Department of Theatre Arts Mission
We are dedicated to mentoring the individual student to achieve his/her full potential. We strive for academic and artistic excellence and foster critical thinking, creativity, originality and scholarship. A respect for past traditions, a commitment to innovative work that embraces new forms and technology, and an exploration of what is unique to the live theatre experience are at the core of our training.
Programs and Venues
The Department of Theatre Arts offers a BA Theatre Arts, a minor in Media Arts, an MA in Theatre, and an MFA in Dramaturgy, one of the nation’s leading professional graduate programs. With a railroad stop right here on campus connecting us with Manhattan, students have the opportunity to see professional theatre in New York City and take advantage of course offerings at our Manhattan campus. Graduate students also take advantage of courses at our Southampton campus, which offers a Writer’s Conferences during the summer that includes the participation of renowned playwrights and theatre artists from the New York area.
The Department produces a wide range of material on our main stage and in lab productions, from classical work to the newest voices in the American theatre. We also operate two smaller black box theatres, including the graduate experimental ‘cabaret’ called The Underground. Both spaces house several classes a day as well as provide a home for many theatre productions.
Several programs have grown to supplement our main stage productions and graduate and undergraduate theatres. Since 1995, we have produced an award-winning prevention through the arts program. The students earn upper division theatre credit while writing, directing, and performing an original work based on real stories about experiences with alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
In 2003, we honored the centennial of the birth of American dramaturg John Gassner by instituting the first annual John Gassner New Play Festival. The festival includes a national new play contest managed by our literary office and staffed by advanced graduate student dramaturgs. Readings take place in Manhattan and involve the participation of professional actors, dramaturgs and playwrights from the New York theatre scene.
We also have the Staller Center for the Arts, a state-of-the-art performing arts facility that presents professional theatre, dance and music groups from around the world, and produces the acclaimed annual Stony Brook Film Festival.
The Charles B. Wang Center, celebrating Asian and American cultures, houses a restaurant, gardens, art galleries, and serves as a conference facility and presenting venue for numerous cultural events.
We are committed to providing rigorous academic courses and to creating opportunities for our students to experience, critique and create performance that exploits theatrical potential in a rapidly expanding art form.