In theater, we explore human nature in action: our history, dreams, desires, beliefs, loves, hopes and fears.
Theater at Occidental is designed to prepare our students, within the embrace of a liberal arts education, for successful careers in theater, film and television; while also providing unique and effective preparation for success in such fields as business, law, arts administration and education.
We offer our students a series of classes that enable them to develop sophistication as artists and scholars across a range of theater disciplines. Student actors pursue a foundation in American Stanislavski training, and advanced work in the psychology of performance and performing Shakespeare. Classes in auditioning, children’s theater, and acting for the camera enrich the acting education. Student designers have the opportunity to study scenic, lighting, and costume design from introductory through advanced courses; and to work closely with faculty mentors on professionally directed productions. For students pursuing theater technology, we provide classes ranging from technical production to theater engineering and architecture. Playwrights are nurtured first in the classroom, with their work often produced with professional directors in our New Play Festival. And our student directors all complete classroom work with projects in the beautiful Keck Theater.
A careful study of dramatic literature, attention to history, and investigation of the place of theater in the development and expression of culture inform all of our students’ work.
Our production program is the laboratory in which classroom learning is tested. During the school year, we produce four professionally directed productions: three on the main stage of Keck Theater (one every other year is a musical), the fourth a studio production designed for small or found spaces.
GUEST ARTISTS: OUR EXTENDED FAMILY
Drawing upon the Los Angeles theater and film communities, we engage a cadre of guest professionals each school year to work with and alongside our students. They direct in our New Play Festival and Keck productions, design, teach classes, lead workshops and offer public performances. An essential element in our students’ experience is working with our professional extended family.
THE OCCIDENTAL NEW PLAY FESTIVAL
For over thirty years, the Occidental New Play Festival has provided a unique opportunity for those student playwrights whose scripts are selected for production in the Keck Theater. Professional directors from the Los Angeles theater community work closely with the playwrights to prepare their work for a weekend of public readings and performances.
SUMMER: THE OCCIDENTAL CHILDREN’S THEATER
From early July through August, our children’s theater company delights Los Angeles children in our outdoor amphitheater and at local parks and schools. The company of current students and recent graduates, subsidized with a stipend, also teaches in our Summer Institute of Fun. Now in its 18th year, OCT is one of the most highly regarded children’s theaters in Southern California.
Occidental’s dance and movement courses are offered through our department. They range from ballet, modern, and social dance through Afro-Caribbean dance and Dunham technique. These classes help support a vibrant dance community at Occidental, and also, together with individual voice classes offered through the music department, provide valuable, and joyful, training for our acting students.
OPPORTUNITIES BEYOND THE CLASSROOM
Our Los Angeles location allows numbers of our students to pursue internships in film and television while at Occidental, while our close relationships with many Los Angeles theater companies provide a wide range of opportunities for internships and independent study in theater. We also encourage our students to enrich their perspectives of both art and the world around them through a variety of opportunities for Community Based Learning.
On campus, we have work/study positions available in areas such as Front of House (box office, house management and ushering) and Production (costume, shop and scene shop) through the Performing Arts Facilities organization and the departmental office.
Our alumni include leaders of major theater institutions such as Playwrights Horizon, the Center Theatre Group, the SITI Company and the Guthrie Theatre; Tony award-winning actors and designers; writers and producers working in theater, television and film; Equity stage managers; college and university professors as well as educators working in K-12; and many actors pursuing active and successful careers in theater, television and film.
- Phone: (323) 259-2771
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- Fax: (323) 341-4987