Mission and History
The Department of Theatre Arts provides a rich, fertile environment, with great teachers who will nurture, mentor, and provide opportunities for our students, helping them to reach their creative potential. Our liberal arts curriculum in our undergraduate theatre program will allow our students to view the world through a theatrical lens while developing academic and creative tools that will help them succeed in any endeavor. Our graduate programs in Theatre Arts and Performance Theory give students a rich, rigorous academic environment and advanced practical training to prepare them for careers in the academy and in various theatre professions.
The Department of Theatre Arts is dedicated to exploring and supporting work that is relevant, and stays true to the spirit of collaboration and experimentation. Students attending Stony Brook University take a range of practical courses in acting, directing, playwriting, dramaturgy, design, and technical theatre. In addition students can elect to take courses in improvisation, voice, movement, mask work, puppetry and Eastern acting styles, and innovative offerings in prevention through the arts and community based-performance. Classes in new technologies and social media for the stage and other performance venues are offered as well.
The department also offers courses in theatre history and theory that provides a basis for understanding theatre from the points of view of the performer, spectator, and society at large. History courses range from the Greeks to the present, including the history of film. The theoretical perspective is that of cognitive science, an interdisciplinary approach that gives students the opportunity to explore the art and science of human experience.
In addition to the theatre major, we offer a media minor that explores, interfaces, and complements the major study of performance in the fields of both broadcast and interactive media. The department recognizes the theater major or minor as an apt complement to a study in the technical or natural sciences. The department recognizes that a strong science and research institute needs to provide a laboratory for experiments in the arts and a direct interface between art and technology, providing students with valuable life experience.
We provide students with a balance of practical theatre opportunities. Each year the department mounts three different productions. Two are plays from the contemporary and classical repertoire. The third is an ensemble creation based on concepts that challenge traditional narratives, and invite interaction with those training in the other arts areas. There are also numerous opportunities to perform in the Cabaret, a graduate-run performance lab, the Student Arts Festival, or with other student theatre and improvisation groups.
Stony Brook University’s location within commuting distance to New York City provides students with opportunities offered through Theatre in New York courses, as well as professional internships. For those who prefer to stay closer to home, the Department of Theatre Arts curates the Staller [Off] Center new performance series, bringing to campus some of the most compelling and experimental works in the country. Summer opportunities are available for students to take workshops and classes at the university’s Manhattan and Southampton campuses where important performers regularly teach, such as Anna Deveare Smith and Rinde Eckert. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of study abroad, exploring the arts in international settings.
Undergraduate Office: 631-632-7300 • Graduate Office: 631-632-7270 • Fax: 631-632-7261