About the acting program
Oberlin's Theater Program provides a unique opportunity for the student interested in actor training. With a faculty of working theater professionals, students are guided through a rigorous sequence of technique classes designed to prepare students for graduate training and the pursuit of professional careers. Actor training at Oberlin is grounded in the "American method," textual analysis, and individualized attention to the physical instrument, giving students the necessary tools necessary to act in a wide variety of dramatic texts. Recognizing the collaborative nature of the theatrical event, the faculty strives to teach actors to assume a responsible, disciplined and informed role in the creation of meaningful theater. Through this practice of time-tested and proven methodologies, scores of Oberlin acting students have achieved remarkable success in the theater and entertainment industries. Oberlin Theater graduates can be found at many of the world's most prestigious theater companies, film and television studios and graduate training schools.
The fundamental core of the training is taught in two required courses: Acting 1 , which covers the fundamentals of American method acting and text analysis; and Acting 2: Scene Study focusing on crafting character and rehearsal techniques. Students who successfully complete these two fundamental courses may be eligible to continue their training through a sequence of advanced acting electives including Advanced Scene Study, Acting Shakespeare, Acting For The Camera, and Musical Theater Performance. As a complement to these studio classes, students are also encouraged to explore fundamental technique through such courses as Voice For Actors, Movement For Actors, Speech and Dialects For Actors, and Stage Combat.
Because of high demand, and in order to ensure a consistently high level of artistic skill, students must audition for admission into classes in this concentration. Class enrollments are kept small so that students receive the necessary individualized attention required in successful training.
Theater Program Season
The Theater and Dance Program (T&D) produces a Mainstage season in Hall Auditorium (500 seat proscenium theater) which includes three (3) faculty directed plays. Recent shows have ranged from such classics as Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, G. B. Shaw's Major Barbara, and Chekhov's Three Sisters to more contemporary work such as August Wilson's The Piano Lesson, Tony Kushner's A Bright Room Called Day, