Why Study Theater at New College?

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.

Theater area of concentration

Currently it is not possible to graduate from New College with an Area of Concentration entirely in theater; the College has neither the faculty nor the facilities to support such a concentration. However, due in part to the College’s collaborative relationship with the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory of Actor Training, a highly selective graduate acting school located adjacent to the College campus in Sarasota, it is possible to include theater as a component within a “joint disciplinary” Area of Concentration: (e.g.. Literature/Theater, Visual Arts/Theater, Anthropology/Theater, Psychology/Theater.)

A component in theater should be undertaken by students as part of their undergraduate liberal arts education. Theater of course lends itself to this context, having many conceptual and historical relations to other liberal arts disciplines. Although over the years a few New College students have gone on to graduate study or professional employment in theater, it should be understood that theater study at the College is not pre-professional training; and students should be aware that making a career in theater remains extremely difficult. 

Joint Disciplinary AOC Requirements

Students planning to declare an Area of Concentration combining theater with another discipline should first consult with one of the faculty members listed here, and also with a faculty member in the other discipline, about requirements for such combinations.

A Provisional Area of Concentration form filled out in consultation with faculty from both disciplines, indicating any further work needed to complete the Area of Concentration for graduation, must be submitted no later than the semester of the student’s fifth contract. The signature of one of the faculty members listed above must appear on the completed Provisional Area of Concentration form.

Note: the procedure above applies to combinations of theater with another discipline (e.g., literature, anthropology). Combining theater with a component of study covering an entire division, such as “Social Sciences/Theater,” requires a different procedure — see the rules for “Special Programs” in the New College Faculty Handbook.

Requirements for the theater component:
By graduation, students need to have taken the equivalent of 8-10 courses in theater or about half the total courses for their entire, joint-disciplinary Area of Concentration.

Practical Study

Required Undertakings:

  • Introduction to Acting (Module course or group ISP, taught by FSU/Asolo faculty
  • Advanced Acting (Module course or group ISP, taught by FSU/Asolo faculty.)
  • Stagecraft Internship at the Asolo Conservatory (See a New College faculty member listed above to make arrangements; should be entered and evaluated as a semester or module Independent Reading Project on one of the student’s New College contracts.)

Production Involvement:
Normally after completing at least one of the required Asolo courses, students begin to take part in play production tutorials that have academic sponsorship from one of the faculty members listed above. The student’s work in play productions should include not just acting, but also “behind the scenes” work (as stage manager, director, or in some other capacity).

Literary, Historical, and Theoretical Study
Students need to take New College courses or tutorials involving study of the following kinds: literary analysis of dramatic texts; study of theater’s historical development and social context; study of diverse theoretical approaches to theater. A student may be able to study more than one of these kinds within a single course: for instance, a course on Spanish Drama of the Golden Age may involve both analysis of play texts and study of performance practices of the period; a course on Brecht may involve analysis of his play texts and of his theoretical ideas. But the student must have done all three kinds of study by graduation.

Interdisciplinary courses would be very appropriate here; thus, courses on Anthropology and Performance or on Aesthetics (Philosophy) of Performance would meet the requirement for theoretical work. A course or tutorial on playwriting might help meet the requirements for literary study, but should not be the only work in literary study the student undertakes. The senior project may or may not involve theater.


Recent Theses

  • Mapping Identity: Relationships Between In/Out Space
  • Explorations of Irishness in Synge, McDonagh, Yeats, & Beckett
  • Hear Say: Identity, Communication, and Language in the Modern Metaplay or Adventures in Playwriting
  • Frailty Thy Name is Woman: A Theatrical Exploration of Motherhood and Masochistic Play
  • 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
  • On the Nature of the Puppet: An Exploration of Four Puppet-Plays
  • Dramatic Production: An Acting Workshop for Writers
  • Theater of the Community: Connecting Communities in North Sarasota
  • Acting Existentialism: Jean-Paul Sarte’s Huis Clos… Adaptation, Production and Criticism
  • More than Heavenly Power Permits: The Faust Myth and Man’s Striving in Marlowe’s “Doctor Faustus,” Goethe’s “Faust” and Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita”

SAMPLE PATHWAYS to complete AOC Requirements

These pathways show how you could complete the AOC requirements within four years at New College or within two years after earning an associate’s degree. Please consult with your academic adviser to determine the most appropriate courses for your area of concentration.