Over the last twenty years Philadelphia has grown to become one of the most exciting and diverse theatre cultures in the region. Philadelphia stages present a wide range of performances, including new American and European plays, political dramas, Shakespeare, and new, experimental work. This course will explore the current state of Philadelphia's thriving theatre culture. Beginning with a brief history of the regional theatre movement in America, we will examine the history, production work, and artistic mission of theatre companies such as the Philadelphia Theatre Company, the Wilma, Arden, and Interact Theatres, among others. In addition to analyzing plays being produced by local theatres in the 2005-2006 season, this course will approach the study of plays and performances from the perspective of the playwright, director, actor, and designer as they work to present challenging and innovative theatre for their audiences. Course readings and discussion will be supplemented by visits from local theatre artists and by group trips to attend Philadelphia theatre. Students will research and give presentations on local theatre companies. No theatre experience is required to take this course.