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B.F.A in Contemporary Theater

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 About the Program
Curriculum Overview
Your Training
Your Future
Your Teachers
Q&A with faculty member, Christopher James Webb
Your Classmates
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

The Boston Conservatory B.F.A. in Contemporary Theater is a rigorous training program designed to develop bold and inventive theater makers who will become strong contributors to the 21st century theater landscape. Grounded in actor training and ensemble theater techniques, our program gives you the foundations to become a master of your craft, and the freedom to create and follow your own artistic vision.

The ensemble devising process is central to our program, and throughout the four years collaborative composition techniques and practices play a major role in your training. Auto Cours, for example, is a student-directed group composition course where you will present bi-weekly showings of your ensemble work and receive feedback from faculty. Additionally, each semester you will participate in Ensemble Performance Lab (EPL), a course where you will work with renowned Conservatory faculty members and guest artists from groundbreaking ensemble theater companies to create new collaborative works with your peers. Because performance skills are an integral part of your training, you will perform for a public audience at the conclusion of each semester of EPL.

Your studies in the first and second year are focused on building a strong theater foundation with a sequence of studio courses in acting, movement, voice and contact improvisation, as well as composition courses in directing and theater and community engagement, and a year-long course in stagecraft and design.
In your third and fourth year, you have the opportunity to concentrate in advanced acting techniques, taking courses such as stage combat, period styles, clowning and advanced Shakespeare. You may also choose to concentrate in theater and media/technology, playwriting, directing, or theater and community engagement.

To round out your artistic training, you will take courses designed to build your entrepreneurial skills with a particular focus on preparation and training for the junior summer tour.

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.

Your Teachers

View all Theater Division faculty members here.

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 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.

Your Classmates 

Victoria Capraro (B.F.A. '19, contemporary theater) is an Actor/Facilitator with Boston-based Theater Offensive’s True Colors Creative Action Crew, a touring theater group who used theatrical and social justice approaches to share the concerns, joys, and resiliency of LGBTQ people through interactive performance.


Jordan Palmer (B.F.A. '19, contemporary theater)  was awarded a 9 week Acting Internship with Opera House Arts/The Stonington Opera House in Deer Isle, ME, where he will perform in Julius Caesar and provide production support for Mr Burns: A Post-Electric Play.


Jessica Swanson's (B.F.A. '19, contemporary theater) theater company, AnyStage Theater, is taking their new show Amelia Earhart... IN SPACE! to Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, DC in July. 




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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