Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts
The study of theater at Brandeis is designed to foster the growth of well-rounded theater artists. Through experiential learning, practical training and intellectual inquiry, students master skills in writing, design, acting, movement, directing and production.
Study is grounded in theater history, literature, criticism and methodologies from a culturally diverse point of view. Whether creating an original project or working with a classical text, students are given the opportunity to holistically engage in the study and making of theater in a way that illuminates the human condition and celebrates the power of community.
Students study acting, directing, dance and movement, theater literature, and stagecraft and design. Students can develop their own material and perform their own work in campus theaters. Faculty members advise students regularly, and often students are offered internships and paid positions in theaters in Boston, the Berkshires and New York.
Academics and Research
Students have the opportunity to work professionally alongside faculty in the students’ chosen fields. Students assistant stage manage, assist on designs, work in shops, and perform and dance alongside their teachers in a rich, pragmatic learning environment that is unlike any other.
We encourage our students to take on a senior thesis project, and many choose to write and create original work under faculty advisement. For example, one student conducted an independent study on dance therapy and is now pursuing a degree in dance therapy from Tufts University.
Almost all of the courses in theater arts are experiential by nature. Popular courses include “Suzuki” and “Collaborative process.” We offer guest artist workshops and classes with visiting directors, choreographers, actors and designers. Many of our students spend the summers working alongside professional theater artists at a variety of theater companies.
Thanks to the generosity of Herbert, Sandra (1956) and Gail Fisher (1988), Brandeis seniors engaged in creative projects during the academic year (fall and spring semesters) can apply for funding from the Fisher Explorer Grants.
Student and Faculty Excellence
Brandeis theater faculty are recipients of awards, including the National Endowment of the humanities Fellowship; the Elliot Norton Award for outstanding Sound Design; the “Best of Boston Theater 2007” award for “macbeth”; and the Theodore and Jane Norman Fund for Faculty research and creative arts projects.
As one committed to exploring the connections between theater and social justice, a theater alumna spent her summer in India working on the creation and performance of a theater piece in partnership with poor communities in mumbai. At the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, a theater graduate trained in an ensemble, learned the intricacies of production and performed in one of the festival’s three staged plays. Another graduate was selected to direct the Emerson Theater Collaborative’s summer production, “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” in an internship that combines hands-on directing responsibilities with supervision and instruction from experienced artists in the environment of a professional theater company.
The Department of Theater Arts administers several annual prizes and awards, including:
- Herbert and Sandra Fisher ’56 Award for Exceptional Achievement in the Creative Arts
- Dr. Joseph Garrison Parker Prize
- Harold and Mimi Steinberg Prize for Best Original Play
- Roy K. Stevens ’68 Prize in Theater Arts
- John-Edward Hill Memorial Prize
- Barbara A. Harris Prize for Stage Management
recent prize recipients
Internships and Study Abroad
Students have completed internships at New Repertory Theatre (theater education); Portland Stage Company, Maine (stage management); Barrington Stage Company (technical direction); Waltham Boys and Girls Club (youth theater education); Lost Nation, Vermont (stage management); Trinity Repertory Company, Providence (theater education); and SpeakEasy Stage Company, Boston (general management and production).
We encourage our students to take advantage of the study abroad program. England is an international leader in the drama education movement, so programs like the London theater study abroad program and the Globe Theater program in design and stage management are most popular. Students also have studied theater in South Africa, Russia, Ireland, Israel and Ethiopia.
Careers and Alumni
Anneke Reich ’13 co-founded Artists’ Theater of Boston, a company dedicated to artistic collaboration in the production of low-cost, accessible theater that critically deconstructs and recreates influential work. Its spring 2014 performance of Charles Mee’s “Trojan Women: A Love Story” starred Anneke as Andromache, as well as Ernest Paulin ’10, Greg Storella ’11, Corrie Legge ’14 and Eliza Dumais ’14. The production was directed by Tony Rios ’11.
Mary Faber ’01 has performed on Broadway as Heather in Green Day’s “American Idiot” as well as in “Avenue Q” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”
Rachel Reiner ’97 was elected recently as co-president of the League of Professional Theatre Women, an international advocacy and networking organization for women in theater.