About Course

As a teacher and professor for 19 years, and former professional actor for 25 years, I wanted to write a course that anybody who stands in front of eager faces everyday can use to augment what you already know about theatre and add content to your lesson plans regarding what theatre really is, where it comes from, why we do it and why do we watch it, and how do they memorize all those lines! Starting from the Ancients and moving through Greece and Rome, the Dark Ages and the not-so-dark ages, the Renaissance, the incredible Theatre of Asia, into the Theatre of Realism and Anti-Realism, and finishing with Musicals, this course follows a comprehensive approach to learning all about Theatre.

Using history as our spine, I will introduce you to the enduring legacy of Theatre in Western and Eastern civilization while providing you with the means to explore how Theatre has made a profound impact on the World.

Loaded with meticulously chosen videos, and excerpts from live theatre performances, this is an exciting course, written for the international teacher and professor, constructed as an online course especially for Theatre.University

Show More

What Will You Learn?

  • A working glossary of Theatre
  • An in depth knowledge of the development of Theatre in the West and the East
  • How Theatre began and who were the first playwrights
  • How Theatre relates to and reflects the rest of the world
  • How important Theatre is to cultures all over the world
  • How musicals were invented and how they developed
  • Who were the greatest playwrights and why
  • Why a family in India will pass down one theatrical role from generation to generation

About the instructor

Ron Berglas
Ron Berglas was born in New York City. He has a BSc. Honors Degree in Theatre and an MA Honors in Education and Instructional Technology. He worked as the Assistant Manager of Westbury Music Fair in Westbury, NY, Shady Grove Music Fair in Gaithersburg, Maryland and acted with and was the House Manager for the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival. In 1975, Ron moved to London where he graduated from the Central School of Speech and Drama, then worked in London, Europe, and the USA as a professional actor until June 2000 when he moved to New York and learned how to drive 18-wheelers.  In September 2002, Ron and his family moved to Southern California. Ron has starred in London’s West End as Aaron Levinsky in NUTS, Adolph Zukor in THE BIOGRAPH GIRL, and Uncle Louie in LOST IN YONKERS, opposite Rosemary Harris. Other theatre credits include Oswald in GHOSTS, Clive in ROOKERY NOOK, Clark Davis (Short Eyes) in the original London production of SHORT EYES, Gayev in THE CHERRY ORCHARD, Paul in BEGINNINGS directed by Susannah York and the world premiere of  DARK AT THE CENTER at TheatreFest in Montclair, New Jersey. THE DOUBLE-BASS, his one-man show written by Patrick Süskind, has had two sell-out London runs, numerous one-night performances all over England, one performance at the Promenade Theatre in New York City, as well as runs in Chichester, Belfast, Theatre Clwyd in Wales, and the Official Edinburgh Festival where it won the Critics Award for Best Play. The most recent performances of THE DOUBLE-BASS were at the 25th Glastonbury Festival, the Assembly Rooms at the Edinburgh Festival, the Tricycle Theatre, London, the New Vic, Bristol, as a guest of various embassies in Riyadh and Dharan, Saudi Arabia, and at the Court Theatre in Beverly Hills. Ron’s many television appearances include Patton in THE LAST DAYS OF PATTON playing the young George C. Scott, Elkin in THE GLORY BOYS opposite Rod Steiger and Anthony Perkins, Solly Granger in PULASKI,  the Reverend Joshua de Angelis in PERFECT SCOUNDRELS, RUMPOLE OF THE BAILEY opposite Leo McKern, FEDERICK FORSYTH PRESENTS, BREAKTHROUGH AT REYKYAVIK, SHE-WOLF OF LONDON, CAT'S EYES, OPPENHEIMER with Sam Waterston, A WOMAN CALLED GOLDA opposite Ingrid Bergman, BOON, YOUNG INDY, RUNAWAY BAY, THE TOMORROW PEOPLE, MIKE AND ANGELO, FINAL EXIT, HEARTBEAT, JONATHAN CREEK, KAVANAGH QC. opposite John Thaw, THE PROFESSIONALS, MURDER MOST HORRID, MESSIAH for the BBC and Paramount Pictures, POIROT opposite David Suchet and LAW AND ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT. He has appeared in 20 commercials and worked extensively for BBC Radio. His film credits include the original HIGHLANDER, DREAMCHILD, ISHTAR with Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman, DEATH TRAIN opposite Pierce Brosnan, RED EAGLE, CRIMETIME with Karen Black, and EYE OF THE STORM with Rob Lowe. During Ron’s time in London he was on the board of the International Committee for Artists Freedom and the International Performers Aid Trust, a charity run by British Actor’s Equity dedicated to helping performers all over the world victimised by political oppression and warfare. He was also a driver on two separate aid convoys into Bosnia during the war. On the second convoy he was asked to smuggle money to the actors in Sarajevo which he did by putting the cash in a pouch strapped to his leg and driving over Mount Igman in a six-truck convoy, then delivering the money to the Dean of the Academy of Drama in Sarajevo. The article he wrote about his experiences was published in the Guardian Newspaper in London and the International Herald Tribune. Ron has worked extensively for KVCR TV in San Bernardino, California. He was the host of A CONVERSATION WITH, moving on from there to produce, host, write and direct his own TV show: INSIGHT with Ron Berglas.  He has also conducted numerous interviews for KVCR radio. Ron began his teaching career as a substitute teacher at all grade levels in San Bernardino, California in 2002. In 2004, Ron graduated with a Master’s Degree in Education and Instructional Technology from American InterContinental University, in Illinois. In 2005, he was employed by the Fontana Unified School District where he has spent the last 15 years, most recently teaching senior English at Citrus Continuation High School. In 2006, Ron was employed by San Bernardino Valley College to teach Introduction to Theater and where he directed URINETOWN and A FLEA IN HER EAR. In 2020, he moved his entire class online, constructing a five-week summer school Introduction to Theater Course using the Canvas LMS, as well as a five month Introduction to Theater Course, both of which he has taught since the outbreak of the pandemic. During this time he also graduated from the Canvas Level One Distance Education Course, making him officially qualified to teach using the Canvas LMS. He is also skilled in the use of Microsoft Teams for teaching online. The comments about him on RateMyProfessor.com are outstanding. Valley College recently asked him to teach Acting Fundamentals online for the Spring 2021 term.

