Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
TA 274
Course Title:
Theatre History
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Explores the nature of the theatrical event, its emergence and significance in the lives of the people of the past from ancient Greece to the present. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Theatre History is designed to introduce the history of the theatre from classical Greece and Rome to contemporary theatre. It may involve attendance at live theatre, guest speakers, field trips, slides and videos. This course is transferable to four-year educational institutions and may be taken to satisfy a General Education requirement.

Intended Outcomes for the course

The student will:

  • experience theatre from different time periods and cultures and relate them to current theatre and society's norms
  • appreciate the contributions of the past to present theatrical themes and conventions
  • generalize course content to other art forms not covered in the course in order to understand and value such art forms in all-encompassing ways, in this country and abroad

Outcome Assessment Strategies

The student will:

  • comprehend, apply, analyze and evaluate reading assignments identify and describe the various periods of theatre historically, and relate such ideas in a journal format
  • generate projects which reflect research, editing, presentation of chosen topics
  • write play critiques which reflect understanding of a production and its artistic value

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, and Issues:
theatre as a part of the culture

  • elements of popular entertainment
  • distinguished from ceremonies and rituals
  • imitation, role-playing and storytelling

cultural and social requirements as a basis for theatrical art

  • defining playing spaces
  • introducing what constitutes dramatic subject matter

compare and contrast theatrical changes from period to period

  • Roman and Greek theatre as a basis for all theatre
  • Medieval Theatre as it reflects the religious vernacular development of drama
  • Miracle and morality plays as they define the ethics and morals of the period
  • Asian theatre and its visions as it reflects the differences from Wester culture
  • The Renaissance and a rebirth of culture, criticism, architecture contemporary development of modernism as reflective of the past and a vision of the future


  • Identify and describe live theatre and distinguish it from other art forms.
  • Identify and describe Greek and Roman theatrical spaces and performances.
  • Apply understanding of the Medieval period in theatre.
  • Illustrate Asian theatre and its influence on the development of world theatre.
  • Apply understanding of the contribution of Renaissance Theatre in the theatre of today.
  • Identify and explain Modernism and how it reflects the past and points to the future.


  • oral and written command of college level English