Almost everyone at Covenant has been to a theatre department production in one form or another—whether it was a musical, a Laugh Track performance, or an intense drama such as “Edith Stein.” The department was well-known and loved here on the mountain, which is why it came as such a shock to the student body last semester when the college announced that it would no longer be offering a theatre major to incoming students, and that the theatre department was to be dissolved. However, this decision may turn out to be slightly less than final.
Dr. Jeff Hall, Vice President of Academic Affairs, explained in a faculty announcement on Aug 17 that the theatre major and department will be back in force pending the official approval of the Faculty Curriculum Committee, which will meet later in the school year.
Hallstrom drew up a proposal for a theatre concentration under the English department back in May, which consisted of theatre courses that could still be offered after Professor Kirby’s unfortunate absence. “There is no reason to believe the proposition will not pass,” writes Professor Hallstrom. There is precedent for such a plan, as a similar concentration was awarded by the college before theatre was a major. Once the proposition was submitted though, Paul Morton, Director of Academic Affairs, judged that it was enough to qualify for an independent major with the strategic support of adjunct faculty.
Until then, the theatre department will continue to produce plays, though not in the exact same capacity. Due to budget cuts, Professor Hallstrom will direct the first play in each semester as a department show, while the student-led Drama Association will take over the production of the second play in each semester. This means that the second-slot plays will have more student participation in higher levels of the creative process. This does not mean that the production quality of these plays will suffer due to their creative separation from the theatre department.
One example of what this could look like is the Ten Minute Play Festival, which took place last semester and featured plays that were all student-written and student-directed. Though the Drama Association’s plays are most likely not going to be student-written, students will have a prominent voice in the creative process and the selection of the plays that will be produced. The theatre department will still be greatly involved in these productions so that the Drama Association is not overwhelmed and has the necessary support to succeed.
I hope that this has helped to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the theatre department this year. Yes, we will be a major again. Yes, we will still be putting on plays. And yes, the Drama Association will be an important part of theatre at Covenant moving forward. I hope that you all come out to see the wonderful plays we have lined up for this semester and next. This semester, Professor Hallstrom will direct the one-act play “The Savannah Disputation,” and senior Cacey Williams will direct “Waiting for Godot” under the Drama Association’s banner. In the Spring semester, Hallstrom will direct “The Island of Doctor Moreau,” followed by another production run by the Drama Association.