About the Program

The MFA in Theatre is part of a new graduate arts campus under the auspices of Stony Brook University, a flagship SUNY school.  Location, community and the best artist-teachers in the world are what make Southampton Arts one of, if not the most ideal place to earn an MFA.  Building upon the success of our renowned Creative Writing program, we began by adding successful summer workshops in playwriting, screenwriting, theatre directing, and digital filmmaking.  It was a natural progression to create a new graduate program in theatre—one that provides first class, inter-arts training with emphasis on new work.

The MFA in Theatre at Southampton Arts offers tracks in Playwriting, Directing, Dramaturgy and Film.  Students train with internationally acclaimed artists in an interdisciplinary, collaborative environment. We provide advanced training for experienced artists who wish to hone and expand existing skills. 

Mission

Get Your Work Done

The MFA in Theatre program is project-based and student-driven.  We foster each student’s unique voice and provide a laboratory setting to nurture collaborations, encourage new forms of storytelling, and mentor students to produce their own work. 

We encourage crossover between theatre and film, and students collaborate with visual artists and writers in all genres of creative writing. 

Through associations with professional companies, we provide opportunities for students to take their work to the next level.

We strive to meet the demands of the rapidly changing theatre and film industries by graduating talented, multi-skilled students (writer-directors, playwright-screenwriters, theatre director-digital filmmakers, ensemble creators-producers, etc.) who are prepared to get work and get their work done.

The Curriculum

The MFA in Theatre is a three-year program that includes a core curriculum, a specialized track, lab projects, a culminating project, written thesis, and a professional internship.

The curriculum requires 51-54 credits, including 39 required core and 12-15 track credits.  All students take the required core courses and specialize in one of the four tracks.  Crossover between disciplines is possible.  Students can also choose from a wide range of electives offered by our MFA in Creative Writing and new program in Visual Arts.

Students can study throughout the year in Southampton, including during our Summer Workshops, and at our downtown Manhattan location. 

See Academics for course requirements and descriptions.

Facilities

The MFA in Theatre is located on the beautiful Stony Brook Southampton campus, which includes the Avram Theatre and Gallery, a 429-seat theater that was substantially renovated in 2007.  Students also work in a flexible black box studio theatre (now under construction).  The film track provides a studio supplied with the latest digital film equipment, including Panasonic AG-HMC 150 cameras, Kino flo and Arri light kits, Sennheiser sound equipment, Macs, and Final Cut Pro Editing stations.

The University Library holds in excess of 27,000 volumes related to the study of theatre which is easily accessible through interlibrary document delivery.  Special collections of play texts, including translations, and theatre archives are being updated regularly.

Our Manhattan facility, located at 387 Park Avenue South, is an easy commute by train, bus, or car.  The facility provides graduate courses, readings and evening events and is in easy access to Manhattan’s many theatres, exhibitions, archives, and libraries, most notably the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

Professional Associations

The program has an association with the esteemed Ensemble Studio Theatre.  EST members are in residence during our Summer Workshops and participate in the development of student work in Southampton and Manhattan throughout the entire year.

In 2012 we will host the Michael Chekhov Association (MICHA)’s International Workshop & Festival, which will bring to campus over sixty actors from around the world. We actively seek new associations with professional companies that share our mission to nurture the work of emerging artists. 

Students

We welcome students of varied backgrounds and ages.  Our students are smart, talented, and inquisitive.  They share a passion for creating new work, and thrive on the inspiration that comes from interacting with novelists, poets, children’s book authors, memoirists, and visual artists.

Former student Thomas Higgins recently had his play Wild Animals You Should Know, which was developed at Southampton, presented Off Broadway by the Manhattan Class Company (MCC) at the Lucille Lortell Theatre. And playwriting alum Dorothy Marcic’s Sistaspremiered Off Broadway at St. Luke’s Theatre. Current student projects are being mentored by faculty members Jon Robin Baitz (Other Desert Cities), and Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman (‘Night Mother, Secret Garden). 

Faculty

Our core faculty is comprised of accomplished theatre professionals who are also experienced and dedicated teachers.  Each has made significant contributions to the field.  Our Summer Workshops, fall and spring classes, numerous readings and panels also bring to campus top theatre and film artists—from Edward Albee to Chris Weitz to Annie Baker.  And theatre students interact with celebrated authors and visual artists including poets Billy Collins, Mark Doty, Julie Sheehan; novelists Roger Rosenblatt, Ursula Hegi; Children's book author Emma Walton-Hamilton; essayist David Rakoff; painter Scott Sandell, and many others. 

See Faculty & Staff for the complete list and bios of our faculty.

Location

Southampton Arts is located in the town of Southampton on the coastal South Fork of eastern Long Island, with the Atlantic Ocean to the south and the Peconic Bay to the north.  The Hamptons, a collection of villages and hamlets, are renowned for their beautiful beaches, fine restaurants, rich history, and cultural heritage.  With historic lighthouses and windmills built during the early years of colonization, and numerous museums and cultural centers, the Hamptons have been an ideal destination for artists and writers for generations. 

Founded in 1640, Southampton is the oldest English settlement in the state of New York.  The town has its share of natural beauty and opportunities for recreation, as well a long artistic tradition that boasts connections to literary, theatre and visual arts luminaries including Jackson Pollack, John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut, and Tennessee Williams.  In fact, during the summer of 1957 Williams lived on campus in an 18th century windmill where he wrote an experimental play based on Pollack, The Day on Which a Man Dies.  The campus windmill has been restored and is frequently used for classes and special events. 

We are a short distance from Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, The West Hampton Beach Performing Arts Center, the Parrish Art Museum, and Guild Hall’s John Drew Theatre, where faculty member Stephen Hamilton recently performed in Equus with Alec Baldwin under the direction of Tony Walton, both of whom are Southampton Arts Guest Faculty.