History of the School
The beginnings of professional quality training with a liberal arts education form the basic teaching philosophy of the School of Theatre and Dance. To accomplish this goal, a strong attempt has been made to engage a faculty that is academically qualified and experienced in professional theatre as well. Emphasis is placed on high-quality production work from design to performance. Plays are selected on the basis of roles that will enable student actors to grow and not on the play's literary significance alone. Students are given priority in casting, but only when the role is deemed right for a student's particular phase of development. Student talent is augmented by guest professional artists, faculty and townspeople to give young actors the opportunity to work with more experienced performers.
The School of Theatre and Dance has gained wide recognition for its theatre productions by the ECU/Loessin Playhouse (student theatre) and the ECU/Loessin Summer Theatre (professional company). Over 100 courses in theatre, dance, and speech are taught by 21 full-time faculty members in McGinnis Theatre and the sixteen-room Messick Theatre Arts Center adjacent to it. This building has studios for acting and dance classes as well as lecture classrooms; it houses the smaller Studio Theatre where plays more suited to an intimate space are produced. Also included in this multimillion dollar complex are fully equipped and spacious scenery and property shops. In the basement of McGinnis Theatre are comparably equipped costume shops.
Students are given performing and technical production work opportunities in major productions, studio workshop plays and directing class projects. In addition, students may originate their own productions through special-project courses.