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Theater Arts

The Simon’s Rock theater program is limited only by the imaginations of the participants in any given year. Students in the program receive one-on-one instruction, a variety of opportunities to learn about all aspects of performance, and the encouragement to fashion their own programs of study in consultation with the faculty. All aspects of theater performance and production are covered across the two tracks: (1) Performance Creation and (2) Technical Creation and Design. Within a single year, a student may have the opportunity to act, assist designers, work backstage, and even assistant direct. The course sequences are carefully designed to build lasting skills and a refined aesthetic. This concentration fosters individual self-awareness, knowledge of theater aesthetics, and the dynamics associated with working in close collaboration toward a common goal with one’s peers. Students are offered the skills fundamental to theatrical communication, the confidence born of effective performance, and an opportunity to interpret the human condition through drama.

Former students have continued their education in graduate programs, have created professional companies, and have been accepted as members of professional companies. The Berkshire Fringe Festival is an example of a group of graduates who now produce a summer theater festival in the new arts complex at Simon’s Rock. Another recent independent theater company formed by Simon’s Rock theater graduates is the State of Play company. Both of these companies are currently based in New York City.

Students have many opportunities to work with guest artists in performance and design. Students are also encouraged to study abroad or away during their junior year. Former students have studied in London, Moscow, and at the O’Neill Theater Institute. Foremost, our goal is to develop unique, courageous, determined artists who are willing to create their own work as well as being able to work in all theatrical media, including film.

Core Curriculum

Students interested in the Performance Creation track must take the following courses before moderating:

Theater 100 Improvisation and Imagination
Theater 115 Stagecraft I
Theater 117 Viewpoints
A Dance course

Students interested in the Technical Creation and Design track must take the following courses before moderating:
Theater 100 Improvisation and Imagination
  or Theater 117 Viewpoints
Theater 115 Stagecraft I
Theater 216 Theater Practicum

Performance Creation Track

To complete the Performance Creation track in the concentration, students must earn a total of 24 credits through the completion of the following required and elective courses:

Required Courses

Theater 201 Listening, Analysis, and Characterization
Theater 202 Voice: Resonating with Words
Theater 204 Movement: Analysis of Expression
(Either Theater 219 or 238)
Theater 219/319 Viewpoints and Composition: Composing for the Stage
Theater 234/334 Theater through the Ages
Theater 238/338 Directing for the Theater
One semester of singing lessons

Elective Courses

Students must then complete three courses from the following list of electives:
Literature 231 American Drama: Moderns and Contemporaries
Literature 257 Modern Drama: From Realism to the Absurd
Literature 319 The Theater of the Absurd
Theater 206 Production
(can be taken only once for credit toward concentration)
Theater 224 Acting for the Camera I
Theater 225 The Actor Prepares: Sense Memory
Theater 227/427 Playwriting
Theater 237 Shakespearean Scene Study
Theater 239/439 The Director/Designer Collaboration
Theater 301/401 Performance Practicum
Theater 303/403 Advanced Acting Studio
Theater 305 Mask and Movement
Theater 402 Clown and Comic Acting
A course in Film Studies

Technical Creation and Design Track

24 credits are required for the concentration and may be taken from the following courses (with at least two advanced classes in production and design):

Theater 108 Introduction to Costume Design
Theater 113 Introduction to Stage Management
Theater 118 Stagecraft II
Theater 119 Lighting Fundamentals
Theater 206/406 Production
Theater 239/439 The Director/Designer Collaboration
Theater 334 Theater through the Ages (or another theater history class)
A 300-level dramatic literature class
A 300-level art history class
A second theater design class in your area of interest at the 300-level

An internship in your area of interest with a professional organization either during a semester away or during the summer (three to six credits).

Recent Senior Theses

Theater students have written, directed, and performed in their own original works as part of the thesis process; others have performed in plays or written studies of an aspect of theater performance. The range of theses in theater is suggested by these titles:
“Opening the Channels: The Actor-Audience Connection”
“The Mendacious and The Misbegotten”
“Number 6 Goes Back to School: Two Episodes of ‘The Academy’, a Series inspired by Patrick McGoohan’s ‘The Prisoner’”
“My Views on Anna Christie: The Production”
“Directing Darkness: Exploring the Holocaust through Theater Production”
“Swimming In It: Approaching Lighting Design for Modern Dance”
“neneug: Tales from the (Dis)enchanted”
“Historical Representation of the Ultras: The Story Behind Büchner’s and Brecht’s Revolutionary Characters”
“Le Petit Mort: A History of the Grand Guignol and Its Place in Entertainment”
“Miranda’s Dream: A Survey of ‘Carvers’ in William Shakespeare’s Plays”

For information on performance opportunities, workshop and internship opportunities, study abroad opportunities, and facilities, please visit


Karen Allen, Karen Beaumont, Sandy Cleary-Wade, Aimée Michel, George Veale

Current and past visiting faculty include Karen Allen (actress), Christine Adaire (director, voice teacher), Brian Barnett (lighting design), Jim Frangione (actor), Kristin Linklater (voice teacher), Corinna May (actress, voice teacher, and fight choreographer), Jane Nichols (clown teacher, Yale Graduate Acting), Normi Noel (director, voice teacher), Elissa Myers (casting director), Arthur Penn (director), Giovanna Sardelli (director), Dan Scully (lighting design), Barbara Sims (actress), and Walton Wilson (Head of Voice, Yale Graduate Acting).

Faculty Contacts: Karen Beaumont, Aimée Michel