BUSTI students have the option to choose between a course of study in either Performance or Design. Students in both tracks work together as an ensemble for the majority of their classes. We encourage all students to stretch their comfort zones and work as true collaborative theatre artists: as actors, designers, directors, playwrights… regardless of which track they choose. What follows is a detailed breakdown of the daily curriculum:

In the morning, all students in both tracks rotate through four Technique Classes. Students in both tracks take Voice & Speech, Movement, and Stage Combat. Performance students take a Singing for the Actor class, while Design students take a specialized Stagecraft class. On Fridays, all students come together for a Dramatic Literature class.

Three afternoons per week, students train further in their chosen track. Performance students take Acting classes, where they learn to warm up, follow their impulses, pursue objectives, develop a character, and mine the possibilities of a script through scene study. In Design classes, students study script analysis, graphic communication skills, collaboration, character development, and storytelling through scenery, lighting, costumes, sound, and stage management. Toward the end of the BUSTI program, each student has a one-on-one conference with their Acting or Design teacher to receive feedback on their growth over the course of the five weeks and to engage in a dialogue about future pursuits.

Two afternoons per week, students dive into specialized training in a series of Master Classes exploring various elements of theatrical artistry. All students will take all master classes over the course of the summer. Past master classes have included Audition Technique, Lighting Design, Costume Design, Suzuki, Directing, Viewpoints, Clowning, Alexander Technique, Playwriting, Solo Performance, Shakespeare, Text Analysis, and Theatre for Social Change.

During the evenings and on Saturday afternoons, all students take Collaborative Theatre Ensemble class to devise and rehearse an original performance piece inspired by an Artistic Muse. These projects are process-oriented ensemble pieces, geared toward empowering individual students to develop a collective artistic voice. At program’s end, all students perform these projects in the College of Fine Arts TheatreLab@855. Family and friends are invited to attend.

On Friday evenings, students participate in Experimental Theatre Laboratories, smaller and more focused classes that are designed to delve more deeply into specific topics such as improvised movement, playwriting, etc, and explore what theatre is and what theatre can do for artists, audiences, and communities.

Required Core Curriculum Events on select weeknights and weekends round out the curriculum, providing a wide range of theatrical and artistic experiences that complement the learning in the classroom.

A Typical Theatre Institute Day

9–10:30 a.m. Morning Technique Class 1
10:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Morning Technique Class 2
12:15–1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:45–5 p.m. Acting or Design Class
5–7 p.m. Dinner
7–10 p.m. Collaborative Theatre Ensemble
11 p.m. Curfew

Undergraduate Audition or Portfolio Review

Toward the end of the summer, students entering the senior year of high school will have the opportunity to interview for the professional training program at the School of Theatre at the Boston University College of Fine Arts. Students demonstrating exceptional promise and commitment may wish to apply for admission to the School under the Boston University Early Decision program.

Students who opt not to interview during the summer, or students who are entering their sophomore or junior year of high school, are invited to participate in a mock college audition or portfolio review. Students receive feedback as to how to improve their audition/portfolio for the future.