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    Welcome to Gannon University's Theatre Program


    About the Program

    The Theatre program is housed in Gannon University's School of Communication and the Arts.  Theatre Walls 1Gannon’s location in downtown Erie places students near three operating theatres.  Professors in the Theatre Program are dynamic, experienced scholars and practitioners with a passion for teaching.  

    The School of Communication and the Arts sponsors trips to New York City and London, tours of theatres in neighboring cities, and participation in the American College Theatre Festival Region II.  

    As of Fall 2016, students studying Theatre at Gannon now have the option to pursue a BA in Performance for Media and Theatre or a BA in Theatre Design and Technologies.    These new major distinctions maintain the standards Gannon's liberal studies core and broad based education, while offering strong professional experience in both the Communications core and each of the focused specializations  

    BA Performance for Media and Theatre students participate in regular audition processes, as well as studying stage combat, acting, voice and diction, improv, and movement.   BA Theatre Design and Technology students participate in the pre-production and production process of the technical side of the Schuster Theatre main stage.  Lighting, sound design, set construction, scenic painting and graphic design are integral elements for a large scale theatrical program. 

    Year by Year Course Matrix - Current Degree Requirements



    Fall – 17 credits

    First-Year Seminar / COMM 161 (1 credit)

    College Composition / LENG 111 (3 credits)

    History Without Borders / LHST 111 (3 credits)

    Presentational Strategies / SPCH 115 (3 credits)

    Intro to Electronic Media / COMM 111 (3 credits)

    Fine Arts Series / LFIN (3 credits)

    Practicum in Media and Theatre / COMM 162 (1 credit)


    Spring – 18 credits

    Media Programming / COMM 112 (3 credits) 

    Crit Analysis & Comp / LENG 112 (3 credits)

    Intro to Philosophy / LPHI 131 (3 credits)

    Scene Technology / THEA 112 (3 credits)

    Sacred Scriptures / LTHE 121 (3 credits)

    Intro to Theatre / THEA 111 (3 credits)



    Fall – 16 credits

    Foreign Language I (3 credits)

    Philosophy II Series / LPHI (3 credits)

    Fundamentals of Acting / THEA 140 (3 credits)

    Digital Audio Production / COMM 241 (3 credits) 

    Practicum in Media and Theatre / COMM 262 (1 credit) (3 credits) 


    Spring – 18 Credits

    Foreign Language II (3 credits)

    Theology II Series / LTHE  (3 credits)

    Cont. Issues in Media and Theatre / THEA 210 (3 credits) 

    Voice and Diction / THEA 221 (3 credits)

    TV Production / COMM 211 (3 credits) 

    TV/Radio Performance / COMM 230 (3 credits) 



    Fall – 15 credits

    Broadcast Copywriting / COMM 321 (3 credits) 

    Theology/Philosophy III Series / LTHE or LPHI (3 credits)

    Production and Performance in Theatre / THEA 360-3 (3 credits)

    Leadership Seminar (2 credits) (3 credits)

    Electives (3 credits)


    Spring- 15 credits

    Argumentation and Debate / SPCH 322 (3 credits)

    Math (3 credits)

    Literature Series / LENG (3 credits)

    Theatre Criticism THEA 421 or Media Ethics & Criticism / COMM 350 (3 credits) 

    Design ONLY: Principles of Design / THEA 251 or Digital Graphics / COMM 356 (3 credits)

    Performance ONLY: Improvisation / THEA 340 (3 credits)



    Fall – 15 credits

    LS Science (3 credits)

    Social Science (3 credits)

    Interpersonal Communication / SPCH 235 (3 credits)

    Design ONLY: Costume and Makeup Techniques / THEA 252 (3 credits)

    Performance ONLY: Advanced Acting / THEA 350 (3 credits)

    Electives (3 credits)


    Spring – 14 credits

    Senior Seminar and Thesis (LS Capstone) / THEA 400 (3 credits)

    Production and Performance in Theatre / THEA 360-3 (3 credits)

    Design ONLY: Principles of Design / THEA 251 or Digital Graphics / COMM 356 (3 credits) (whichever was not taken as part of the Communication Arts Core)

    Design ONLY: Production and Stage Management / THEA 354 or Puppetry / THEA 253 (3 credits)

    Performance ONLY: Principles of Play Directing / THEA 310 (3 credits)

    Electives  (Performance: 5 credits / Design: 2 credits)


    For more information about studying Theatre at Gannon please contact:

    Rev Shawn Clerkin - Director of Theatre - clerkin001@gannon.edu or 814-871-7493

    Jax Vadney - Technical Director/Design Professor - vadney003@gannon.edu or 814-871-7720

    Alaina Manchester - Performance Faculty - manchest003@gannon.edu or 814-871-5392

    Paula Barrett speaks about her experiences teaching Improv at Gannon University.

    Video footage of a class project from Paula Barrett's movement class.

    This is a short video of a student project from Jax Vadney's (Jax Kubiak) Puppetry Class. The puppets and script were developed based on fairy tales for this original short puppet piece.


     Special Associations 

    • Gannon University's Theatre Program was one of the original American College/University programs invited to perform at the International Collegiate Theatre Festival held in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2011.  Since that inaugural participation, Gannon returned in 2014 with WHIMSICAL GRIMM, an original work involving puppetry.  Gannon's Theatre program returned to Edinburgh in August 2017 to perform the new work APE/ESSENCE by Rev. Shawn Clerkin, based on the work by Aldous Huxley.  This new work will once again bring Gannon's puppetry to the ICTF stage.

    • Students from the Theatre program have the opportunity to attend the annual United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT) conference with Gannon faculty.   This conference enables our students to meet and interact with theatre design and technology professionals from across the country.  Students may attend various workshops, interview for internships, have their design portfolios reviewed, and meet with various theatre graduate programs during the week-long conference.  

     Schuster signAdmission Requirements

    For students wishing to be accepted for admission to Gannon University:

    • Completion of 16 academic units at the high school level, four of which must be English; remainder of units are to be comprised of social sciences, foreign language, mathematics and science.

    • Your academic course selection, grades, rank in class, shcool counselor recommendation and SAT/ACT scores will be carefully reviewed for admission consideration.
    • Demonstrate motivation and curiosity through interests and extracurricular activities.


    For students wishing to be accepted for admission to the Theatre Program:

    • Students wishing to be accepted to the BA in Performance for Media and Theatre will need to successfully complete an admission audition process.  

    • Students wishing to be accepted to the BA in Theatre Design and Technologies will need to successfully complete a portfolio review process.

Gannon University Institute for Health and Cyber Knowledge (I-HACK)

Gannon University announces the launch of the Institute for Health and Cyber Knowledge (I-HACK).