MFA in Theatre



Faculty member ANNIE BAKER wins the PULITZER PRIZE for Drama!


Dorothy Lichtenstein Donates $1 Million to Southampton Graduate Arts read more»

lichtenstein_mangano    reeves_lichtenstein_stanley       

photo: (L) MFA Theatre Director, Nick Mangano & Dorothy Lichtenstein  
(R) Southampton Arts Associate Provost, Robert Reeves, Dorothy Lichtenstein, & SBU President Sam Stanley    


New Southampton Arts MFA Acting program is approved by SUNY 

Southampton Arts has added an Acting program to our MFA in Theatre, which also offers tracks in Playwriting, Directing, Dramaturgy and Film.  With the inclusion of actors, we can now fully realize our mission to develop and present original student work for live performance and the screen. Core faculty member Mercedes Ruehl will teach in this newest addition to our graduate program. We are accepting applications for our first Acting class in the fall of 2014, and will join the URTA National Unified Auditions to recruit.


Actress MERCEDES RUEHL joins our core faculty 

We are thrilled to announce that Academy, Tony and Golden Globe Award-winning actress Mercedes Ruehl (The Fisher King, Lost in Yonkers, Married to the Mob, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?) has joined our core faculty. You all know Mercedes' terrific work as an actor, but you may not know that she is also a talented, passionate teacher who cares deeply about training the next generation of theatre artists. It is our honor to welcome her on board to help us develop a graduate acting program.




Playwright ANNIE BAKER joins our core faculty 

We couldn't be happier to welcome to our core faculty Blackburn Prize, Obie and Drama Desk Award-winning playwright Annie Baker (Circle Mirror Transformation, The Aliens, Uncle Vanya, The Flick). Annie is a gifted playwright and teacher who brings out the best in her students.  She devotes as much energy to them as she does to her own writing, which is no small accomplishment.  Annie will be teaching playwriting in Southampton and Manhattan, during the fall, spring, or during our summer International Theatre Workshops.


Campus Windmill declared a Literary Landmark to commemorate Tennessee Williams 


During the summer of 1957, Tennessee Williams lived on campus in our historic windmill. Here he wrote an experimental play, The Day on Which a Man Dies, in response to the death of his friend, Abstract Expressionist painter Jackson Pollock.

The windmill was originally built in the early 1700’s and was located in Southampton Village. In the 1890’s, it was acquired by a prominent banker, Arthur B. Claflin, and moved to its current location, where it served as a playhouse for Claflin’s daughter. After World War II, the Claflin estate became the Tucker Mill Inn, and the windmill playhouse was refitted and rented out as a guesthouse.

To commemorate its most famous resident, one of our most influential American dramatists, the windmill has been designated a Literary Landmark by the American Library Association (United for Libraries).  A dedication ceremony took place on July 13, 2013. It featured a premiere reading of a play, At Stanley's Place, by celebrated author and Southampton Arts faculty member Frederic Tuten. The full-day celebration also included presentations by director Nick Mangano, novelist Roger Rosenblatt, poet Grace Schulman, and a performance of Tennessee: A Portrait featuring Mercedes Ruehl and Harris Yulin.

The new Rakoff Studio Theatre is under construction 


David Benjamin Rakoff (1964-2012) was a well-known writer and a beloved Southampton Arts faculty member.  His creative endeavors included radio, journalism, novels, screenplays, essays, acting and directing. He is our multi-disciplinary hero.  

We wanted something to honor David in a permanent way, something that we believe would make him proud, remind us of his many talents, and inspire our students. After a number of ideas, naming a performance space after him seemed the perfect choice. The David Rakoff Studio Theatre will be in Chancellors Hall, one of our most beautiful buildings where our Creative Writing and Theatre

rakoff_dinnerprograms reside. The David Rakoff Studio Theatre will be a flexible performance space where our students can realize and present their work across all of our disciplines - work where different genres might even meld together into new forms of storytelling.  

David once wrote, "like generations of other misfits before me, be they morphological, sexual or otherwise, I decided that I would make theatre my refuge."  So, what could be a more fitting tribute to David than the creation of a safe place for theatre students to stretch, experiment and strut their stuff? 

Photo: Celebration of the life and work of David Rakoff, March 4, 2013. (L-R) Nick Mangano, Stephen Hamilton, Jules Feiffer, Mercedes Ruehl.