Directing, Playwriting, Production at UArts

Theater - Directing, Playwriting & Production (BFA)

If you're a creative, self-starting collaborator with an interest in theater making and management, the Directing, Playwriting and Production program at University of the Arts' Ira Brind School of Theater Arts is the best place for you.

In fact, we offer the only undergraduate program in the U.S. that combines directing, new play development, stage management and producing in one major.

In 2021, UArts was named one of the top performing arts colleges in the US by the College Gazette.

Students in the Brind School's Directing, Playwriting and Production program act as producers and artistic leaders of Equinox, an annual new play festival that brings together student producers, playwrights, performers, directors, stage managers and designers for a collaborative production—without the assistance of faculty. Our partnership with Philadelphia’s Merriam Theater gives students experience with large-scale productions that operate under union rules.

Student Spotlight

Monique Chambers Headshot
Monique Chambers

'21

Theater - Directing, Playwriting & Production (BFA)
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Theater shot from 'Edison' directed by Joshua Logan Walker at UArts
Joshua Logan Walker

'17

Theater - Directing, Playwriting & Production (BFA)
Toured his original play Edison to Europe
Dante Green photo
Dante Green

BFA '19

Theater - Directing, Playwriting & Production (BFA)
Hometown: Bloomsburg, PA

Experience the passion and creativity of young artists on the threshold of professional success. See this season's lineup of shows.

On Stage

The talented faculty who will lead your courses are trained professionals in a variety of areas. You'll learn how to use your voice for maximum impact on stage from gifted public speakers. You'll understand the ins and outs of set design from designers of top Philadelphia performances. Meet the faculty in the Directing, Playwriting and Production program.

Faculty Spotlight

Amy Dugas Brown head shot
Amy Dugas Brown

Theater - Directing, Playwriting & Production (BFA)
Program Director; 10 seasons as associate artistic director at the award-winning Arden Theatre Company
Justin Jain black and white headshot
Justin Jain

Theater - Directing, Playwriting & Production (BFA)
Founder of Berserker Residents, a groundbreaking theater company
David Jacobi head shot
David Jacobi

Theater - Directing, Playwriting & Production (BFA)
Holland New Voices Award, Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences Award, Relentless Award

About the Curriculum

Sample Courses in the Directing, Playwriting and Production Major

The Directing, Playwriting and Production curriculum trains the generative theater artist, who wants to write, direct, produce and/or manage theater. The DPP Program builds future theater leaders who have rigor, imagination, and a deep and diverse skill set. All students take three core classes that focus on how to lead through collaboration (Theater Collaboration, Director/Design Collaboration, Senior Project II). They all take classes in each core discipline (Directing, Playwriting, Producing, Stage Management), and are required deepen in at least one of those disciplines. Often, students take all four levels of two of the above disciplines, making them rounded theater artists that are ready for a broad range of work after graduation. In additional to rigorous artistic development, they are also all taught financial leadership and management skills. Artistic innovation and entrepreneurship are at the core of this curriculum.

Graduates of the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in Directing, Playwriting and Production will

  • make work that exhibits imagination and a strong personal point of view.

  • engage and connect as a citizen-artist across communities and ideas.

  • be aware of how the theater artist serves society and the breadth of opportunity available to engage in that service; exhibiting curiosity and empathy supported by a knowledge of the history of their art and the humanities.

  • possess craft, technique, and professionalism.

  • assess their own work and that of others, to manage time and resources, to read and analyze plays and source material and to innovate, collaborate and iterate in the service of theater-making under a wide range of conditions.

  • be adaptable.

  • be flexible and fearless in their integration of studio and classroom techniques to meet the varying demands of dramatic forms and theatrical styles.

  • effectively analyze scripts and source material, apply research, and make specific choices about world building that serve both the needs of the script and the artist’s imaginative impulse.

  • demonstrate the ability to lead a collaboration, specifically communicating and effectively realizing their artistic goals and aesthetic.

  • display the ability to work deeply and adroitly in at least one of the three component disciplines (directing, playwriting, and/or management) in the service of initiating an artistic project, building it from the ground up and seeing it through to completion.

  • demonstrate an understanding of theater producing models, both nonprofit and commercial, as well as theater company structures and organizational functions.

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First Year

Collaboration in Theater
Stagecraft
Suvery of Theater Arts
Thinking Through Science
Writing I Placement
Free elective
Script Analysis
Intro to Practicum
Approaches to Acting
Directing I
Stage Management I
Writing II Placement

Second Year

Exploration of Style
Approaches to Movement
Playwriting I
Intro to Practicum
Theater History I
Critical Studies (your choice)
Theater Management
Theater History II
Directing II, Playwriting II or Stage Management II
Free elective (your choice)

Third Year

Directing III, Playwriting III or Advanced Management III
Production Practicum
Director/Design Collaboration
Set Design, Lighting Design, Costume Design or Projection Design
Theater Management
Critical Studies (your choice)
Director's Workshop, Playwrights' Workshop or Contracts & the Law
Production Practicum
Senior Project I
New Play Workshop
Critical Studies (your choice)
Free elective (your choice)

Fourth Year

I Am My Own Company
Internship
Senior Project II
Critical Studies (your choice)
Free elective (your choice)
Business of Theater
Internship
Critical Studies (your choice)
Free elective (your choice)

Explore the Full Curriculum

Students in the program are required to complete an internship, and many do so at one of the region’s many theatrical companies such as the Arden Theatre Company, InterAct, the Philadelphia Theatre Company, Philadelphia Young Playwrights, the Wilma Theater and the Walnut Street Theatre.

