The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Purchase College offers conservatory training in the master-apprentice tradition for a limited number of highly gifted students. With a faculty drawn from the ranks of the professional theatre world, your studies will be demanding and intensive. We offer incomparable professional training in acting and theatre design/technology. These Conservatory programs sustain a high level of expectation with an eye continually trained on the realities. Not many colleges can offer you this kind of undergraduate education. As one of four member schools in the Consortium of Professional Theatre Training Programs, Purchase is one of a handful of colleges in the world capable of training artists at this level. If you have the talent, drive, and commitment to succeed, we welcome your application.
For students who want a broader exposure to the liberal arts, the Conservatory of Theatre Arts also offers two BA degree programs. In the playwriting and screenwriting major, students learn to write for both the stage and the screen in courses taught by industry professionals, with plenty of room to explore other interests. The theatre and performance major is designed for the intellectually curious and creative student whose interests, while including traditional theatre, extend into making new and cutting-edge theatrical and interdisciplinary work. The program is also designed to attract students who possess an entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to creatively address the challenges of mounting exciting work with limited resources.
Quality of program and faculty, of course, but also location. We are just 35 minutes from New York City, with easy access by train.
For aspiring theatre professionals, this is a fantastic place to be.
We are just one conservatory on a campus that boasts three professional performing arts conservatories, a critically acclaimed School of Art+Design, and a top-flight School of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Purchase College offers you the camaraderie, ease, and intellectual variety of living on a 500-acre college campus where the arts take center stage.
With a total enrollment of just 70 matriculated students, the Acting Program provides a small and supportive, yet disciplined and demanding environment for aspiring actors. The actor's academic schedule is rigorous in every way. In a typical week you will work directly with faculty for 27 to 40 hours and spend a comparable amount of time in preparation for class. Classes typically begin at 8:00 in the morning, and rehearsal time might stretch until 11:00 at night.
Professional training, professional expectations
As a member of an acting company with professional standards, you will be subject to bi-semester review by the faculty. The review not only considers your coursework, but assesses your fitness for professional work and your artistic potential. Your first two years of study in the Conservatory are considered a trial period. Similarly, continuation into the third and fourth-year company is based on faculty evaluation of your work.
Work on productions right from the start
As a freshman in the Theatre Design/Technology Program, you will take part in a select, exploratory common program stressing fundamental coursework. You will also be assigned tasks on actual productions. At the end of freshman and sophomore years, your progress will be evaluated and you may be invited to continue your studies at the advanced level in one of the six concentrations. You will then move into a highly structured sequential training with continued close mentoring and faculty evaluation.
With the four-theatre Performing Arts Center as your laboratory and a full season of actual productions on which to work, you will become a part of the professional theatre world right from the start. No other campus in America offers the depth and intensity, facilities or faculty you will find at Purchase College. Your technical and artistic skillls will flourish under the guidance of a faculty of working theatre professionals.
After the freshman year, the following concentrations are available:
* scenic design
* costume design
* lighting design
* costume technology
* stage management
* technical direction/production management
Playwriting and Screenwriting
As a playwriting and screenwriting major, you will learn to write for both the stage and the screen. The program will also help you to develop a sophisticated eye and gain a deeper understanding of the art and craft involved in making theatre and film. The College’s proximity to New York City provides a distinct advantage: you will be taught by industry professionals and have access to theatre, film, and television production facilities for your studies and internships. And, because playwriting and screenwriting are performance arts, you will be encouraged to perform your work in front of an audience as much possible. In your final year, you will work with a faculty mentor to develop a substantial senior project: a play, screenplay, teleplay, or documentary script.
Theatre and Performance
As a theatre and performance major, you will study what theatre and performance art has been, explore what it is now, and think about what it might be. Our students acquire knowledge of world theatre and performance and often choose to experiment with their own creativity as performers, directors, and playwrights. You may audition for and work backstage on student- and faculty-directed productions and may eventually choose to write or direct your own. Students who participate onstage or behind the scenes can apply to receive independent-study credits. There are also opportunities for advanced theatre and performance students to work as dramaturges and assistant directors during the acting program’s theatre season.
The Performing Arts Center
The Performing Arts Center provides our students with a state-of-the-art laboratory in which to perfect their craft. The Center houses four superb theatres with performance spaces ranging in seating sizes from 200 to almost 1,400.
The Performing Arts Center supplements the educational experience with lectures, discussions, open rehearsals, workshops, and master classes with professional artists and companies.
Conservatory students also get hands-on training in The Center's sophisticated production support facilities—electrical, audio, paint, scene, costume, and prop shops.
For more information, please visit the Conservatory of Theatre Arts site.
Danny Glover and Felix Justice in "An Evening with Langston & Martin"
Irene Worth in "A portrait of Edith Wharton"
"Once on This Island"
Sherry Glasser in "Family Secrets"
Lawrence Luckenbill in "Lyndon"
Brin Bedford in "The lunatic, The Lover and The Poet"
Lex Deux Mondes in "Promised Land"
Arts Threshold in "The Guise"
Jean Stapleton in "The Italian Lesson"
The Negro Ensemble
The Suzuki Company of Toga in "Tale of Lear"
The Moscow Studio Theatre in "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme"