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The Art of Theatre: Then and Now 4th Edition

William Missouri Downs | Lou Anne Wright | Erik Ramsey

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Each MindTap product offers the full, mobile-ready textbook combined with superior and proven learning tools at one affordable price. Students who purchase digital access can add a print option at any time when a print option is available for their course.

This Cengage solution can be seamlessly integrated into most Learning Management Systems (Blackboard, Brightspace by D2L, Canvas, Moodle, and more) but does require a different ISBN for access codes. Please work with your Cengage Learning Consultant to ensure the proper course set up and ordering information. For additional information, please visit the LMS Integration site.

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  • ISBN-10: 133711782X
  • ISBN-13: 9781337117821
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Bringing theatre to life, THE ART OF THEATRE: THEN AND NOW delivers comprehensive yet lively coverage of the history, cultural diversity, creativity, controversy, and even a typical day in the life of theatre -- packaged in standalone chapters that give instructors flexibility to customize their course. The fourth edition is packed with useful information that students can apply to their own lives -- from copyright to censorship to freedom of speech. Connections between theatre and the familiar world of TV and film help students understand how the living stage is unique. Controversial subjects are also tackled head on, giving plenty of information to spark class conversation. Also available: the MindTap® digital learning solution.

William Missouri Downs,

William Missouri Downs is a playwright and director. His plays have been produced by The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, The InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia, The San Diego Rep, The Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Salt Lake City Acting Company, the Actors Theatre of Charlotte, the International Theatre Festival in Israel, the Stadt Theater Walfischgasse in Austria, the Jewish Theatre of Toronto, The Bloomington Playwright's Project, the Detroit Rep, the New York City Fringe Festival, the Durban Performing Arts Center in South Africa, and 150 theatres worldwide. His numerous playwriting awards include two rolling premieres from the National New Play Network ("Women Playing Hamlet" and "The Exit Interview"), and twice he was a finalist at the Eugene O'Neill ("Mad Gravity" and "How to Steal a Picasso"). Samuel French, Playscripts, Next Stage Press, and Heuer have published his plays. In addition, Bill has authored several articles and three other books, including SCREENPLAY: WRITING THE PICTURE and NAKED PLAYWRITING, both published by Silman/James. In Hollywood he was a staff writer on the NBC sitcom "My Two Dads" (starring Paul Reiser). He also wrote episodes of "Amen" (starring Sherman Hemsley) and "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" (starring Will Smith) as well as sold/optioned screenplays to Imagine Pictures and Filmways. Trained under the Oscar Nominated Polish Director Jerzy Antczak, Bill has directed over 40 college and professional productions. He holds an MFA in acting from the University of Illinois and an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA. Lanford Wilson and Milan Stitt at the Circle Rep in New York City trained him in playwriting.

Lou Anne Wright, University of Wyoming

Lou Anne Wright is an actor, dialect coach, professor, and writer; she holds an MFA in Voice, Speech, and Dialects from the National Theatre Conservatory and is a certified Fitzmaurice Voicework teacher. Lou Anne has served as voice/dialect coach for such companies as the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and her film roles include Judy Shepard in HBO's "The Laramie Project" and Nell in "Hearsay". As a playwright, she authored "Kabuki Medea", which won the Bay Area Critics Award for Best Production in San Francisco. It was also produced at the Kennedy Center. She is the coauthor of the book PLAYWRITING: FROM FORMULA TO FORM, and her screenwriting credits include the film adaptation of Eudora Welty's "The Hitch-Hikers", which featured Patty Duke and Richard Hatch (for which she was nominated for the Directors Guild of America's Lillian Gish Award). Lou Anne teaches acting, voice, speech, and dialects at the University of Wyoming, where she has won several teaching awards.

