About the Department

about department
The Theater Department at Mason Gross School of the Arts provides students with an in-depth and highly demanding program for those serious about pursuing a career as a theater professional. The training consists of intensive studio classes, a rigorous core curriculum and fully-supported productions. This combination of activities is designed to give our students a well-rounded and comprehensive understanding of their craft.

At the heart of Rutgers’ program is the age-old notion of a company. Each year the faculty recruits actors, playwrights, designers, stage managers and theater technicians to join the Rutgers Theater Company. This special group of young artists will work together alongside master teachers and invited professionals in the art, technique and practices of theater. Whether you are an undergraduate or graduate degree candidate you will share a number of classes and a variety of production experiences together.

Any serious training program has a shape and an arc. Like a play, it is as long or short as it needs to be. Most theater programs are based on a standard four years for a BFA degree and three years for Master of Fine Arts degree. No matter which degree you are seeking, the Rutgers program is a total of seven semesters or three and a half years long. This structure allows us to provide a full training experience plus unique opportunities including a detailed and comprehensive career transition.

At Rutgers we will train your mind and body toward the goal of becoming a theater professional. Whether you are training to be an actor, director, playwright, designer, stage manager or theater technician, you will mostly practice your individual disciplines. We refer to these types of activity as your core training. As an actor, the emphasis will be on speech and movement alongside Meisner, Chekhov techniques and classical training. If you are studying design you will be taught essential design, drafting, construction, draping and presentation skills. As a playwright, you will develop your plays through stage readings, workshops and formal presentations that will help develop your voice. All of these core training classes will help you develop techniques in your chosen craft and then practice them in any of Rutgers’ state-of-the-art theater spaces. Our many production opportunities will give you the experience of creating your first stage work. This activity is a combination of fully designed productions as well as more modest, student generated projects such as site-specific performance and cabaret.
As a company you will also share in a core curriculum. This term refers to the courses designed to reinforce or challenge your assumptions about theater and expand your thinking. Some examples of these courses are: Theater History, Global Theater, and Career Transition. These courses are highly demanding; they have a direct and important relationship to your core training and to the work we put on our stage.

Whatever your discipline, the core training will give you the tools and techniques to develop your craft and the core curriculum will help you think globally about theater and debate the art-form with other student/artists outside your specific field of study. All of this activity will challenge you in a full and complex way to deepen your understanding of theater, help contextualize your work and give you a distinct advantage in the world.

Rutgers is committed to connecting our students to the professional world by providing them with showcase opportunities, camera and voice-over training and intensive workshops on practical business practices. In addition to presenting our acting students and our designers portfolios in New York City, Rutgers will actively co-produce professional projects with noted regional and Off-Broadway theaters designed to give our students concrete access to the theater profession. Rutgers graduates working in the profession is a testament to our efforts in training. We want to give our graduating company the best chance to succeed in the world. A student’s success is our success.