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Suit the Action to the Word uses project based learning (PBL), a method of instruction that emphasizes learning and applying skills and knowledge in real life situations. By presenting students with project challenges that require creativity, collaboration, adherence to deadlines, and presentation skills, PBL more closely resembles adult life challenges that will be found in the workplace, home projects, hobbies, and civic engagement.
One may ask how these project challenge requirements apply to the theatre?
- Creativity – The essence of theatre.
- Collaboration – Theatre is the ultimate collaborative art form.
- Adherence to Deadlines – The ultimate deadline of the theatre is the first preview of the show.
- Presentation Skills – These skills are necessary across a wide range of activities well beyond the theatre.
In this nontraditional introduction to theatre textbook, students will “learn by doing” through collaborative hands-on project work that will have them on their feet and involved both physically and mentally.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Storytelling
Chapter 3: Playwriting
Chapter 4: Beginnings
Chapter 5: Greek and Roman Theatre 5
Chapter 6: The Medieval Theatre
Chapter 7: Re-emergence of Theatre in the Renaissance
Chapter 8: Shakespeare
Chapter 9: Realism vs. Experimental Theatre 1860-1945
Chapter 10: Modern Theatre 1946-present
Chapter 11: Musical Theatre
Chapter 12: Acting
Chapter 13: Designers—Set, Costume, Light, and Sound
Chapter 14: Reviewing
Chapter 15: Careers in Theatre
Jeff Kean is a Lecturer and Head of Theatre Design at Tennessee Tech University. He has taught theatre at Penn State University, California State University Pomona, Pellisssippi State Community College, and Woodland Community College. He served as Executive Director for the Woodland Opera House (CA) and The Harbor Playhouse (TX) and Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the East Tennessee Shakespeare in the Park Company. His professional directing and set and light design credits include theatres in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arizona, Tennessee, North Carolina, and California. His undergraduate degree is from Wittenberg University and he holds a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. He is a member of the Screen Actors Guild since 1991.
Mark Harry Creter is a Professor of Theatre for the Department of English at Tennessee Technological University as well as the artistic director of the campus theatre, the Backdoor Playhouse. He has taught classes ranging from Acting and Directing to Dramatic Literature and History of Theatre. Introduction to Theatre is a favorite as it gives Mark the opportunity to introduce freshman to the campus theatre community and the joys of working in the Backdoor Playhouse.
He received his Bachelor of Arts in Theatrical Production from Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Virginia and his Master of Fine Arts in Acting and Directing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After finishing his college training, he spent a number of years performing professionally in regional theatres and dinner theatres from Greensboro, North Carolina to Omaha, Nebraska. Eventually he settled in Tennessee, first in Knoxville where he co-founded the Tennessee Stage Company and now in Cookeville where in addition to his work for the University he has directed and acted for local theatres including the Cookeville Performing Arts Center, the Wesley Arena Theatre, and the Cookeville Children’s Theatre.
He was winner of the College of Arts & Sciences Award for Research and Creative Activity for 2015. He received the QEP Award of Excellence in Innovative Instruction for 2008-2009 with his friend and colleague Mr. Andrew Smith. He has received awards for outstanding directing and acting from the Knoxville Area Theatre Coalition. He received the artist patron award from the Cookeville Arts Council and the Intellectual Freedom Award from the National Council of Teachers of English for his work directing and producing The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. He has been professionally associated with the Tennessee Theatre Association, the South Eastern Theatre Conference, the Kennedy Centre American College Theatre Festival and the David Mamet Society.
Eleni Fragopoulos is an adjunct professor at Tennessee Technological University and a high school teacher at Stone Memorial High School. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from the University of Tennessee where she performed in many shows in the early 90’s. She has acted in countless plays and musicals over the years including many classics such as Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, and was even nominated for an Irene Ryan Award for her role as Bet in Oliver. Eleni has also directed numerous plays including Bye Bye Birdie, Little Women, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She attended plays from the time she was young and therefore grew to love every aspect of the theatre. She later received a Master of Arts in Education from Tennessee Technological University. She has enjoyed teaching Introduction to Theatre at TTU and sharing her love for the theatre while creating an understanding among a new generation about the magic surrounding theatre and all the aspects it entails.
Prudence van Aalten
Prudence van Aalten started studying theatre at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan as a Musical Theatre major. Prudence then got her Bachelor of Science in Theatre at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. While she was there, she studied abroad in London on The Shakespeare Programme. In London, she studied with Sheila Allen, Simon Stokes, Selina Cadell and a master class with Fiona Shaw. Prudence spent the following summer working at The Williamstown Theater Festival. After graduating from Skidmore College, Prudence studied at The Beverly Hills Playhouse and The Larry Moss Studio in Los Angeles as well as the The William Esper Studio in New York City where she focused on learning the Meisner Technique. She graduated from The William Esper Studio in 2004 and continued to study with him in his Master Class. She went onto to study the Strasberg Technique with Tony Greco. Prudence’s professional acting career includes performances at The Women’s Project Theater, Dixon Place, St. Ann’s Warehouse, The Producers Club, Manhattan Repertory Theater, Manhattan Theatre Source, The Bridge Theatre, and Seventh Street Small Stage. Prudence has also appeared in independent films and has worked with directors such as M. Night Shyamalan and Noah Buschel. Prudence was a teacher at Westridge School for Girls in Pasadena, CA and is currently an Adjunct Professor at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN since 2014