Course Curriculum

I have tried, throughout this course, to provide you with the materials you will need to not only learn about how, when, where, and why Theatre started, but also I wanted to do it in a way that you would enjoy and even have some fun. This is how it will work: there will usually be a PowerPoint or a video followed by a quiz on the video or PowerPoint you just watched. Take your time with the quiz and don't be afraid to check back on whatever you just watched to help you answer the questions. But most important, I have provided you with chapters for every section you work on, usually preceding the 35 question final test on the topic you are studying. Use the chapter to answer the final test. You will usually learn a lot just by searching for the answers in the chapter. You can always email me if you have a question and I will try to get back to you as quickly as I can, always making allowances for the time difference. I live in southern California so I'm on Pacific Standard Time. Good luck and stay the course. I'm sure you will learn more than you expect. I did, just by writing the course.

What you need to know before you go any further.

  • Introduction to The Basics
  • Theatre Glossary
  • ELEMENTS OF DRAMA – PowerPoint
  • Elements of Drama Quiz
  • What is Drama Quiz

We dive into the Ancient beginnings of theatre, from the shamans to Aeschylus.

  • Origins of Greek Drama
  • Oedipus: The original tragedy
  • The Ancients chapter
  • The Ancients

500 years of darkness can kill off almost anything. But not man's thirst for theatre. Although the church banned theatre when they stopped Roman Theatre, it took only 500 years for theatre to arise again from the very institution that had mean to destroy it. Read on...

  • Crash Course on Liturgical Drama video
  • Quiz on theatre during the Dark Ages
  • Quem Queritas
  • Simulation of York Corpus Christi Play
  • The York Mystery Plays
  • The Middle Ages Chapter

The common man makes a comeback! Michelangelo, Christopher Marlowe, Da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli, Caravaggio, El Greco, Bruegel, SHAKESPEARE. Can you imagine living during this period? We're going to take a look at a few pieces of it relating to theatre but don't be afraid to use your IMAGINATION, as that greatest artist of all time said. Who was that? SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, that's who. Look up THE IDIOT BOX on YouTube. It's the greatest treatise on imagination you will ever experience.

