Open Forum

  • 1.  Writing a Theatre Department Philosophy and Overview

    Posted 10-01-2021 16:26
    Hi everyone!
    I am currently trying to write a theatre department philosophy and overview for my school and my classes. I am the only theatre teacher, so this job falls only on me. We have But I have no idea where to start, or how to write it. I am wondering if there is anyone who would like to share with me their philosophy to give me some starting and some guidance!
    thanks so much!

    Andrea Haeussler
    Drama Teacher and Theatre Manager

  • 2.  RE: Writing a Theatre Department Philosophy and Overview

    Posted 10-03-2021 10:48
    Hi Andrea,
    Our theatre department (3 teachers) created the following statements as part of our visioning work. We are a public performing arts high school where any student can apply within the county and is admitted based on audition. We work for a diverse group of students who are committed to learning theatre. Here are the statements from our handbook. Hopefully this is helpful:

    Theatre Department Mission - (What is our purpose?)
    The Youth Performing Arts School Theatre Department provides an intensive and
    disciplined pre-college training program in a nurturing, supportive, environment
    for students who demonstrate a significant aptitude for and commitment to the
    study of theatre.
    Theatre Arts Department Vision – (How we would like things to be. Why are
    we doing this?)
    The YPAS Theatre Department is committed to comprehensive, educational
    excellence in theatre arts to promote wonder, empathy, and understanding in the
    world. The YPAS theatre department will be the premier training program in the
    state providing future college theatre artists, as well as future leaders in other
    Values – (The behaviors we engage in along with our
    skills and actions.)
    Intellectual Curiosity
    We foster creative and intellectual discovery and imagination. We commit
    ourselves to creating lifelong artist/scholars (learners) who appreciate and actively
    support the performing arts as integral to society.
    We believe in a level playing field and work toward equity, diversity, and inclusion
    within our program. We work toward highlighting voices historically
    underrepresented and under-resourced in educational theatre.
    We provide opportunities and an environment to explore and create meaningful,
    innovative ideas that engage the interdependence of process and product.
    We pursue a creative and compassionate environment committed to integrity and
    We strive for a shared vision while celebrating the individual voice. We
    acknowledge all contributions to the theatrical process through the teaching of
    acting, directing, playwriting, and dramaturgy and seek to provide opportunities for
    student collaboration within the department and with other disciplines.

    Katie Blackerby Weible
    Theatre Dept Chair
    Youth Performing Arts School
    Louisville KY

  • 3.  RE: Writing a Theatre Department Philosophy and Overview

    Posted 10-04-2021 07:36
    Hi Andrea,
    I need to re-write some things as I'm changing some course offerings next year, but you're welcome to look at my current information here: Shenandoah Valley Governor's School ​Theatre Department - Home (
    (also, feel free to tell me if you think I'm missing something! I'm working to improve recruiting and increase the appeal of the program.)

    Cassy Maxton-Whitacre
    Theatre Department Coordinator
    Shenandoah Valley Governor's School

  • 4.  RE: Writing a Theatre Department Philosophy and Overview

    Posted 10-04-2021 08:36
    Hi there,

    We recently created our goals for our graduates, which might offer a helpful framework for you. I found it interesting. Our frame was: "What do we want graduates to KNOW, BELIEVE, VALUE, and DO"? We created sentences for each verb.

    All the best,

    Elizabeth Fagan, Theatre Teacher
    she, her, hers
    New Mexico School for the Arts
    500 Montezuma Avenue
    Santa Fe, NM 87501

  • 5.  RE: Writing a Theatre Department Philosophy and Overview

    Posted 10-04-2021 19:07
    Several years ago, and inspired by a number of threads here, I wrote my old high school's current athletic director and asked him a question: when you're teaching or coaching football, baseball, or another sport, do you approach it as "high school football" or as "football?" IOW, do you focus on playing the sport at a high school level without regard to how it's played in college or professionally, or do you teach them the same rules, plays, etc. as in the college and professional world?

    He wrote me back a very nice letter, to the effect of "we take into consideration that our players aren't as big or strong as the pros, but our job is to to get them ready for the next step in their sports life (i.e., playing in college) whether or not they choose to take that step."

    I'm not a teacher (I'm a retired set designer), but that really resonated with me: if they choose to play a sport here, we'll get them ready -- we'll teach them what they need to know -- to play it later in college. But whether they play in college or not is up to them.

    George F. Ledo
    Set designer