Theatre and Communication Arts

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The Theatre and Communication Arts Department offers students an opportunity to explore creative, persuasive, and interpretive skills through careful attention to the human-centered process of making and breaking meaning. Across the department, students are encouraged to explore the performative dimensions of identity, communication, and narrative—with opportunities to participate in the bustling life of an active theatre, competition across the United States with the Howling 'Yotes speech and debate team, or constructing “the first draft of history” working on The Coyote, the College's student-run newspaper.

Why Study Theatre at The College of Idaho?

Theatre students are actively involved in making theatre at The College of Idaho by participating in Mainstage productions ranging from Shakespeare to contemporary plays to musical theatre. Scarlet Masque, a student theatre organization on campus, provides additional opportunities to hone your theatrical skills. All the while, you will receive individual mentoring from professors who work professionally as actors, directors, and theatrical designers.

Our comprehensive curriculum includes classes in acting, stagecraft, directing, theatre history, stage makeup, stage combat, play analysis, film studies, and design course (lighting, costuming, and scenery). Campus facilities include a versatile black box theatre that serves as the primary playing space for mainstage productions, a 200-seat recital hall where musicals and operas are staged, an 850-seat proscenium house, a smaller student-stage, and an outdoor amphitheater.

College of Idaho theatre graduates participate annually in the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival, and our graduates have gone on to perform with the Blue Man Group, serve as stage managers on Broadway, and work as professional actors, directors, playwrights, scenic artists, and costumers in numerous theatres across the country.

Why Study Communication at The College of Idaho?

The study of communication is simultaneously one of the oldest, and newest, academic disciplines. With roots reaching back to the Sumerian High Priestess Enheduanna (the first person to sign their name to their written work in human history), communication has been a part of the liberal arts experience since it was named in the liberal arts trivium as “Rhetoric.” In its more modern existence, the study of communication groups around topics like rhetoric, intercultural, interpersonal, critical/cultural, gendered, philosophy of communication, new media, or mass communication (the list, like the practices it is based on, could proliferate endlessly).

At The College of Idaho, we approach the study of communication by placing culture at the center, thinking about its constitutive function, and exploring how to develop skills that will serve students throughout their lives. Written, oral, visual, and digital communication all work together in complex, shifting ways to build our social worlds—and as a student of communication, you will learn to look at the world using multiple lenses to more closely listen, understand, and advocate. Students of communication also have the opportunity to take their skills and put them into use—immediately as part of their everyday lives, but also in more applied and specialized contexts, like working on the student newspaper, or competing in intercollegiate speech and debate tournaments with the Howling 'Yotes.

Graduates of the various communication programs at The College of Idaho have found themselves continuing on to advanced study of communication in master's and PhD programs, working for various news outlets, engaged in social activism, starting their own businesses, teaching, working in politics, and putting their transferable skills to work in any way they can imagine. The simple reality of living in our ever quickening information and technologically innovative social world is that graduates will be expected to put their skills to use in ways that we have not even imagined yet. Developing strong communication skills, with the ability to work in diverse groups and contexts, are skills that will serve students regardless of what specific paths they select to follow after graduation.

Career Opportunities for Theatre and Communication Arts Students

The study of theatre and communication arts prepares students to follow any path their hearts desire. A major or minor in any of our different offerings will prepare students for a graduate study in their respective disciplines, participation in a wide variety of different theatre and performing arts occupations, or work in the many other fields that use the strong communication skills developed by study in these disciplines.

Critically, study in the disciplines of theatre and communication develops what we like to call "transferable skills." This means that the skills and theories you explore in our classrooms can be picked up and moved into virtually any setting. Becoming a confident and prepared speaker and presenter will serve you well—from performing on the stages of Broadway, to pitching your business idea on Shark Tank. Playing different roles, and developing comfort with a broad, diverse set of cultures and cultural beliefs, will prepare students to participate in an increasingly globalized economy. Developing skills and strategies working with others is crucial to participation in any line of work where graduates will be expected to collaborate in order to solve complex social problems.