a directing project is unacceptable. Ideally, a student will have had both classes and experiences in the area they select. Someone interested in designing lights will have completed several classes in design and sought experience in this area (working as a master electrician or assistant designer on a main stage show, designing a student project or children’s show, etc.)

Sample Project Options

The following are examples of project possibilities. There are many other examples and this is not intended to be a complete list. Please see individual guidelines for each section to assist in the selection process.


Perform a one-person show
Perform a selection of scenes and/or monologues centered around a theme Perform a one-act play
(Performances are limited to 25 minutes. The full faculty must approve any exceptions)


Direct a one-act play
Direct the children’s show
Direct a series of scenes centered around a theme
(Performances are limited to 25 minutes. The full faculty must approve any exceptions)


Write a one-act play to be presented in a staged reading (Readings are limited to 25 minutes. The full faculty must approve any exceptions) Write a children’s show


Write a research paper in the area of Theatre History or Dramatic Literature/Criticism Serve as dramaturg for a main stage show

Design (scenery, lighting, costumes, sound or props of a significant nature)

Design for the children’s show
Design for a senior project
Design a main stage show (only students with extensive experience will be approved for this project)

Getting the Project Approved

Each student must write a proposal outlining the project he/she wishes to undertake. The faculty advisor will distribute the proposal to resident theatre faculty for approval. The full resident faculty must approve each project proposal before work is continued. Please see discipline-specific guidelines for proposal outline requirements.


Performance projects needing funding will be given a small budget that students must work within. Students are not allowed to spend their own money on senior projects. The department will also pay any required royalties and arrange for the copying of posters and programs that students provide for their projects. Students must keep projects simple and work within budget demands. For instance, acting and directing projects must not require complicated technical or design support. Working within a prescribed budget is part of the project experience.

The Process

The two-quarter structure of the senior project is specifically designed to emphasize the process of developing a piece of theatre, whether that project involves performing, designing, writing, directing or researching. The process is as important as the final result. Those artists who are self-disciplined and able to work independently, who are well prepared and who apply energy to every stage of a project are the artists who will have the most success in their chosen profession. Therefore, each student will be...
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