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B.F.A. in Contemporary Theater


About the Program
Your Training
Curriculum Overview
Your Future
Your Teachers
Q&A with Faculty Member Christopher James Webb
Student Spotlight
Application Requirements

About the Program

The B.F.A. in Contemporary Theater is designed for the student whose interest in theater is multidisciplinary, entrepreneurial and fueled by the desire to create new, cutting-edge and collaborative works that inspire and resonate with today’s audiences. This ensemble-based and interdisciplinary program combines the artistic rigor of Boston Conservatory training, the intellectual stimulation of a strong academic core and the creative challenges of an Ensemble Performance Laboratory to nurture young artists to become versatile, bold, generous, compassionate and highly-skilled voices of the 21st-century theater.

Your Training

As members of an ensemble, students explore multiple roles in the collaborative creative process—performer, director/facilitator, researcher/writer, designer, producer—and train with renowned Boston Conservatory faculty members and guest artists from the most innovative ensemble theaters working today. The ensemble devising process is central to the program: students will devise, workshop, perform and tour their original works. The senior year Individual Exploration encourages students to immerse themselves in an area of their choice through internships and apprenticeships, independent research projects or specialized training.

Your Teachers

View all Theater Division faculty members here.

Your Future

Graduates of the program will be prepared to meet a wide range of opportunities in the 21st-century theater landscape: devising and performing with professional theater companies and ensembles; writing, producing and performing in new media formats; creating their own companies; directing community or youth-based theater initiatives; working in theater education, applying ensemble theater practices to social justice issues and organizations; furthering their training in M.A. or M.F.A. programs.

Q&A With Christopher James Webb

(Acting, Ensemble Performance Lab, Viewpoints)

Q. What is contemporary theater?
A. Contemporary theater is present; it's happening right now. It's a way of engaging in the world around us, reflecting on where we've come from and looking ahead to the future of our art.

Q. What is ensemble?
A. Ensemble is defined as a group of artists working towards a shared artistic goal. Ensemble is about the whole, as opposed to the singular performer. Ensemble is about allowing yourself to both affect and be affects by those around you.

Q. Why theater, now?
A. Why not? Theater creates dialogue. Theater is alive. It's a "hot" medium, as opposed to film or television. Theater is a communal experience. When the revolution happened in Russia, the churches were closed but the theaters remained open. This speaks to the lasting power that this singular event has on societies around the globe. It is the one medium that can combine every art form, and forces you be and breathe the same oxygen as your audience.

Q. What are you most passionate about?
A. I find that I'm most passionate about investigating questions that a writer/ensemble/artist poses. That's what drives my work—this endless search for an answer. And through that answer a connection to something or someone outside of myself.

Q. What’s your dream project?
A. I have a couple: playing Macbeth opposite my wife (actor Jessica Webb); creating a show or film around the early life and career of Orson Welles; spending time creating a new piece of theater in France.

Q. What or where is the most interesting place you've performed?
A. In graduate school my class and I created original solo movement/trapeze pieces inspired by The Song of Solomon. In Chicago I created a solo piece around the idea/mythology of Superman and performed it in an attic with a chair and three clip lights. Most recently I directed a production of EQUUS in a storefront in the south end with very little tech or set elements, and the smallest performance area.

Q. If you had to choose one word to describe your teaching style/philosophy, what would it be?
A. Love. I tell my students that every play/film/story we do or tell is a love story; it's our job to figure out what it is.

Q. If you could say one thing to a prospective student, what would you say?
A. Follow you heart, your gut and your head—in that order. If you do that, you'll never be lead astray.

Q. What skills will your students master in your class?
A. The ability to create on their own and as an ensemble; to create an environment that is free from condescension; to be free falling and leap without fear; to learn that failure is normal and essential to our work; to work through and with fear and failure; to come to our work with an open and receptive heart.

Q. What makes the Conservatory 'the' place to study contemporary theater?
A. We have the facilities, the faculty and the passion among our students to inspire and challenge all of us to create the theatre artists of the 21st century and beyond.

Q. Why do you love the Conservatory?
A. I've been here for a while now, and have loved seeing how we are bursting at the seams with students who are becoming their own agents in their art. We have more students now who want to take charge of their training and education, which inspires me each day. We have some of the best faculty, in some of the best spaces, working with some of the best students, creating some of the best work around.

Application Requirements

As part of the B.F.A. in Contemporary Theater application process, both an in-person individual audition and an in-person ensemble audition are required. Because of the ensemble nature of the program, we do not accept recorded auditions.

Auditions will be held in Boston, Chicago and San Francisco throughout January and February 2015.

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