Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
Our theatre major combines the benefits of a dynamic, focused, professionally-oriented program with the rich and rewarding liberal-arts experience Barton is known for. In addition to the core courses in the major, students choose among four areas of concentration: performance, musical theatre, design, and management. Coursework in each area is cross-disciplinary, encouraging breadth in academics and experience. Our students emerge well prepared for the rigors of the job market; and, if further study is desired, our B.A. degree is suitable for entry to graduate study in any area of specialization.
Concentration areas combine coursework in theatre with other relevant disciplines. The design concentration includes specialized courses in theatre design as well as studio art and graphic design. The management concentration provides courses in economics, accounting, and management from the School of Business. Finally, the concentrations in performance and musical theatre involve study in movement, dance, music and voice.
The theatre program produces four main-stage productions each year, as well as multiple student works and collaborations. Students work on comedies, dramas, musicals, one-act plays, concerts, and faculty shows. Recent productions include:
Tartuffe • The Rocky Horror Show • Peter Pan • Hangar Flying (an original play) • Two by Two • Romeo and Juliet • Whodunit? • Five Women Wearing the Same Dress • The Spitfire Grill • A Doll’s House • Drood (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) • MacBeth • Afric’s Muse (world premiere) • Waiting for Godot • Violet.
Participation in Barton productions is open to all students at the College, as well as faculty, staff, and theatre professionals from the greater community. Our small size provides students with immediate, hands-on opportunities that larger programs cannot offer. Leading roles and responsible positions on the production team are often secured by freshman and transfer students, leading to unsurpassed, professional-grade experience.
The Kennedy Family Theatre provides an outstanding, state-of-the-art teaching and performance space for all levels and styles of production. In addition to our multitude of theatre performances, this black-box facility plays host to an extraordinary array of academic and performing arts events, including our Barton/Wilson Symphony Orchestra.
The theatre major provides rigorous training in all areas of the industry, including acting, directing, singing, movement, dance, stagecraft, theatre history, voice, and speech. Students take part in Theatre Participation at least four times, this course provides credit for the many hours of involvement with theatrical productions during a semester — whether acting, directing, designing sets, or working in costumes and makeup.
Our senior seminar course requires a self-directed, capstone project related to your specialized interest in theatre. You will also develop your interviewing and auditioning skills, write a résumé, and prepare for professional opportunities or for graduate school.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
The Mabel M. Griffin Endowment is awarded to a Wilson County student majoring in theatre. Additionally, there are institutional scholarships for theatre majors and students involved with the theatre program, as well as endowed scholarships in music for which theatre majors often qualify.
Barton students have interned at La Jolla Playhouse in California, Theatre Raleigh/Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy, and the North Carolina Theatre in Raleigh, as well as with local public schools and the Arts Council of Wilson. Additionally, the Theatre of the American South, a locally produced, professional theatre festival, together with Barton’s Summer Visual and Performing Arts Camp, offers opportunities for students every summer.
Theatre majors can become actors, directors, dancers, theatre managers, producers, designers, technicians, agents, or teachers. In addition, the problem solving, leadership, and collaborative skills you’ll develop are not only desirable, but directly transferable to all professions.
Recent graduates are working professionally in North Carolina, in Los Angeles, and at Walt Disney World in Orlando, as well as in Broadway and Off-Broadway theatres. A career in theatre is incredibly rewarding and can be equally varied in shape and direction. We endeavor to prepare students for success at every level in a way that is specific and unique to them.
Clubs and Organizations
Barton’s theatre club, Stage and Script, is the oldest student organization on campus. Each year, this dedicated group provides support for main-stage theatre productions and for the many related events hosted in our performing arts facility.
Dean, School of Visual, Performing, and Communication Arts
Case Art Building