By Eric Garneau
Introduction to Theater
A popular course to fill general education requirements in the arts, intro theater courses are taught at many colleges around the country. Their goal is to give an overview of stage performance, including its history, the major players and what goes in to creating a live production. Ideally, students will walk out of these courses with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the theatrical world. In addition, such classes often require the viewing of at least one on-campus performance, which gives you a great excuse to experience your school's artistic community.
When talking about the major figures of theater, no one comes to mind more than William Shakespeare. Since the late 16th century, he's single-handedly changed the face of the performing arts. You'd be hard-pressed to find a college English department that didn't offer courses on the Bard. Introductory classes on the subject cover the life, language and major works of this ridiculously influential author. Bonus: you might be able to enjoy a movie or two for class as well.
Maybe hands-on work is more your thing. You can employ that passion in the service of your school's theater program! Many universities offer courses on stagecraft, also known as theatrical production. You can help build sets, make costumes, run light and sound rigs and more. This work is essential to most modern theatrical shows, and can give you a chance to flex your creative muscle in a different way than your performance-loving peers.
Introduction to Acting for Non-Majors
Are you really feeling brave? Lots of theater departments offer introductory acting courses for people who aren't actors but want to try. Though you'll work just as hard as your stage-inclined peers, you can rest assured knowing that fellow classmates are probably just as green in their acting endeavors as you are. These courses can give you a great opportunity to really experience what it feels like to be on stage, which may give you a deeper appreciation of the art of theater than any classroom lecture course can offer.