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Theatre Arts

Carmen Chavez

Carmen Christine Chavez ’21

“I love how easy it is to get involved with theatre at Coe. The best way to learn about the art of performing is by being involved in a production. At Coe, students get more one-on-one attention from staff, making it easier to improve your theatrical skills.”

Carmen is a biology and musical theatre major, who has worked with her advisor to develop a four-year plan. She says Coe faculty often share audition opportunities outside of Coe because they know practice is the key to honing your craft.

As a theatre student you will participate in at least one of the two mainstage productions held in Dows Theatre each year and have a number of opportunities to partake in student-directed or student-generated productions. Sound, costumes, makeup and props are all student responsibilities.

Why Theatre Arts at Coe?

Our mission is to provide practical and theoretical training in theatre making (through classes, labs and productions) with a collaborative process that builds community, fosters global awareness and examines the complexities of diverse human narratives.

The theatre arts program is designed to provide a balance between academic and experiential learning for all interested students. Our goal is to offer opportunities for participation in all aspects of theatre, on stage and in the classroom, and to enrich the cultural and academic life of the college.

The program accommodates both majors and minors through courses focused on theatrical history, theory and literature, as well as through training in acting, directing, design and theatrical production. This foundation prepares you for graduate study and for any field that values high-level communication skills, as well as careers in theatre as teachers, artists, technicians or managers.

To help you prepare for graduate study and/or a professional career, all majors are required to present an audition piece or portfolio for annual review beginning your second year. The senior seminar provides a capstone experience, giving you an opportunity to reflect on your development as a theatre artist and to examine theatre as a collaborative art form.

You may choose to complete a general theatre major or an emphasis in secondary education endorsement in theatre arts, theatre arts management, performing arts. You also may opt to focus on playwriting or dramaturgy.


Fostering opportunities to develop new work for the stage has been a long-standing mission of Coe's theatre program. Since 1993 Coe has held a national biennial playwriting contest that brings the winning playwright to campus for a one-week residency that includes writing workshops with playwriting students. Playwriting Workshops I and II are offered each year, and new plays written by students are featured in annual events.


We believe theatre belongs at the center of your liberal arts experience, and nowhere is this more evident than in the study of dramaturgy. In our Production and Performance course, students submerge themselves in the dramaturgical research suggested by the playtext, exploring historical, social and political issues.