  • Introduction to The Renaissance
  • Crash Course on THE RENAISSANCE
  • Quiz on Renaissance Crash Course
  • The Globe Theatre
  • Hamlet: the Crash Course
  • The Renaissance Chapter

Moving from the Sanskrit Theatre of India through the Beijing Opera, and ending with the three main forms of theatre in Japan - Kabuki, Bunraku, and Noh - this is a fascinating and enthralling look at a type of theatre that is at once loved, revered, and part of the fabric of the society from which it comes. You will be amazed and your eyes and ears are in for a feast of the senses. Behold! The Theatre of Asia.

  • Introduction to The Theatre of Asia
  • The Nayashastra and Indian Theatre
  • Crash Course on Sanskrit Theatre
  • Sanskrit Theatre Quiz
  • Crash Course on the Theatre of China
  • Chinese Theatre videos
  • Theatre of China Quiz
  • Crash Course on Bunraku and Kabuki
  • Bunraku and Kabuki videos
  • Bunraku and Kabuki Quiz
  • Crash Course on Noh Theatre
  • Noh Theatre Videos
  • Quiz on Noh Theatre
  • A Selection of theatre videos from other Asian countries
  • The Theatre of Asia Chapter
  • Quiz on Theatre of Asia

We move from the Theatre of Asia straight into the Theatre of Realism and then into the Theatre of Anti-Realism. The Theatre of Realism was born out of a collective desire to move away from the mainly French comedy of manners in the Royal Theatre, to something that was altogether more about the common man. The Theatre of Realism at first was called Naturalism but changed to Realism when sets were constructed to reflect real life with real furniture onstage and the acting, thanks to the Moscow Arts Theatre, Konstantin Stanislavsky, and Anton Chekov, became less stylized and more representative of everyday life heightened to become drama. From that ultra-Realism came the inevitable backlash from which came the Theatre of Anti-Realism. This type of theatre was created to represent the inner workings of man, the chaos and insecurities in all of us. Somewhat akin to Japanese Theatre in that there is very little if any recognizable plot, the Theatre of Anti-Realism can be fun, irritating, and utterly compelling.

This unit is dedicated to the study of one play - THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. i have in included a copy of the script for you to read and an assignment to follow. Please read the entire script. If you want to watch a production of the play you can take out a temporary membershipi n MARQUEETV and watch it there.


Get ready for a great ride as we trace the history of musicals from variety and vaudeville through the minstrel shows, through light hearted fluffy musicals, and on to musicals with messages and contemporary musicals with socially relevant messages and substantial plots.

  • A Video Tour of Musicals
  • A chapter on Musicals
  • The Musicals Quiz

Thank you for taking my course, written especially for Theatre University. I hope you've learned how important the theatre has been since the birth of man straight up to the present day. This course was written during the Covid-19 pandemic, necessitating the movement of people and the arts and industry online. Artists have had to accommodate history and adjust accordingly. You can watch great theatre even now by subscribing to Digital Theater Plus, MarqueeTV, or National Theatre Home. There are others but those sites are great. Don't stop now. Find out more about theatre, Get involved at home with amateur productions, either onstage as actors, or backstage as technicians. Jobs like stage manager, set designer, costume and lighting designers, sound technician, are all extremely important jobs in the theatre. Whatever you decide, write me and tell me what you thought of this course, please, so I can continue to make it better for future students. No matter how old we are, you're never too old to learn. Keep well. Professor Berglas



  • Students Evaluation

Student Ratings & Reviews

No Review Yet
No Review Yet

Material Includes

  • Course
  • Textbook
  • Chapters
  • Pdfs
  • Word documents
  • Mp4 videos
  • Power Point Presentations
  • Quizzes following lessons
  • Course Certificate


  • This course requires a decent computer/laptop and strong WIFI connection.
  • You will need a desire to learn, a passion for creativity and an appreciation of the power of the imagination.


  • Anybody who ever wondered about the performing arts: "Why is theatre so important to so many cultures all over the world? Where did it come from? Who was the first actor? Who wrote the first play? How do they memorize all those lines?"
Skip to content