Theater teaches students about critical thinking, teamwork

The spring production of Cabaret, a classic American musical set in 1930s Germany, has created a unique learning laboratory—true to the Theater Department’s mission—in which students are asking big questions and learning how to work as a team. In making connections between a time in history and present-day issues, the cast members are creating theater that will give them skills they can use in life and in their future careers.

Asking big questions develops critical thinking skills

CabaretDarcey Engen, associate professor and chair of the Theater Department, said the rehearsal process raised important questions for the cast members. “1930s Germany was a time of great wealth and great poverty, and the middle class was stressed,” Engen said. “We discussed the conditions, drawing similarities to what is now happening in our country.”

Rehearsals began shortly after the proposed Minnesota Constitutional amendment to define marriage was defeated and following the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. These events helped cast members relate current issues to the circumstances in 1930s Germany and the discrimination that centered on race, class, and sexuality. Continue reading “Theater teaches students about critical thinking, teamwork”

Backstage names Augsburg 1 of 5 Top College Theater

Augsburg College theater production
Augsburg College theater production

Backstage magazine’s 2012 Fall College Guide listed Augsburg College among the top five U.S. institutions for theater majors who wish to continue their studies professionally.

“In our Theater Department, students connect with professional artists in the city while they delve into their theater courses,” said Darcey Engen, Augsburg College associate professor and chair of Theater Arts.

“We find that the combination of the department’s rigorous curriculum, exposure to outstanding professionals in the field, and mentorship with theater faculty prepare our students to graduate as complex, deeply committed artists who can apply their insights and skills to any occupation.”

Continue reading “Backstage names Augsburg 1 of 5 Top College Theater”