Alumni & Careers

Elana Boulos
Elana Boulos

BFA 2009

Theater - Directing, Playwriting & Production (BFA)
Cast member of the renowned Chicago-based Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Elaina DiMonaco head shot
Elaina Di Monaco

BFA '13

Theater - Directing, Playwriting & Production (BFA)
Professional director, Fringe Festival; resident dramaturg, PlayPenn
Jacob Jarrett photo
Jacob Jarrett

BFA '17

Theater - Directing, Playwriting & Production (BFA)
Music-directed ’Noise,’ upcoming new musical ’Wonder Boi’

The Ira Brind School of Theater Arts is committed to developing the individual artistic voice of each student: You will develop both skills and an expanded point of view. Further, you’ll graduate a fearless, innovative and adaptable creator, ready to engage the medium and the world with a strong sense of yourself as a citizen artist.

The Brind School is tailored for those who want to head to Broadway and those who are intent on challenging the status quo. Our faculty includes 60 instructors, the majority of which are current theater professionals. Additionally, alumni regularly return to UArts as educators and hold central positions in Philadelphia’s theater culture, extending your creative community far beyond campus. 

We celebrate acting instruction as the focal point of training in both the Acting and Musical Theater programs, and emphasize vocal and physical training as principal support areas. Our Theater Design and Technology and Directing, Playwriting and Production programs also focus on technique supported by extended collaborative learning opportunities in production. Opportunities abound for master classes, guest speakers, internships and apprenticeships with both nationally prominent guest artists and Philadelphia’s many professional companies.

Through its dozens of performances each year–including the annual Polyphone Festival of New and Emerging Musicals–the Brind School is both a school and a producing company. We present an annual season of work which includes projects led by students, faculty and renowned guest artists from the national and local theater scenes. Auditions are open to all Brind School students.

Venues and Learning and Practice Spaces 

The Brind School is primarily located in the Terra Building at 211 S. Broad St. Spaces include seminar rooms and classrooms, as well as studios for individual voice, speech, dance, movement and acting instruction. 

We also utilize five public performance venues.

  • ArtsBank Theater: 230 seats

  • Laurie Beechman Cabaret Theater: 60 seats

  • Caplan Recital Hall: 200 seats

  • Caplan Studio Theater: 90 seats

  • Levitt Auditorium: 700 seats

A production shop, a costume shop, a design studio, a lighting lab, areas for both property and costume stock, and a fully equipped video editing studio round out the comprehensive theater experience Brind provides.

How to Apply

UArts offers recommended priority deadlines; students who apply and submit all required materials by the priority deadline will receive first consideration for scholarship aid from UArts. Applications received after the priority deadline will be reviewed on a rolling, space-available basis. 

International students requiring an F-1 visa for study in the U.S. might be subject to earlier deadlines to provide time for completion of the visa process. Contact Admissions for guidance if you are an international student who wishes to apply after the priority deadline.

Spring 2022 priority deadline: Dec. 4, 2021

Fall 2022 priority deadline: Feb. 15, 2022

We cannot accept spring 2022 applications after Jan. 10, 2022, and cannot accept fall 2022 applications after Aug. 12, 2022.

The following materials are required for your application.

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A completed application for admission

Start or resume your application. 

  • The application includes two required short-answer questions: What excites you about UArts? What inspires you?

A nonrefundable $60 application fee
  • If you qualify for a fee waiver from NACAC, CollegeBoard, UArts or another source, indicate that on your application. If the cost of the application fee is a barrier, contact Admissions to request a fee waiver code.

Official high school transcript

  • Official transcripts must be sent directly from your school by mail, email or a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

  • International transcript requirements 

  • Transfer student transcript requirements

    • High school transcripts may be waived for transfer applicants who have completed a minimum of 24 credits of college-level coursework, including a minimum of 18 academic, non-studio credits.

    • Official college(s)

      • Official transcripts must be sent directly from all the colleges you have attended by mail, email or a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

      • If you’ve attended college outside the U.S., you are required to have an official course-by-course evaluation of your college coursework sent to UArts. Additional guidelines for international transcripts are available

Your audition/interview
International applicants must submit proof of English proficiency.
Optional letters of recommendation
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors are optional and may be submitted by the recommender via email to undergradcredentials@uarts.edu or by your high school through a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

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