School of Theatre

The School of Theatre in the College of Fine Arts at Boston University was established in 1954 as one of the country’s leading institutions for the study of acting, stage management, design, production, and all aspects of the theatrical profession. In recent years, the School of Theatre has evolved into an energetic place that values the notion of the new conservatory. From that idea, several core School of Theatre values emerge:

  • We believe in the artistic possibilities of collaboration that involves faculty, students, alumni, and guest artists in potent explorations of the art form that encourage working together as the best means for achieving artistic growth.
  • We believe that an artist must be provided with a rigorous curriculum that allows mastery of the skills of his or her particular area of interest, be it in acting, directing, playwriting, dramaturgy, design, or production.
  • We believe that every member of our community is a part of the artistic home that we create together. In that home, we nurture an appreciation of challenge, a conviction for the value of everyone’s potential, and a belief in the need for intellectual growth as a core part of developing artistic growth.
  • We believe that the School can serve the profession by interacting with it and providing a laboratory for the development of new work or new approaches to existing work. Like our colleagues in the sciences, our role as stewards of the arts within an excellent research institution is to be on the forefront of exploring new possibilities for the theatre.

The School of Theatre is a conservatory for professional theatre training of the highest caliber. The School’s programs of study encourage the growth of vivid and adept theatre artists, and its students develop the technique, imagination, and maturity necessary to sustain significant careers in the theatre and related media.

To prepare students thoroughly for substantive artistic and commercial careers, the theatre class schedule, production regimen, and professional review are rigorous. Central to this conservatory training is extensive practical experience. Learning nurtured in the classroom and the studio is mastered in the excitement of public performance. The School of Theatre produces a number of fully mounted productions each season in the flexible Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley Studio 210, in the elegant proscenium stage of the Boston University Theatre, and at Wimberly Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts. Anywhere from 25 to 40 projects can be produced annually in the studio theatres of the College of Fine Arts, each offering a unique, intimate, and experimental performance experience. The design and production programs supplement their theatre arts production activities by designing and producing two operas for the Opera Institute on the Boston University Theatre proscenium stage.

The Boston University Professional Theatre Initiative (PTI) reflects the belief in the necessity of strong artistic relationships with the theatre profession. PTI provides opportunities for stimulating, creative interactions between participating theatres and the BU School of Theatre community. Often, PTI member theatres provide professional opportunities in acting, directing, and design, and/or career development opportunities through internships. In some cases, our interactions with these companies result in new play development and opportunities to conceive new approaches to existent works. In recent years, theatres as varied as the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Olney Theatre Center, Glimmerglass Opera, National Players, Potomac Theatre Project, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, among others have joined this initiative. Project-based interactions have been successfully forged with theatres such as the Guthrie Theater, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Primary Stages, and the Arden Theatre, as well as the continued artistic relationship with the Huntington Theatre Company. In 2012, School of Theatre Director Jim Petosa was named Artistic Director of PTI member New Repertory Theatre.

Message from the Director

On behalf of the faculty, students and staff of our School, I am delighted by your interest in our work and encourage you to contact us with any questions that may arise or to set up a visit so that you can have a firsthand experience.

Our academic programs and several special initiatives have developed over the last decade, enabling us to put our core values into practice. I hope this overview of the School, its values, and its programs will pique your interest. If it does, we look forward to talking with you and giving you even more insight into who we are, what we believe, and how you might find us the right place to embark on your professional education as a theatre artist.

—Jim Petosa, Director, School of Theatre