The Graduate Program in Theatre, a two-year program leading to a Master of Fine Arts, embraces an approach to theatre-making as progressive as the college itself. The Sarah Lawrence program focuses on helping students locate themselves in the art form and find their individual aesthetic voice. Under the guidance of a faculty of artists who are working professionals, the program offers an advanced study of theatre that is multi-disciplinary, collaborative, extensive, and practical.
In contrast to programs which encourage specialization in theatre, the SLC Graduate program emphasizes theater making as an integrative practice. Each student develops a program of study that draws from courses in acting, Alexander Technique, breathing, comedic and dramatic improvisation, creation of original work, design, directing, history, movement, playwriting, solo performance, puppetry, speech, voice, and the art of bringing theatre into the local community through Theatre Outreach. Our philosophy also encourages graduate students to enroll in classes in the SLC music and dance departments as part of their program.
Like the College at large, the graduate theatre program emphasizes an individualized learning process. No two students’ courses of study will be the same. Each individual’s graduate program is created in consultation with the program director and the faculty, and in response to that student’s particular background, interests, strengths, and artistic training requirements.
The performing arts are by nature collaborative. Graduate students work closely in classes, conferences, and productions with the faculty, their fellow graduate students, and the SLC undergraduate theatre community. Courses contain graduate and advanced undergraduate students. Production opportunities and responsibilities are shared by all members of the SLC theatre community—graduate and undergraduate students, theatre faculty, and staff.
The emphasis of the SLC theater program is on the development of original work, grounded in a study of classical and contemporary forms and in a variety of performance styles. Courses explore theatre-making from diverse creative perspectives nurturing original work through playwriting, puppetry, improvisation, and collaborative creation. Department productions make use of student-written, devised, and published texts. Uniting practicum and the curriculum, students are taught the techniques they need to develop and expand their talents. Our proximity to the diverse theatre scene of New York City provides unparalleled possibilities for inspiration and growth.
Graduate curricular work is augmented by a practicum in which students learn by doing. There are multiple production venues available at SLC for graduate students that offer a wide range of practical opportunities in acting, singing, dance, design, directing, ensemble creation, playwriting, and technical work. Our Outreach program also provides students with teaching placements in elementary schools, colleges, senior centers, half-way houses, and prisons, to name a few. Students may also participate in internships or fieldwork in New York City theatres and theatre organizations.