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News

New dramaturgy option that combines acting, music theatre, design and production

Carnegie Mellon Universtity : 17 August, 2006  (Technical Article)
Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama will add a production dramaturgy option to its bachelor of fine arts offerings in acting, music theatre, design and production this spring.
Dramaturgy unites scholarship with hands-on production work in order to enhance the theatre making experience for a theatre company. A dramaturg is an expert on the aesthetics and historical context of a script in production and assists in making the author of the script's intentions apparent to an audience from any time period.

'Dramaturgy is to dramatic literature what metallurgy is to raw iron. Dramaturgs enhance the living theatre by being experts on the history, aesthetic theory, intellectual contexts and interpretive possibilities of a script in production,' said Michael Chemers, an assistant professor of dramatic literature in the School of Drama. 'At the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, dramaturgy students join a top-ranked, internationally respected theatre training program, and will participate in one of the highest-quality professional theatre experiences available to undergraduates,' he said.

'In creating this new professional discipline in our school, we are formalizing the excellent contextual work in dramaturgy already supporting many of our productions. Our approach to this training will emphasize practical participation in the realization of plays in performance,' said Elizabeth Bradley, head of the School of Drama.

The dramaturgy option at Carnegie Mellon will involve academic and artistic training, with emphasis on research methods, aesthetic and critical theories, historical knowledge and professional experience with productions. The dramaturgy option will be an interdisciplinary mix of the academic and theatre-related studies offered at Carnegie Mellon.

Besides fulfilling Carnegie Mellon and the College of Fine Arts requirements, dramaturgy students will complete between 90 and 110 units of coursework related to dramaturgical study and production. These units will be mostly divided between the English and History departments.

While Carnegie Mellon only recently recognized dramaturgy as an official focus within the School of Drama, classes for students interested in the field have been offered for several years. Nationally, only five percent of the theater programs surveyed by the Teaching Theatre History/Historiography Research group at the American Society for Theatre Research offer more than four terms of theatre history classes. With the new program, Carnegie Mellon will be offering six terms, placing its program in the top tier for the number of course units required for graduation.

The School of Drama is one of the nation's most distinguished degree-granting theatre programs and is one of five schools within Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts. The College of Fine Arts is a community of nationally and internationally recognized artists and professionals organized into Architecture, Art, Design, Drama and Music, and their associated centers and programs.
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