For Prospective StudentsFor more information contact Jennifer Lown, Program Administrator, at [email protected]
Do I need to audition for the Theater and Performance Program?
Bard is a liberal arts college, and applications are centralized. You do not apply to an individual program, and there are no auditions for Theater and Performance. For more information about applying to Bard, visit bard.edu/admission.
What makes Bard's Theater and Performance Program distinctive?
The program will introduce you to many aspects of the theory, practice, and history of theater and performance. Unlike a conservatory, where students are trained in focused tracks (acting, directing, musical theater, playwriting, etc.) at Bard, our approach is built on a liberal arts education, which emphasizes breadth of experience over specialization.
Our aim is to provide you with the tools to become an innovative and entrepreneurial artist and thinker, who will develop new models of theater for the future. In your first two years in the Theater and Performance Program you will embark on an introductory sequence of courses in which you will act, write plays, and devise performances in a collaborative model. You will take conceptual and historical courses designed to broaden your understanding of the possibilities of theater and performance. In your junior and senior years you will have the freedom to design your own program, in close consultation with your academic advisor. Students wishing to specialize may do so, though many Theater and Performance majors elect to continue studying and practicing as widely as possible.
The Theater and Performance Program is fully integrated into the life of the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, a world-class venue designed by Frank Gehry. You will have many opportunities to see and participate in professional performances of many kinds, and your faculty will be entirely comprised of practicing artists and highly regarded scholars. The Fisher Center is a community where students and professional artists work side-by-side, learning from each other and informing each other’s practices. For more information about Live Arts Bard, the Fisher Center’s commissioning and residency program for the performing arts, visit fishercenter.bard.edu/liveartsbard.
How many productions are there each year?
The Theater and Performance Program sponsors one major production each semester, directed by either a faculty member or a visiting artist. These range from contemporary and classic plays to adaptations and performances devised by students. Auditions for these productions are held at the start of each semester.
In addition, there are many student-directed productions each semester, both in the Fisher Center and other venues on and off campus. Some of these productions are part of the curriculum—Senior Projects, for example—and many are extracurricular. There are a number of student theater clubs at Bard. For more information, see studentactivities.bard.edu.
The Theater and Performance Program also holds a number of workshops and master classes each semester. Recent workshops have included auditioning technique, Suzuki and Viewpoints, Butoh, and puppet making.
Which acting methodology do you teach?
As a student in our program you will be introduced to many styles of performance. Our introductory acting courses are rooted in Stanislavksy’s system, but classes are also offered in physical theater (Lecoq, clown, mask, object theater), Meisner, and various compositional styles. We believe that the best training is broadly based, allowing students to develop a practice from many sources, rather than focusing exclusively on a single methodology.
I’m interested in technical theater and design. Is Bard right for me?
We offer selected design courses such as Introduction to Costume Design and Light and Video Workshop, and we anticipate additions to the design curriculum in the years ahead. Students also have the opportunity to serve as design observers for professionally directed main stage productions each semester. We do not offer academic courses in technical theater, but there are many opportunities to run crew, design student productions, and assist in the Fisher Center’s professional productions through work study programs and internships.
Do you offer courses in musical theater?
Bard's Music Program frequently offers a musical theater singing workshop, and the Theater & Performance Program produces musicals and music theater works during some of our guest and faculty-directed seasons. However, musical theater is not a central focus of our curriculum, so students intending to study primarily musical theater may find that Bard's program is not an ideal match.
Does the Theater and Performance Program have a close relationship with other parts of Bard College?
Yes! We frequently collaborate with other programs and units at Bard. In recent years we have cosponsored courses, productions, and special events with Art History, Classics, Curatorial Studies, Dance, Experimental Humanities, Human Rights, Literature, Music, Studio Arts, Film, Written Arts, and the Hannah Arendt Center. We believe that theater and performance are interdisciplinary subjects that should retain a frequent and fluid dialogue with other spheres of human thought and creativity. Theater and Performance is therefore an ideal gateway subject for a liberal arts education. Many of our students are double and joint majors with our programs and concentrations. For further information about the structure of Bard degrees, visit bard.edu/academics.
What are some recent graduates from the Theater and Performance Program doing now?
Our graduates are very active in the theater and performance scene in New York City and elsewhere. Recent graduates have founded ensembles and companies including Universes, Radiohole, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, New Saloon Theater Collective, Skin Horse, Banana Bag and Bodice, and RobbinsChilds. Others are working as independent actors, playwrights, and directors, while some are writing for film and television (including Nick Jones, senior writer for Orange is the New Black.) Wherever innovative theater and performance are being made, you’ll likely find a Bard graduate nearby!