Theatre & Music Theatre Department

Mission and Philosophy

Mission Statement

The Department of Theatre and Music Theatre at Viterbo University prepares students for professional employment as theatre artists, educators, and administrators by providing an environment in which students develop their creative potential through rigorous classroom and production experiences.

Training Philosophy

Established nearly a half-century ago, the Viterbo Theatre Arts program combines the heritage of a strong liberal arts education with innovative professional theatre training opportunities tailored to meet the needs and expectations of each individual as they prepare for a future theatre-related career. The program has been designed to provide each undergraduate student with a broad-based liberal arts education in the humanities, as well as a comprehensive foundation in the academic and production aspects of the theatrical arts.

It is our philosophy that such a program of study encourages the effective growth and development of the liberally educated person and productive theatre artist. The result is that the theatre arts major receives not only the practical proficiency required of success in the arts, but also the intellectual and interpersonal communication skills essential for successful living in the diverse and challenging world community.

Courses taken in the theatre "core" provide the student with a valuable knowledge and appreciation of all aspects of the multi-dimensional art, including history, literature, criticism, performance, directing, design, technical production, and management. Our program's extensive theatre production component allows students to further explore and apply the theatre core content in a creative forum, and promotes the development of the individual theatre artist: mind, body, creative spirit, and artistic vision.

The hallmark of the Viterbo Theatre Arts program is our commitment to offering extensive opportunities for each student to explore, discover, and focus their own talents, skills, and energies in his or her chosen interest area, whether it be education, history and literature, performance, directing, design, or technical production. Through the careful assistance and guidance of faculty advisors, each student is able to create a program of study which best meets their personal needs, goals, and expectations.

Students may choose to pursue a traditional Bachelor of Arts Degree in theatre, or may audition for the Bachelor of Fine Arts professional training degrees. A Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in Theatre Education is offered for students wishing to teach at the high school level. Interdisciplinary programs in music theatre, arts management, and dance are also available to the student.

This tailor-made, personal approach to theatre training results in a proven program of study which thoroughly prepares each individual for his or her next career step, whether it be working in the professional theatre, graduate school, or the high school classroom. This personal approach to theatre education has made our program successful for almost 50 years, and promises to be the key to effectively preparing theatre artists and community-minded citizens for the next century.

Production Philosophy

Throughout its extensive theatre production programming, the Viterbo University Theatre and Music Theatre Department strives to:

  • fulfill the missions, goals, educational objectives, and professional aspirations of this progressive liberal arts, Catholic Franciscan University and the Theatre and Music Theatre Department through a variety of integrated academic and production-oriented theatre offerings;
  • select, research, design, cast, rehearse, stage, and market a wide variety of theatrical presentations which effectively and reasonably challenge, stimulate, and expand the knowledge, skills, talents, creative abilities, and professionalism of our theatre and music theatre students, staff, and faculty;
  • stage and present a wide range of dramatic works of recognized artistic or literary merit from a variety of periods and genres, including classical and contemporary dramas, comedies, tragedies, musicals, operas, and other distinctive styles;
  • present consistently high-quality educational theatre productions and related programming to an ever-increasing public audience from the University and greater La Crosse communities;
  • to utilize guest artist/educators and partnerships with regional professional theatres to further expand and enhance our educational programming and production opportunities;
  • provide the members of the artistic production team and the members of our audience with engaging, entertaining, creative, intelligent, thought-provoking theatrical experiences which encourage and challenge us to consider and reflect upon the fullest possible spectrum of human actions, thoughts, philosophies, beliefs, values, prejudices, and diversities;
  • provide both artists and audience members the opportunity to "walk in the shoes of others," to invite them to see and appreciate life from a multiplicity of historical periods and cultural perspectives, and to facilitate dialogue, interaction, and mutual learning as a result of active participation in the live theatrical experience;
  • inform and educate our audience through pre-show publicity whenever we produce theatrical works of significant artistic and/or cultural merit which contain mature themes, situations, language, or material which may be considered offensive by some members of our audience.