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Theatre Arts

The following degrees are fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST):

  • Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre

It is the mission of the Mars Hill University Theatre Arts Department to provide a nurturing training environment for students and support their artistic growth in all theatrical disciplines, rigorously educate them to become collaborators and leaders in their professions, and encourage them to aspire to theatrical excellence in their communities and to communities throughout the world.

THEATRE ARTS DEPARTMENT GOALS

1. To provide students with a solid foundation in the study of theatre, preparing them for careers in the professional or educational arenas or further study in a graduate program.

2. To provide students with a variety of opportunities to be their most creative in artistic endeavors, and challenge and strengthen their abilities to do so.

3. To develop the students’ intellectual curiosities, expose them to the vast variety and diversity that is inherent in theatre, and encourage them to explore new horizons in the ever-evolving art form.

4. To foster independence, confidence, and initiative in students’ educational experiences and projected career paths.

5. To provide participation opportunities and cultural experiences for the campus community and the Southern Appalachian region, and to work in concert with other departments and programs of study within the university and other academic institutions.

THEATRE ARTS DEPARTMENT STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES

It is the faculty’s belief and commitment that the Theatre Arts department course offerings and programming will reflect and meet desired student learning outcomes as follows.

The students will:

  • Expand their knowledge of the dramatic canon and its cultural context and increase their ability to think critically and creatively and to write analytically.
  • Develop competencies in theatrical disciplines, and increase proficiencies in specialized areas of study.
  • Strengthen the skills necessary to communicate in an effective oral and performative manner while developing a collaborative work ethic and an ensemble spirit.
  • Develop an appreciation of and explore the evolutionary aspect of theatre, how it reflects a given society, societal concerns, and basic human issues and examine innovative styles and diversity in dramatic literature.
  • Increase comprehension and awareness of aesthetic experience and expression while cultivating a sense of responsibility and personal growth.

Clybourne Park

The MHU Theatre Arts Department presented “Clybourne Park” in October 2019. The play, by Bruce Norris, received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Broadway’s Tony Award for Best Play, and London’s Olivier Award for Best New Play. Tackling the timely issues of race and real estate with biting humor, “Clybourne Park” covers subjects particularly relevant and important to society today. The play is Norris’ modern answer to Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun,” and takes place in the same fictional neighborhood the Younger family moves to at the end of that classic play.

Dearly Departed

Award winning New York City director and actor Reginald Wilson was the guest director of “Dearly Departed,” presented by our theatre arts department in November 2018. Dearly Departed, written by David Bottrell and Jessie Jones, is a fast moving play that takes place in the backwoods of the Bible Belt. The beleaguered Turpin family proves that living and dying in the South are seldom tidy and always hilarious. Despite their earnest efforts to pull themselves together for their father’s funeral, the Turpins’ other problems keep overshadowing the solemn occasion. Amidst the chaos, the Turpins turn for comfort to their friends and neighbors, an eccentric community of misfits who just manage to pull together and help each other through their hours of need, and finally, the funeral.

Freaky Friday

In February 2019, Mars Hill University’s Theatre Arts Department premiered Disney’s “Freaky Friday: A New Musical” both in North Carolina and as the first collegiate production.

The new musical is based on the beloved 1972 Freaky Friday novel by Mary Rodgers and the hit Disney films. It features a script by Bridget Carpenter, co-executive producer and writer of TV hits, “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood”; and music and lyrics by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composers of “Next to Normal” and “If/Then.”

The plot concerns an overworked mother and her teenage daughter who magically swap bodies, then have just one day to put things right again. It is a heartfelt, comedic, and unexpectedly emotional update on an American classic. By spending a day in each other’s shoes, characters Katherine and Ellie come to appreciate one another’s struggles, learn self-acceptance, and realize the immeasurable love and mutual respect that bond a mother and daughter.