The Theatre Program at MCLA develops innovative theatre artists prepared for careers in theatre and graduate study. In the intimate, culturally rich setting of the Berkshires, students hone their craft through intensive studio training and hands-on experience, within the context of their broader liberal arts education. Opportunities for practical experience abound, from courses in acting, directing, design and production to working alongside a faculty of talented professionals in our award-winning production season. On stage and in the classroom, theatre students at MCLA make theatre of the highest quality, as they explore the rich tradition of this unique, multi-disciplinary art form.
All MCLA students can take Theatre courses and participate in productions. For students who are serious about pursuing their interest in Theatre, the program offers several different degree options including:
Our theatre courses allow you to combine the best of both worlds: the artistic discipline and training of an intense studio program with the intellectual rigor and scholarly breadth of a liberal arts education. We offer more than 25 courses in acting, directing, design, production and theatre studies. In addition, we provide extensive hands-on opportunities for students to practice their craft, both independently and in collaboration with faculty and guest artists, in the program's award-winning Theatre Program season.
The Theatre Program’s production season includes at least 4 theatre productions a year, carefully selected to complement the curriculum and one another. Season roles are performed by students, with the occasional guest artists or faculty spotlight performer. Students also stage-manage all season productions, work running crew, build sets, hang lights, and build costumes. All theatre students are strongly encouraged to participate behind the scenes as well as onstage.
The Theatre Program season also features student-directed productions and offers design opportunities for students in every field. In addition, directing students serve as assistant directors and dramaturgs on our productions, and design students work closely with resident and guest artists as assistant designers.
We believe an organic connection exists between a well designed production season and the classroom. A diverse season provides students with a faculty mentored experience in professional theatre as well as exposure to a wide range of styles and forms. The Theatre Program season is a laboratory where students explore theatre’s many experiences in order to find where they excel.
The season typically features most or all of the following:
- At least one full-scale musical theatre production.
- Advanced Directing Workshop, showcasing a senior student director.
- A diverse and compelling selection of plays: dramas and comedies, international works, classics, modern pieces, and experimental productions of significant works.
In addition to offering experience producing plays, the production season offers outreach events such as panel discussions, audience talk-backs, and critical response sessions where students and faculty can engage across campus in valuable critical discussion of methods, performance, styles, etc. These events connect across the curriculum and are offered, when appropriate, in partnership with MCLA’s Undergraduate Research Conference.
The Theatre Program features internship and future employment opportunities enhanced through MCLA’s deep connections with the diverse and world class cultural institutions of the Berkshires. MCLA Theatre students have completed internships at:
- Barrington Stage
- Berkshire Theatre Group
- Berkshire Fringe
- Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
- Hampshire Shakespeare
- Shakespeare and Company
- Williamstown Theatre Festival
The program also features a Youth Theatre Program in partnership with Williamstown Youth Center where students have the opportunity to serve as Teaching Associates, leading theatre based classes to local elementary and teen-aged children.