Introduction to Theatre
Online Course

Dr. Eric W. Trumbull, Professor, Theatre/Speech

A note on the textbook and its relationship to these "lectures":


The required textbook for this course is: Edwin Wilson and Alvin Goldfarb Theater: The Lively Art, 6th Edition (McGraw-Hill) ISBN-139780073514116 (or go HERE for the text's Resource Page)

(you may use the earlier 5th edition if that is all you can get)...

The textbook and this online material are intended to supplement each other, NOT to duplicate each other. My "lectures" will most often veer far away from the textbook material; similarly, the textbook will often discuss information and/or issues that I do not.

There is valuable information to be had from both textbook and online material, and you are responsible for reading all of both of them.

Exams and assignments will be based on BOTH sources of material.

These "lectures" are sometimes fairly free-form; a combination of sentences with ideas in phrases; some of it is outlined, some is not. I hope you will let me know if there is anything unclear, confusing, or that you do not understand.

The best way to do that is to e-mail me.

Or, of course, you can contact me directly by phone.



This class on the web is still a work in progress; there are bound to be some problems as I, and you, work through the "lectures," links, assignments, and readings.

Please try to have some patience if you discover problems. Let me know as soon as you can and I will try to address them quickly.

I will be updating these pages as needed, but I will have the correct revision date at the bottom of each page.

Break a leg!!

A note about navigating through these pages:

MOST of the links from these pages will open up a new window in your browser; the class page you linked from should should still be on your computer. Therefore, in many cases, the "back" button will not work to get you back to the class page; instead, you will need to either:

1) exit from the current window (the one without the "back" button activated) by clicking on the "X" in the upper right-hand corner, or by clicking on "file" and "exit"; or

2) pressing "ALT-TAB" to switch from one task to another (in this case, from one browser window to another--remember, you may find yourself bringing up another active program, and to get back to the browser you need to move the cursor to one of the browser icons...)


The links from one class page to another class page should not bring up a new window, so your "back" button should work fine...


Important consideration about the sources from which I got the information in these "lectures":

I have been teaching this class on and off for more than 25 years and have gathered much information from various sources, so much so that I fear I cannot specify exactly where I got certain pieces of information. Whenever possible, I have tried to give proper credit / citations for material that I know came from sources that I can identify.

In many cases, I have probably used information found in textbooks and other materials I was using in my classes; those sources are not cited specifically, as I am unable to recall what came from where.

I am aware that I have drawn heavily on at least the following sources:

Oscar Brockett's The Essential Theatre  and History of Theatre, but not the most recent editions.

Kenneth Cameron and Patti Gillespie, The Enjoyment of Theatre, 3rd edition, (Macmillan, 1992).

I have drawn less on the following sources but have relied on them in some instances:

Oscar Brockett and Robert Findlay, Century of Innovation, 2nd edition (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1991).

Robert Cohen, Acting Power (London: Mayfield, 1978) and Theatre, 4th edition (London: Mayfield, 1997).

Huberman, Pope, and Ludwig, The Theatrical Imagination  (N.Y.: Harcourt, 1993).

Gerald Bordman, The American Musical: A Chronicle. (N.Y.: Oxford, 1978).

Garff Wilson, Three Hundred Years of American Theatre and Drama  (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1982).

Millie Barranger, Theatre: A Way of Seeing, 3rd edition (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1991).

Dennis J. Spore, The Art of Theatre  (Prentice-Hall, 1993).

Marsh Cassady, Theatre: An Introduction  (Lincolnwood, Il.: NTC Publishing: 1997).

Edwin Wilson, The Theatre Experience  (7th edition (McGraw-Hill, 1998).


I am committed to ensuring that I have no unauthorized material on these web pages; if f anyone discovers other sources that I have failed to acknowledge, please inform me and will place an acknowledgement on this page and in the appropriate section of the course pages.

To begin this course, choose one of the units below.

To see a detailed listing of lessons click Index:


Click to Exit to Course Home Page


This page and all linked pages in this directory are copyrighted Eric W. Trumbull, 1998-2007.

This page last modified: December 11, 2007