Erik Ramsey, Ohio University

Erik Ramsey is an Associate Professor of Playwriting in the MFA Playwriting Program at Ohio University. His plays have been developed at various theaters including Cleveland Public Theatre, American Stage, Victory Gardens, and Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, and been published by Samuel French and Dramatic Publishing. As a new play dramaturg, he has worked in diverse settings from Steppenwolf Theater to WordBridge Lab. Over the past decade he has been a guest artist and taught playwriting, new play development, and narrative theory in a variety of national and international venues, including the St. Petersburg Academy of Dramatic Arts “New American Plays” Conference and Lubimovka Playwrights Laboratory at Teatr.doc in Moscow. Erik’s newest play, a two-hander for actresses in their 40s, explores the intersection of rodeo clowning and time-travel.

MindTap® is the digital learning solution that powers students from memorization to mastery. It gives you complete control of your course—to provide engaging content, to challenge every individual, and to build their confidence. Empower students to accelerate their progress with MindTap.

  • Stage vs. Screen: Because today's students are products of the digital age, Chapter 2, Stage vs. Screen, helps them understand the differences between theatre and their familiar world of film and television. Information includes distinctions in funding, creative control, copyright, and more.
  • Tell It Like It Is: While most intro to theatre texts are feel good books that shy away from debatable subjects, THE ART OF THEATRE tells the whole story. In addition to many feel-good moments, the text also explores the issues and controversies that have surrounded the theatre for thousands of years -- giving students a more interesting read, more stimulating class discussion, and more to think about.
  • Well Reviewed: Used by tens of thousands of students and hundreds of professors, THE ART OF THEATRE has also been reviewed by one hundred academics to ensure the material is timely and accurate.
  • Standalone Chapters: While most intro to theatre textbooks are written to be used in an exact sequence, THE ART OF THEATRE: THEN AND NOW, 4th Edition, offers ultimate flexibility. Its seventeen independent, standalone chapters enable professors to choose which subjects they want to cover and in what order. This allows professors to custom create the precise class they want to teach instead of having to follow a prescribed mandate.
  • Download Only the Chapters You Want: Because each chapter is autonomous, THE ART OF THEATRE can be completely customized to follow exactly what professors want to teach -- and avoid the chapters they don't want. As a result, students download -- and pay for -- only what they need. The download option also gives them the convenience of reading their assignments on their tablet, smart phone, or computer.
  • A Diversity of Subjects: Offering breadth and depth of coverage, the seventeen chapters of the fourth edition explore acting, playwriting, directing, design and musical theatre as well as creativity, a day in the life of a typical theatre and the many diverse types of theatre that can be found around the world. There is also a chapter on how to attend the theatre, detailing everything from etiquette to freedom of speech to dramatic criticism. For those who want to include theatre history, comprehensive yet fast moving chapters cover the life and times of theatre from its roots in African storytelling to modern absurdism.

The Art of Theatre: Then and Now


1. Theatre, Art, and Entertainment.
2. Stage vs. Screen.
3. Theatre of the People.
4. Experiencing and Analyzing Plays.
5. A Day in the Life of a Theatre.
6. The Art of Playwriting.
7. The Art of Acting.
8. The Art of Directing.
9. The Art of Design.
10. A Creative Life.
11. The Musical.
12. Theatre Around the World.
13. The Greeks to the Rise of Christianity.
14. The Dark Ages to the Dawn of the Renaissance.
15. The Renaissance.
16. The Restoration, the Enlightenment, and Romanticism.
17. Modern Theatre.

The Art of Theatre: Then and Now

Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.


Online Instructor's Resource Manual

ISBN: 9781337117791
Online resource that contains a variety of resources to aid instructors in preparing and presenting text material in a manner that meets their personal preferences and course needs.

Instructor's Website

ISBN: 9781337117784
Everything you need for your course in one place! This collection of product-specific lecture and class tools is available online via the instructor resource center at You'll be able to access and download materials such as PowerPoint presentations, images, instructor's manual, videos, and more.

Cengage Learning Testing, powered by Cognero® Instant Access

ISBN: 9781337118590
Cengage Learning Testing Powered by Cognero® is a flexible, online system that allows you to import, edit, and manipulate content from the text's test bank or elsewhere, including your own favorite test questions; create multiple test versions in an instant; and deliver tests from your LMS, your classroom, or wherever you want.