Timothy J. Bond, Producing Artistic Director, Department of Drama and Syracuse Stage
Ralph Zito, Chair
820 East Genesee Street, 315-443-2669
As an undergraduate conservatory-style theater training program that is both directly partnered with a professional theater company and part of a major American university, SU Drama is uniquely positioned to train the next generation of professional theater artists. Students learn from faculty members who themselves are practicing professionals in every aspect of theater. The Department provides students with the opportunity to draw upon the unparalleled theater and art resources of London, England, or Florence, Italy, through study abroad. It also offers a unique drama experience through the Tepper Semester, a rigorous artistic training program in the culturally rich setting of New York City. Many of the alumni who have gone on to become highly respected writers, actors, directors, producers and designers return to campus occasionally to lecture, advise, and participate in informal discussions. Visiting artists working at Syracuse Stage or other professional venues in the area often conduct workshops or discussions with Drama students.
The Department of Drama offers four professional programs, leading to the B.F.A. degree: in theater design and technology, acting, musical theater, and stage management. It also offers a B.S. degree in drama. The Department of Drama is committed to ensuring that students receive a strong foundation in the theater in all of its forms. Undergraduates put classroom theory into practice and carry out the University’s academic mission of Scholarship in Action through productions and community engagement.
The unique affiliation between the Drama Department and Syracuse Stage, an outstanding Equity theater company, provides opportunities for our students to gain professional experiences in all areas of study while working toward their undergraduate degrees. These two organizations share space in the same theater complex.
The faculty covers material in appropriate courses that includes plays by playwrights from all backgrounds. The practice of non-traditional casting affords students the opportunity to perform roles not traditionally assigned to them. Design/technical theater studio courses by nature invite and promote exploration of diversity in ideas, themes, and approach to visual presentation of plays; texts for assigned projects are chosen on the basis of ensuring a diverse experience. Academic topics courses (451/452) occasionally embrace themes directly relating to diversity. In addition, the following courses include issues of diversity:
Acting and Scene Study Courses
The B.F.A. degree is the dominant degree in the drama department. Along with traditional drama requirements, students have the option of selecting support courses from the University’s other professional schools, including art and music. Each program requires 94-100 credits in the selected discipline, drama and related support courses, which are selected by the student and advisor to achieve specific professional goals. The remaining 30 credits are devoted to academic courses outside of the department.
During the first year of study, students in the Acting and Musical Theater Programs concentrate on building fundamental skills rather than on performance. Students in both programs share classes in acting, movement, and voice. In addition to these Core courses, Musical Theater students begin their training in dance and singing. Freshman Design and Technology Students begin their studies in art foundation, theater design and stagecraft, and in their second year begin studies specific to their area of interest (scenic, costume or lighting). Stage Management students begin with a foundation in theater, stage management, and stagecraft from the first year.
Continuation in the B.F.A. program in Acting or Musical Theater is based on faculty evaluation of the student’s classwork and personal commitment at the end of the second year of study. However, this is not the only evaluation. All students in the department are evaluated periodically to see whether their commitment and development warrant continuation in the program they have selected.
B.S. Degree in Drama
The Drama, BS is structured much like the traditional arts and sciences degree and enables students to incorporate the intensive training of the drama program with a broad education in the liberal arts. Students interested in the B.S. degree may choose a track (concentration) in Acting, Directing, Playwriting or in Theater Technology, providing they have been admitted to and have completed a portion of the BFA program. However, Students may be directly admitted into the Theater Management B.S. track.
The B.S. degree requires 120 credits, including a minimum of 50 credits in the liberal arts, and a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (C). In addition to the liberal arts distribution of requirements, students must select an 18-credit minor or academic specialization in an academic (non-studio) area of study. They may take additional credits if they wish to satisfy their own interests.
Minor in Drama
he Department of Drama currently offers a minor to those students enrolled in other courses of study. Students must petition the drama faculty, have a 2.5 grade point average, and have at least a sophomore standing. Fifteen students are accepted as minors each year on a “first-come, first -served” basis. Minors must fulfill 18 credits of class, including 3 credits of introduction to the theater (DRA 115 ) and 3 credits of theater history (DRA 352 , DRA 355 , or DRA 356 ). At least 9 of the remaining 12 credits must be in upper- level classes. Students may select courses from among classes in history, dramatic literature, theater management, theater design and technology, acting for nonmajors, and others.
Syracuse Stage is a professional (LORT Equity) theater company. Together with the Department of Drama, it forms part of an unusual University-professional theater affiliation. The close relationship between a major professional theater serving the city and a vigorous University undergraduate program for training young professionals is fostered by their common home in one complex.
Drama students earn credits by assisting professional directors, designers, and technicians and by appearing in productions at Syracuse Stage; in turn, the staff of the professional theater is involved in all the productions of the drama department, supervising and assisting student designers and technicians with their work. Some student actors are cast in professional productions, and all students profit from the experience, advice, and example of professional actors, designers, directors, and resident staff working in the same building. A number of specialized drama department classes are taught by members of the Syracuse Stage staff who are part-time adjuncts to the faculty.
The College of Visual and Performing Arts, through Syracuse University Abroad, provides students in the Department of Drama with the opportunity to draw upon the unparalleled theater resources of London, England, or design resources in Florence, Italy, through study abroad. Coursework is designed to take advantage of the quantity and quality of London theater. A unique weekly acting workshop at the prestigious Globe Theatre*, offered during the Fall semester, provides training in special skills such as stage movement and voice. Students may also take courses in the arts and sciences, communications, environmental arts, or management. A direct placement program with the London College of Fashion offers students majoring in costume design an opportunity to study costume design and technology during their junior year. Design students may choose to study in Florence, Italy, where rich cultural resources in art, theater, and opera provide an unforgettable educational experience.
* Please note that participation in the Globe program is limited to 18 students annually.
For further information, contact the Office of Student Services, 204 Crouse College, or SU Abroad, 106 Walnut Place (suabroad.syr.edu).
The Tepper Semester: a New York City Drama Experience
The Tepper Semester is a unique program from Syracuse University’s Department of Drama that offers undergraduate students in advanced levels of acting, musical theater, design, and stage management the opportunity to immerse themselves in a rigorous artistic training program in the culturally rich setting of New York City.
Students in the Tepper Semester work closely with an accomplished faculty of professional, working artists who nurture the students’ creative, intellectual, and personal growth. The faculty also helps students gain an understanding of the business skills essential for a rewarding and successful career in the industry.
Residency in New York City is an integral part of the Tepper Semester. Artistic training is fueled by the cultural and educational resources of the city. In addition to being exposed to a broad range of theater, they can experience museums, libraries, and various entertainment venues.
Syracuse University Drama Organization
The Syracuse University Drama Organization (SUDO) is the national chartered alumni club for SU drama alumni and friends in the entertainment industry. Based in New York City, SUDO’s primary goals are to be a source of networking for drama alumni and to provide new and future alumni with mentoring assistance. To meet its goals, SUDO hosts many social, cultural, and fund-raising functions such as an annual reunion party, an Academy Awards party, a biannual cabaret, and a new play reading series. SUDO also publishes a regular newsletter available to members.
Courses for Non-Drama Students
Non-drama students are welcome in DRA 105 , DRA 315 , DRA 352 , DRA 355 , DRA 356 , DRA 305 , DRA 405 , DRA 491 and DRD 555 - Evolution of Stage Design as well as in ART 250 and ART 253 (offered by the School of Art and Design).
The Department of Drama
The Department of Drama has a unique affiliation with Syracuse Stage, an Equity theater company, and has specialized facilities, including three theater spaces and a cabaret space, enabling students to participate in every dramatic activity, from stage management, stagecraft and design to acting and directing. Students learn from faculty members who themselves are practicing professionals in every aspect of theater. The department provides students with the opportunity to draw upon the unparalleled theater and art resources of London, England, or Florence, Italy, through study abroad. It also offers a unique drama experience through the Tepper Experience, a rigorous artistic training program in the culturally rich setting of New York City. Many of the alumni who have gone on to become highly respected writers, actors, directors, producers and designers return to campus occasionally to lecture, advise, and participate in informal discussions. Visiting artists working at Syracuse Stage or other professional venues in the area often conduct workshops or discussions with Drama students.