Dec 08, 2022  
2013-2014 Graduate Catalog 
2013-2014 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]


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Department Chairperson: Professor Tom Woldt
Graduate Director: Assistant Professor Raimondo Genna

University of South Dakota
Department of Theatre
Warren M. Lee Center for Fine Arts, Room 184A
414 E Clark Street
Vermillion SD 57069-2390
Phone: (605) 677-5418



Hagen, Priscilla, M.F.A., University of Minnesota. Specialization: Acting, Voice and Speech for the Stage.
Woldt, Tom, Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln; M.F.A., Minnesota State University, Mankato. Specialization: Directing.

Associate Professors:

Downey, Patricia, Ph.D., University of Missouri, Columbia. Specialization: Dance.
Mollman, Scott, M.F.A., Wayne State University-Detroit. Specialization: Technical Direction.
Scribner, Linda, M.F.A., University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Specialization: Costume Design, Make-up.

Assistant Professors:

Genna, Raimondo, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego. Specialization: Performance and Theatre Studies, Theatre History, Dramatic Literature, Film.
Gordon-Bland, Chaya, M.F.A., University of Pittsburgh. Specialization: Movement for the Stage, Stage Combat, Acting Period Styles, Shakespeare.
Nesmith, Matthew, M.F.A. and M.M., University of South Dakota. Specialization: Musical Theatre, Vocal Performance, Directing.
Pellecchia, Anthony, M.F.A., Ohio State University. Specialization: Lighting and Sound Design.
Shonk, Victor, M.F.A., Ohio State University. Specialization: Scenic Design.

Costume Studio Manager:

Bethany Padron, M.F.A., North Carolina School of the Arts.


Master of Fine Arts, Plan A and B


Design/Technology (with emphases in Costume Design, Light & Sound Design, Scenic Design or Technical Direction)

Program Description

The University of South Dakota is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre. The Department of Theatre prepares students for a career in the theatre and encourages personal and creative growth. We do this by providing a comprehensive liberal arts education, supplemented by intensive craft training, in which classroom study and practical experience are of equal and complementary value. The Department promotes excellence in education, research, and service; fosters student engagement and leadership; develops creative and pragmatic problem-solving skills; explores new questions, techniques, and practices in theatre; and inspires students to become life-long learners who contribute to their disciplines and professions while enhancing the cultural lives of the University and their communities.

All USD theatre classrooms and production studios are housed in the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts. Facilities include well-equipped scenic, costume, and lighting/sound studios that are conveniently located near the 450 seat Wayne S. Knutson Theatre and a 90 seat, flexible, “black box” Arena theatre. The dance studio provides additional class, rehearsal, and performance space.

Graduate Degree Offered:

  • The Master of Fine Arts degree is designed for the student seeking a career in professional theatre or higher education. Through intensive craft studies, close student-mentor relationships, supportive course work, and extensive production application, the 60-credit hour M.F.A. degree is offered in the areas of Directing and Design/Technology with emphases in Costume Design, Light and Sound Design, Scenic Design or Technical Direction.


  • M.F.A. applicants should have an earned baccalaureate degree in theatre or its equivalent, including course work in acting, directing, technical production, and design, as well as, at least, a year-long survey of the history of theatre and drama. Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.7.
  • M.F.A. applicants should have substantial preparation in their areas of specialization; M.F.A. Design/Technology applicants should have background in scenic, costume, and lighting design, as well as art history.
  • M.F.A. applicants must submit a resume, statement of professional objectives, and prescribed examples of creative work (e.g., directorial preparations or design/technical portfolio) to the Graduate School.  If the applicant has a portfolio are online, the web address must be submitted to the Graduate School.
  • Additional requirements exist for international students.

- Subject to faculty approval, those who do not meet all of the criteria above may be admitted on a provisional basis.  

The Black Hills Playhouse

The Department of Theatre maintains a close association with the Black Hills Playhouse, a semi-professional summer stock theatre located in beautiful Custer State Park. Since its founding in 1946 by Dr. Warren M. Lee, the Black Hills Playhouse has provided a full and varied bill of high-quality theatrical entertainment to the scenic Black Hills area in western South Dakota, as well as an intensive production experience for USD students and faculty-artists working with other theatre professionals, students, and teachers drawn from across the nation.  


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