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. We are located on the SBU Southampton campus in Long Island's beautiful, seaside town of Southampton, a bus or train ride away from Manhattan.
The MFA in Theatre offers tracks in Acting, Playwriting, Directing, Dramaturgy and Film. Students train with internationally acclaimed professionals in an interdisciplinary environment.
We provide advanced training for experienced artists who wish to collaborate with writers, actors, directors and filmmakers to create original work.
Location, community and a world-class faculty are what make Southampton Graduate Arts one of, if not the most ideal place to earn an MFA.
The MFA in Theatre is process-oriented and project-driven with emphasis on new work. We foster each student’s unique voice, and provide a laboratory setting for students to develop interdisciplinary collaborations, create new forms of storytelling, and produce their own work. We encourage crossover between theatre and film, and between the different theatre disciplines. We graduate multi-skilled, entrepreneurial artists who are prepared to meet the demands of the rapidly changing theatre and film industries.
The MFA in Theatre is a two to three-year program that includes a core curriculum, a specialized track, lab projects, a culminating project, final paper, and a professional internship. Students may complete the program in two years if they attend the summer session and complete the internship and final project in the second year.
The curriculum requires 46-49 credits, including 31 required core and 15-17 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 the MFA in Creative Writing.
Students study throughout the year in Southampton, including during our summer International Theatre Workshops, and at our downtown Manhattan location.
See Academics for course requirements and descriptions.
The Stony Brook Southampton campus includes the Avram Theatre and Gallery, a 429-seat theatre that was substantially renovated in 2007. Students will also work in the new flexible black box David Rakoff Studio Theatre, which is currently 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 main campus 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 / Partnerships
We have partnered with legendary film producer Christine Vachon and her company Killer Films. Vachon is helping us to develop a cutting edge film program. Students write, direct, produce and/or act in original films under the mentorship of Vachon and Killer filmmakers.
We have an association with MICHA, the Michael Chekhov Association. MICHA faculty teach acting classes in Chekhov's psycho-physical acting technique in Southampton and Manhattan. Professional actors associated with MICHA often participate in readings and student projects.
The program also has an association with the esteemed Ensemble Studio Theatre. EST members are often on hand to participate in the development of student work.
We actively seek associations with professional companies on the East End, in Manhattan and nationally to provide our students with assistantships and opportunities to present their work.
We welcome students of varied backgrounds, ages and cultures. Our students share a passion for creating new work, as well as a respect for the inspiration that comes from the classics, and thrive on the cross-pollination that can occur by interacting with writers and artists across many disciplines. Student work is often presented at venues in New York City and abroad.
This year we welcome an incoming class of students from around the world. The countries of Brazil, South Korea, Iran and the United States are represented.
Our core and visiting faculty is comprised of accomplished theatre professionals who are also experienced teachers. Each has made significant contributions to the field. Our readings, panels, and workshops also bring to campus renowned theatre and film artists - the top in their fields.
See Faculty & Staff for the complete list and bios of our faculty.
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.
See Admissions to apply