Drama Classes and Courses Overview

Drama classes and courses are part of associate's, bachelor's or master's degree programs in drama, acting, screenwriting or directing. They can also be taken for non-credit, personal interest through private schools and at professional theatres. Read on to learn more about the different courses in this field of study.

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Essential Information

Drama classes and programs teach students the fundamentals of acting and stagecraft, and participation in a performance and as part of the stage crew is often required.

Here are some common concepts taught in drama classes:

  • Performance techniques
  • Diction
  • History of the dramatic arts
  • Dialects and accents
  • Playwriting and screenwriting

Requirements for admission to a drama degree program may include items like an essay, audition, recommendation letter, resume and photograph.

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List of Common Drama Courses

Drama Class Fundamentals

Basic drama classes introduce students to the fundamental skills of the physical and emotional craft of acting through the study of specific acting methods and exercises. Drama students practice character analysis and learn how to create a dramatic character. Students may learn by performing the works of classic playwrights, such as Stanislavsky, Meisner and Chekhov. Acting skills are developed through improvisations, scene work, focused theater exercises, group work and monologues. A fundamentals class is usually taken at the beginning of a program.

Introduction to Theater

A theater course explores the major differences between theater and other dramatic arts and introduces students to the process of bringing a play to life. Class time is generally spent discussing specific plays, giving demonstrations, listening to lectures and taking written exams. Students put on performances, discuss playwriting issues and explore how plays are structured. Some theater classes may require students to write and present a short play as a final assignment or exam. Some programs may have multiple theater courses, which are taken throughout the program.

Introduction to Film

In a film course, students explore the medium of film and its current popularity. Narrative structures, cinematography, film and television genres, mise-en-scene and editing fundamentals may be introduced. In addition to learning the history of cinema, students learn practical skills like how to handle camera close-ups, deliver monologues and scenes on camera, analyze screenplays and prepare digital reels. Film courses may be taken throughout a drama curriculum.

Drama Voice and Diction

Students practice voice development, diction and vocal variety in a drama voice and diction course. Course lessons instruct students in expressiveness and volume projection. Inflections, articulations, speech rates, phrasing, breath and vibration techniques are also explored in this class. Students spend time in the classroom and in the theater developing voice and diction skills by performing current and older works, including Shakespeare. Dialect training is generally introduced in British but can differ based on students' accent preferences.

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