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Drama

Overview

The Drama program at Hofstra prepares students for careers in acting, directing, design and production in the competitive worlds of theater, film and television. Hofstra’s Drama program has trained Oscar, Emmy and Tony Award winning and nominated actors and artists - among them Francis Ford Coppola, Madeline Kahn, Phil Rosenthal and Joe Morton. Students can pursue a general degree in Drama or may apply to one of our specialized BFA programs in acting, set, costume or lighting design, stage management, and directing. We also offer a competitive minor in Musical Theater Performance.

Every year the department produces a full season of professional-level productions, as well as a twice-yearly Student Repertory of student-directed plays. All drama students may audition to appear in these productions; students in the Production BFA get regular assignments to stage manage, design and assistant direct with our distinguished roster of faculty and guest artist directors.

One of the highlights of the academic year is the annual Hofstra Shakespeare Festival, America’s longest continuously-running Shakespeare Festival. On alternate years, the Festival is performed on the Hofstra Globe Stage. Inaugurated in spring 2017, it is the most authentic replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in the US. The experience of working on this historic stage is transformational.

Students benefit immensely from Hofstra’s close proximity to New York City and all of its cultural offerings, with numerous faculty-supervised trips to plays, musical theater, the opera and other arts performances. Every year the department hosts world class professional directors, designers and choreographers who work directly with students on departmental productions.

Curriculum

The BA in Drama is ideal for students who want a well-rounded education in all aspects of theater, either onstage or behind the scenes.  First-year students take courses such as The New York Theater Experience, Play Analysis, Play Production and Acting or Theater Design Fundamentals. The BA also gives interested students plenty of opportunities to double major, pursue academic-year internships or take advantage of exciting study abroad programs. BA students can double-major or double-minor in a wide array of studies, such as education, psychology, political science, creative writing, English literature, marketing, computer science, film and TV, dance, musical theater and fine arts.

Students who want to fully immerse themselves in the study of performance apply for the BFA in Theater Arts - Performance in fall of their sophomore year. This pre-professional track doesn’t leave time for a dual major in another discipline, but instead offers a wide variety of performance skills classes not available to BA students. BFA actors take on-camera acting classes at the School of Film & Television in New York City, and graduating BFA actors are featured in an industry showcase in New York City for agents, managers and casting directors.

The BFA in Production is for students who want to specialize in an area of design   - scenic, costume, lighting, or sound - directing, stage management, or technical direction. Students interested in this 4-year BFA program are required to submit a resume and portfolio upon admission to Hofstra. By the time they graduate, Production BFA students will have served in major roles in at least two departmental productions – as lead designer, stage manager, or assistant director – and leave Hofstra with a professional-level portfolio of their work. BFA Directing students also direct two plays in the Student Rep before graduation.

Up-to-date information about required classes and more is available in the Hofstra Bulletin.

BA in Drama Requirements

Recent Alumni Outcomes

Many outstanding Hofstra Drama program alumni have built successful careers in film, television, and theater.

Recent alumni are working at a wide range of prestigious companies and organizations, including:

  • American Ballet Theatre
  • Ballet Austin
  • Barrington Stage Company
  • Boston Ballet
  • CBS/ CBS News
  • Joyce Theater
  • Live Nation Entertainment, Inc.
  • NY International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC)
  • Second Stage Theater Company
  • Walt Disney Company

Our recent alumni have also gone on to advanced degree programs at institutions such as:

  • California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)
  • Columbia University
  • CUNY City College
  • CUNY Hunter College
  • Hofstra University
  • Kent State University
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Yale School of Drama
92% report employment/grad school or both
87% are employed within six months
$40K median salary*

(These numbers represent outcomes for the School of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts. For information about outcomes in specific programs, click on the More Info button below.

Get More Info on Program Outcomes
*Represents median salary for the first year following graduation

What You'll Learn

Drama Teacher teaching student

You will have exciting opportunities to hone your craft onstage and behind the scenes. Specifically, you will:

  • develop fundamental, practical skills that prepare them for employment or graduate study in theater
  • perform in a wide variety of campus productions
  • critically and aesthetically analyze works in dramatic literature and the performing arts
  • comprehend and analyze historical movements in dramatic literature and practice
  • demonstrate a proficiency in dramatic literature, stage history and theatre aesthetics
  • learn proficiency in oral communication and dramaturgy
  • learn how to collaborate and be a productive part of a creative team

Experience

Students performing

One of the highlights of the undergraduate program is Drama 003 - “The New York Theater Experience,” in which students attend various New York City productions, including Broadway plays and musicals.

Every fall the department produces a musical worthy of the Broadway stage. Past productions have included Gypsy, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Hair, and Fiddler on the Roof. Students also have the opportunity to perform in other plays, including the annual Shakespeare Festival on Hofstra’s new, meticulous replica of London’s famous Globe Theatre (where Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed) or in a one-hour adaptation of a Shakespearean play that tours local high schools. In addition to that ambitious repertoire, the Drama department produces a twice-a-year Student Rep, featuring the work of undergraduate directors, choreographers and playwrights.

On-campus theater clubs, such as Masquerade Musical Theatre Co., multiply the performance and production opportunities. Student operated, Masquerade strives to produce two quality musical productions a year. Another club, Spectrum, was launched by one of Hofstra’s most famous alumni, Francis Ford Coppola, in 1959. Each semester Spectrum produces a main stage show, a traveling children's show, and a night of experimental works. And not to be forgotten, Tequila Mockingbird is Hofstra’s first improv troupe.

Students are encouraged to do one or more internships during their time at Hofstra. Recent students have completed internships at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Group, CBS / CBS News, Galway Fringe Festival, NYC Ballet, Roc Nation, Summer Theater of New Canaan, Theatre Development Fund, and the Williamstown Theater Festival.

Top Internships:

  • Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
  • American Ballet Theatre
  • Berkshire Theatre Group
  • CBS / CBS News
  • Galway Fringe Festival
  • NYC Ballet
  • Roc Nation
  • Summer Theater of New Canaan
  • Theatre Development Fund
  • Williamstown Theater Festival

Facilities

Little Shop of Horrors

Drama students use many performing spaces across the campus to present their productions, including the newly-renovated Toni and Martin Sosnoff Theater at the John Cranford Adams Playhouse, an 1,105 seat proscenium theater, and the Joan and Donald Schaeffer Black Box Theater, a state-of-the-art facility that features fully-flexible seating and industry-standard multimedia capabilities. The Spiegel Theater is an intimate chamber theater that is home to Hofstra’s Drama clubs, as well as a working classroom for directing and scene-study classes.

In 2017 the Drama program unveiled the Hofstra Globe Stage, the most historically accurate reproduction in the United States. The stage is used for the University’s Shakespeare Festival, Hofstra’s longest-running tradition. To design Hofstra’s Globe, Hofstra Drama Professor David Henderson traveled abroad to consult with the archivists and design staff of Shakespeare’s Globe in London; he is the only American college professor to have studied the original plans.

In addition, Hofstra is home to three additional theaters which host hundreds of diverse performances, scholarly and cultural events that enhance the creative life of the University throughout the academic year.

 

Meet Maya Carter

BFA Performance Arts major Maya Carter fell in love with Hofstra during her first visit to campus, when she laid eyes on the John Cranford Adams Playhouse set up for the annual Shakespeare Festival. She co-chaired Spectrum Players and was a member of the national theater honor society, Alpha Psi Omega.


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