Department of Drama students have the chance to attend—and participate in—120 to 160 artistically and educationally challenging productions throughout their four years of study. These include department main stage and Syracuse Stage productions, including the annual co-production with Syracuse Stage.
Department productions are where the unparalleled experience of combining all of the theater arts—playwriting, design, direction, acting, stage management, and technical creation—are brought together in one place at one time to be realized as a completed work of art. It is through this real-world experience that our students finally come to understand their art through practice.
While students learn the appropriate principles and practices in the classroom, in production they face the necessity, the challenge, and the incredible opportunity of turning practice into product. That product and your part in it will be enjoyed and judged by your peers, your teachers, an audience, and the same critics who comment on professional productions. Through this constant critique of your work, you quickly learn to separate the helpful feedback from the uninformed or malicious, thereby growing your own capacity of discrimination for your own work and that of others.
In faculty productions, student actors and designers work closely in collaboration with professional directors and designers who are also their teachers. In studio productions, students act as the directors and designers of record and are mentored and advised by teachers but not controlled by them. In the process of becoming autonomous artists, they collaborate with fellow students, some of whom they will bond artistically with for life.
Drama students are fortunate to enjoy the presence of Syracuse Stage in the complex. Not only are you able to attend one or many performances of every play, but upper-level acting and musical theater students are also permitted to perform in appropriate roles and to understudy the professional actors. (Syracuse Stage and the Department of Drama have successfully collaborated on productions that, under a University Resident Theatre Association contract, several department students are cast in leading and supporting roles and receive professional credit for the run of the productions.) The understudies are able to view the collaborative work of professional actors, directors, designers, and stage managers during rehearsals. Student designers, directors, and stage managers may participate as assistants to professional designers, directors, and stage managers.