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Writing in the Discipline

Theatre

1. Why or in what ways is writing important to your discipline/field/profession?

Writing is important to all students intent on a career in theatre. Actors, singers, dancers, playwrights, directors and designers must use their skills to create cover letters, resumes, grant applications, websites and portfolios, to write press releases, and to write scenes, songs, and plays. Theatre dramaturgs and historians must be able to write program notes, magazine articles, scholarly articles, and books. Development Directors and Theatre Administrators must be able to write letters to patrons soliciting donations, to create websites, and to generate promotional materials. Theatre critics must be able to author production reviews.

RIC students writing

2. Which courses are designated as satisfying the WID requirement by your department? Why these courses?

The theatre area within the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance has designated the following courses to be emblematic of Writing in the Discipline:

For the Theatre Design/Tech, General, and Performance concentrations, the following courses will satisfy the WID requirement:

  • THTR 440: History of Theatre: Origins to 1800
  • THTR 441: History of Theatre: 1800 to Present
  • THTR 460: Senior Seminar

For the Theatre Musical concentration, the following course will satisfy the WID requirement:

  • THTR 460: Senior Seminar

These courses have been chosen as WID classes because they require and teach different types of writing essential to theater majors.

3. What forms or genres of writing will students learn and practice in your department’s WID courses? Why these genres?

Students in the theater program will be introduced to and learn and practice numerous genres of writing in our WID courses. For example, In THTR 229: Playwriting, students will write numerous scene-types (e.g. action scenes, conflict scenes, event scenes, etc.). Students in theater history courses will be asked to write detailed play analysis and play reviews, and to accompany them with oral presentations on the same topic. Finally, students taking THTR 460: Senior Seminar will create and perform a Senior Showcase in both Rhode Island and in New York City. This work will require them to write/create journals, a press release, a website, promotional materials and many other kinds of documents.

4. What kinds of teaching practices will students encounter in your department’s WID courses?

Students in the theater department will encounter many different kinds of writing instruction. In THTR 229, for example, students will participate in one-on-one meetings with their instructor to discuss work-in-progress. In other courses they will be asked to submit drafts of papers to their instructor and classmates for feedback. Finally, students will produce and share various low-stakes assignments such as weekly journals and high stakes projects such as research reports.

5. When they’ve satisfied your department’s WID requirement, what should students know and be able to do with writing?

By the time they complete the theater department’s WID courses, students should be able to do the following:
A. market themselves to a prospective employer or funding source via a resume, portfolio, personal website, and other promotional materials.
B. market their production or their theatre to the public via press releases, websites, and other promotional materials.
C. generate their own work (e.g., monologues, scenes, 10-minute plays, full length plays)
D. critically review productions
E. analyze plays.
F. create effective oral presentations of monologues, scenes, plays, songs, and design concepts​

Dance

1. Why or in what ways is writing important to your discipline/field/profession?

Students pursuing a dance a major need to write effectively and clearly about themselves as dancers, teachers, choreographers and administrators. Researching about dancers, choreographers or content for creative projects is a staple for students in the dance discipline. Although a visual artform, the ability to communicate one’s art, process, research, methodology, and pedagogy is equally important for dancers.

2. Which courses are designated as satisfying the WID requirement by your department? Why these courses?

We have identified the following two courses as writing in the discipline for dance:

  • DANC 215: Contemporary Dance and Culture
  • DANC 309: Dance History

These courses have been selected because they occur in the beginning and middle of the student’s degree program, which assists with monitoring growth in students’ writing development. Further, these courses are well-suited for WID because, from a curriculum standpoint, they provide the room and space for intensive writing instruction and practice.

Although DANC 215 and 325 have been designated as our WID courses, various other dance courses also contain writing components and instruction.

3. What forms or genres of writing will students learn and practice in your department’s WID courses? Why these genres?

Students taking our WID courses will practice various written genres including critiques, arguments, analytical and exploratory pieces, and research papers.

4. What kinds of teaching practices will students encounter in your department’s WID courses?

Students taking dance WID courses will encounter experiential teaching practices that include scaffolded assignments, multiple drafts, peer review, instructor feedback, in-class writing, and writing-to-learn exercises. Instructors give lectures on writing, feedback, and assignments.

5. When they’ve satisfied your department’s WID requirement, what should students know and be able to do with writing?

Students who have completed the WID courses in dance should be confident that they have the foundation, tools, and practice to successfully write in the dance field. Students will be capable of successfully writing job applications, cover letters, resumes/CVs, artist statements, teaching philosophy statements, grant applications and commission proposals and scholarly research.

Page last updated: April 28, 2020