Theatre History

Course Number: TA 274
Transcript Title: Theatre History
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: August 14, 2019
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0


MTH 20 or equivalent placement test

Prerequisite / Concurrent

Course Description

Explores the nature of the theatrical event, its emergence and significance in the lives of the people of the past from ancient Greece to the present and investigates theatre as the evolution of a multidisciplinary artistic, cultural, social, economic, religious and political form. Prerequisites: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Define theatre practices from different time periods and cultures and relate them to each particular society's norms.
  2. Analyze theatrical influences, contributions and changes from period to period.
  3. Apply the contributions of the past to present theatrical themes and conventions.
  4. Relate course content to other art forms to comprehend and value the ways that all arts in a society are interconnected, and how different art forms can influence theatre in their own and other global societies.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

Major 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)


2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)

Not addressed

3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)


4. Use an understanding of cultural differences to constructively address issues that arise in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)

Not addressed

5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

To establish an intentional learning environment, Core Learning Outcomes (CLOs) require a clear definition of instructional strategies, evidence of recurrent instruction, and employment of several assessment modes.

Major Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed recurrently in the curriculum, regularly enough to establish a thorough understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a thorough understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Minor Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed adequately in the curriculum, establishing fundamental understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a fundamental understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

The student will:

  • Comprehend, apply, analyze and evaluate reading assignments to identify and describe the various periods of theatre historically, and relate such ideas in class discussion forums.
  • Generate essays appraising the ways theatre both reinforces and challenges society norms in specific periods.
  • Write play critiques which reflect understanding of a text as a product of its time and its artistic value in the development of theatre.

Course Activities and Design

  • The determination of teaching strategies used in the delivery of outcomes is generally left to the discretion of the instructor. Here are some strategies that you might consider when designing your course: lecture, small group/forum discussion, flipped classroom, dyads, oral presentation, role play, simulation scenarios, group projects, service learning projects, hands-on lab, peer review/workshops, cooperative learning (jigsaw, fishbowl), inquiry based instruction, differentiated instruction (learning centers), graphic organizers, etc.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, and Issues

Theatre as a part of the culture:

  • Elements of popular entertainment
  • Distinguishing it from ceremonies and rituals
  • Imitation, role-playing and storytelling

Cultural and social requirements as a basis for theatrical art:

  • Defining playing spaces
  • Introducing what constitutes dramatic subject matter

Compare and contrast theatrical changes from period to period:

  • Roman and Greek theatre as a basis for all theatre.
  • Medieval Theatre as it reflects the religious vernacular development of drama.
  • Miracle and morality plays as they define the ethics and morals of the period.
  • Asian theatre and its visions as it reflects the differences from Western culture.
  • The Renaissance and a rebirth of culture, criticism, architecture
  • Development of modernism as reflective of the past and a vision of the future.


  • Identify and describe live theatre and distinguish it from other art forms.
  • Identify and describe Greek and Roman theatrical spaces and performances.
  • Apply understanding of the Medieval period in theatre.
  • Identify and describe Asian theatre and their influence on the development of world theatre.
  • Apply understanding of the contribution of Renaissance Theatre in the theatre of today.
  • Identify and explain Modernism and how it reflects the past and points to the future.
  • Make connections between aspects of theatre production from various time periods

Department Notes

Theatre History is designed to introduce the history of the theatre from classical Greece and Rome to contemporary theatre. It may involve attendance at live theatre, guest speakers, field trips, slides and videos. Dramatic texts representing eras will be studied as well as evidence of historical theatre practice. This course is transferable to four-year educational institutions and may be taken to satisfy a General Education requirement.