New College is known for its innovative approaches to the arts, and our Theater Area of Concentration (AOC) is no exception. New College’s Theater AOC is designed for students whose involvement in theatrical practice is matched by their interest in what theater does in the world.
New College’s Theater AOC is designed for students whose involvement in theatrical practice is matched by their interest in what theater does in the world. In this joint disciplinary program – meaning that you must take theater combined with another area of study – you have the opportunity to take foundational acting and directing classes with the highly trained and experienced faculty from the nearby Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory of Actor Training, but you also will be pushed to delve deeply into the social, historical and cultural contexts of theater.
By combining your love of theater with study in another discipline, you will be able to explore the intersections between theater and the environment, theater and race, theater and gender or theater and politics, just to name a few. In fact, one of the truly unique aspects of our program is the freedom it provides for students to get involved in and produce the type of theatrical productions that most interest them.
This small, joint disciplinary AOC – meaning that it must be combined with another area of study (e.g., Literature/Theater, Visual Arts/Theater, Psychology/Theater) – allows students hands-on training with faculty from the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory of Actor Training, a highly selective graduate acting school located adjacent to our campus. Students can take courses in Introductory and Advanced Acting with faculty from the Conservatory and also have opportunities to do stagecraft and other internships at the Asolo Repertory Theatre.
But don’t be fooled. Our Theater AOC is not a standard conservatory program. Instead, it is designed for students who want to dig deeper and combine their love for the theater with the academically rigorous coursework you would expect at one of the country’s leading liberal arts colleges. Within our program, you will explore dramatic texts and study the broad historical and social contexts of theater, as well as learning the diverse theoretical approaches underlying playwriting, direction and production.
As with all programs at New College, our Theater AOC requires a senior thesis or project in order to graduate. In the case of Theater, this might include a lengthy, written research paper on an area of special interest to you or it could include the writing and production of an original play or performance. You and your academic advisor will make the decision and determine the content and direction accordingly.
As you might expect from a program that offers as much breadth and academic freedom as our Theater AOC, the career paths chosen by graduates are as varied as the individuals themselves. Some have gone into screenwriting, direction and production, while others have pursued careers in education, social work and even software development. One of them is even an Emmy Award winner, while another received a Best of Actor’s Rep Award for her original play.
Since Theater is a “joint disciplinary AOC,” meaning that it has to be combined with another area of study (e.g.. Literature/Theater, Visual Arts/Theater, Psychology/Theater), you will need to consult with faculty in both areas to determine the exact courses and requirements needed while you are at New College. They can help with advice, timelines and other assistance to help keep you on course for your degree and to make sure that your program of study meets your academic interests and goals.
Here’s a list of recent course offerings in Theater:
The Anthropology of Performance
Dance Technique and Chore Lab
Realism, Expressionism, and Surrealism: Twentieth-Century Drama in Theory and Practice
Shakespeare: Language and Identity
The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht
Women and Seduction in 18th- and Early 19th-Century German Bourgeois Drama
For detailed requirements, check out our General Catalog.
As a joint disciplinary AOC, the study of Theater at New College offers a great deal of flexibility. Below are some of the faculty you may take courses with, depending on your personal interests and goals:
Stephen T. Miles
Affiliated Asolo Conservatory Faculty
Carol Flint is a Hollywood scriptwriter and producer. Over the last two decades, she has regularly written and produced episodes for such acclaimed and successful television shows as China Beach, L.A. Law, ER and The West Wing, all shows for which she received Emmy nominations. After sharing in ER’s Emmy win for “Outstanding Drama Series,” Flint both wrote and produced the long-running TV drama’s 1997 season premiere. The much-publicized episode was broadcast live — a TV genre thought to be extinct. More recently, she has produced and written for Royal Pains, Six Degrees and The Unit.
New College is proud of its many Theater graduates. Here’s a look at what some of them are up to these days:
• Maya Lilly earned a prestigious Morris K. Udall Scholarship Award for her work combining the arts with environmental activism and received the Best of Actor’s Rep award in Los Angeles for her critically-acclaimed play, Mixed. She has also worked on the documentary Spill about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and produced the music video “Free Tibet: Now or Never”, which features Brandon Boyd of Incubus and Sanaa Lathan of the movie, Love and Basketball.
• Marcus Geduld is a multimedia trainer in New York City with clients such as The New Yorker Magazine, The Discovery Channel, NBC, The Gap, Sotheby’s, Avon, Citibank, The Federal Reserve and The New York Times (Theater/Drama Literature).
• Martha Graebner is a social worker (Psychology/Theatre).
• Emma Holder is the talent director for the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, a seven-day live performance festival in Austin, Texas, which showcases improv, sketch and stand-up comedy from all over the country and across the globe (British & American Literature/Theatre).
• Dylan Jones is the owner of Little Grey Hat Productions. In addition to producing, directing and editing films, he also writes plays, short stories and scripts and composes original music for films and stage musicals (British and American Literature/Theater).
• Arkady Medovoy is clinic operations administrator at Palmetto Heath Council in Atlanta (Humanities/Theater).
• Deanna Ohlandt is a professional in education, performance studies and theater practice in the Washington, D.C., area. She has taught in traditional college classrooms and in a range of nontraditional settings, including residential and day programs for youth, community adult education programs, and on outdoor experiential education courses. She has been directing for the stage since 1995 and has also worked as a dramaturg, producer, stage manager and assistant director on various productions (Philosophy/Theatre).
• Jonathan Spector is a director and playwright (Literature/Theater).
• Sara Stein is a licensed master social worker (LMSW) with experience in individual, couples, family, and group therapy (Psychology/Theatre).
• Noah Teitelbaum is executive director of academics at Manhattan Prep (Anthropology/Theater).
• Michael Wells is a software developer (Computer Science/Theater).
• American Academy of Dramatic Arts
|Each academic experience builds toward your senior thesis project. It’s required for graduation, and our students tell us that while it’s demanding, it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives. Here are some thesis projects in Theater:
“Mapping Identity: Relationships Between In/Out Space” by Jessica Borusky
“Explorations of Irishness in Synge, McDonagh, Yeats, & Beckett” by Philip Levie
“Hear Say: Identity, Communication, and Language in the Modern Metaplay or Adventures in Playwriting” by Emma Holder
“Frailty Thy Name is Woman: A Theatrical Exploration of Motherhood and Masochistic Play.” by Lacy Warner
“Killing Pearl: When Hester Chooses Infanticide–Confronting Motherhood and the Redemptive Fantasy of The Scarlet Letter in Suzan-Lori Parks’s The Red Letter Plays” by Alison Reid
“On the Nature of the Puppet: An Exploration of Four Puppet-Plays” by Erin Boggs
“Dramatic Production: An Acting Workshop for Writers” by Carol Duval
“Theater of the Community: Connecting Communities in North Sarasota” by Arkady Medovoy
“Acting Existentialism: Jean-Paul Sarte’s Huis Clos… Adaptation, Production and Criticism” by Patrick Armshaw
“More than Heavenly Power Permits: The Faust Myth and Man’s Striving in Marlowe’sDoctor Faustus, Goethe’s Faust and Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita” by Carlos Guzman-Verdugo
“An Adaptable Fellow: A Theatrical Adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises” by Mary Lehach
“Rethinking Brecht: The Reinvention of Contemporary Politics and Political Theater” by Lauren Nash
“From Fathers and Sons to Fathers and Children: A Case in Adaptation Theory.” by David M. Robinson
“New College Street Theatre of Motley Fools” by Cynthia Tucker
“Plays Well With Others: The Ensemble Theory of Theatrical Performance” by Deanna Ross
“An Actor Perceives: Are Actors/Keener Observers of Behavior than Non-Actors?” by Scott Casper
“In-Group Behavior and Theater in Adolescents” by Martha C. Graebner
“Acting and Cognition: Context-Dependent Memory Effects for Professional Actors in and Out of Character” by Sara Elizabeth Stein
“Smiling Inside: Routinization, Representation, and Rat Race” by Eric Jakobsen
“Questioning Reality: Ethnographic and Dramatic Interpretations of a New Age Millenarian Group” by Noah Teitelbaum
“Antonin Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty” by Doug MacDonald
“Opposite Directions: The Ambiguity of the Director’s Role in Contemporary Theater” by Jonathan Spector
“Uncle Sam Takes the Stage: A Social and Literary Study of the Federal Theatre Project” by Stuart Jess Phillips
Sarasota is renowned among Florida cities for its emphasis on arts and culture, and New College Theater students are fortunate to have several of the local treasures literally straddled by our campus.
Located on the grounds of the Ringling Museum of Art, the Historic Asolo Theater is a masterpiece in its own right. Constructed in Asolo, Italy, in 1798 to pay tribute to the 15th-century exiled Queen Catherine Cornaro of Cyprus, the theater was shipped piece by piece to Sarasota and reconstructed in the late 1940s. It hosts a variety of theater, music and dance performances throughout the year, as well as films and lectures. New College students receive discounted pricing on a number of these.
Just across the street, the Asolo Rep Theatre is home to the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory of Actor Training and offers a diverse repertoire of newly commissioned plays, bold reinterpretations of contemporary and classical works, and provocative new musical theater experiences. New College Theater students have an opportunity to take classes with faculty from the Conservatory and to attend performances, as well as to participate in internships at the Asolo Rep.
New College Theater students also have free access to the Ringing Museum of Art, which is located next door to campus. The museum offers 21 galleries of European paintings as well as Cypriot antiquities and Asian, American and contemporary art. The museum’s art collection currently consists of more than 10,000 objects that include a variety of paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, photographs and decorative arts from ancient through contemporary periods and from around the world.
The Sarasota Ballet, the Gulf Coast of Florida’s first and only professional ballet company, is also located next door to our campus with performances and community classes throughout the year.
You might also be interested in…
Hamilton Center, New College’s student union, is home to a well-equipped, intimate 50-seat Black Box Theater for student performances and productions. Reservations for the space can be made through the Student Affairs Office.
The innovative New Music New College performance series is a treasure for contemporary arts enthusiasts and features outstanding musicians from around the country. For more than a decade, New Music New College has included a number of free artist conversations that allow audience members to get to know the musicians and what’s behind their music. Guest artists for the season have included Third Coast Percussion, pianist Marilyn Lerner and vocalist/composer Toby Twining with his jazz ensemble. The vision for New Music New College lies with its director, music professor Stephen Miles. The events are free for New College students.