The Laramie County Community College theater program is turning over a new leaf and becoming a full-fledged degree program.
Upon approval by the Wyoming Community College Commission, the new theater program will be recognized as its own degree program and will be effective in next year’s catalog.
In the past, theater courses have been offered under General Studies-Art and Humanities. Most recently, theater was an emphasis area under the Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts (ILA). Yet, under the new degree program, both current and incoming students will have the choice to earn an individual degree in theater.
Jason Pasqua, a Theater/Communications instructor, pointed out that there was considerable growth this year, taking into consideration that for the past 3-4 years there have been only 2-4 students declaring under the ILA, now seeing 13-14 students choosing to major under ILA with an emphasis in Theater.
“When you have reached a certain level of growth and you’ve got things working— we’ve been at it a long time—it’s time to make it official. Put a ring on it I guess,” Pasqua said, explaining the reasoning behind the new theater program. “We’re just on an upswing, and it was time to change it.”
Dean to the School of Arts and Humanities, Daniel Powell, had similar thoughts in establishing the theater program as its own degree. “It’s kind of the next logical move for it to be its own program and have its own identity and not exist as a concentration.” Powell continued to say that he intends to reform and make a “deeper dive” into the degree.
However, many students may be concerned about curriculum changes and differences between the ILA and the new program, but Powell assures that students will not see much of a change at all
Powell ventured to say because of the lack of changes made to the new program, the switch should not be too troublesome. “Sometimes it’s advantageous to switch over and sometimes it’s not, because once you switch over you are bound by whatever that catalog says.” Also, he said that students will have the choice to either continue with the old program, as the school will continue to teach-out the old degree or cross-over to the new program. “With entering students, we are going to try and encourage them to enter the new program, but the old program will still exist until we can get the ILA revamped,” Powell said.
The new theater program will continue with the same resources that it has always had, but Powell is hopeful for expansion. “One of our strategic goals is to build a performing arts complex with the working theater.”
Pasqua is personally excited for the new theater program, expressing the theater’s accomplishments in the past. “The things that we are able to do and the level of quality with which we are able to do them, given our modest physical arrangements and the modesty of our facilities, is quite frankly something that I am eminently proud of.”
Last fall’s production of The Glass Menagerie won awards from the Kennedy Center of American College Theater Festival, and Pasqua explained that with LCCC’s size and the facilities that the school has access to, that winning such awards just doesn’t happen. “We are proud of that and we want to keep being proud of that.”
The proposal for the new theater program will be heading to the Wyoming Community College Commission for approval in the coming weeks.