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Arts Playlist: University of Delaware expanding its performance arts education

Performance arts education is expanding at the University of Delaware.
Delaware Public Media
Performance arts education is expanding at the University of Delaware.

For the first time, the University of Delaware is combining theater and dance minors into one unit supported by its professional theater company, the Resident Ensemble Players.

The change ensures students have a high-quality performing arts experience at a time when art programs at various schools across the country are being downsized and independent art institutions – like Philadelphia's University of the Arts – shut down.

In this edition of Arts Playlist, Steve Tague – UD’s Interim Producing Artistic Director of the Resident Ensemble Players – joins Delaware Public Media’s Karl Lengel to chat about the school’s performance arts education expansion.

UD’s Steve Tague discusses the school’s performance arts education expansion with DPM's Karl Lengel

The University of Delaware is bucking a nationwide education trend.

The recent closing of several arts schools locally and the diminishing of arts education at major universities are the headwinds UD challenges as it launches its new theatre program.

The new Department of Theatre and Dance expands UD’s existing theatre and dance minor to include broader theatre courses. An additional step incorporates support from UD’s professional REP Theatre into the program.

Steve Tague, interim chair of the program launching this fall, says it is unique.

“There’s no other place in the country where a student can come to the university and study theatre, and in those classes be taught by the professionals and the professional Equity theatre, on their campus, and, at some point, be integrated into at the undergraduate level.”

Tague notes his personal commitment to the program arises not only from a lifetime in the arts, but also his recognition that the arts are critical to societal well-being.

“All of that stuff is really the reason why we like to live. Seat belts save lives and art makes it worth living.”

Tague adds the program is unique, as undergraduates can eventually be integrated into REP participation at the undergraduate level.

Delaware Public Media's arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Karl Lengel has worked in the lively arts as an actor, announcer, manager, director, administrator and teacher. In broadcast, he has accumulated three decades of on-air experience, most recently in New Orleans as WWNO’s anchor for NPR’s “All Things Considered” and a host for the broadcast/podcast “Louisiana Considered”.
Kyle McKinnon is the Senior Producer for The Green with a passion for storytelling and connecting with people.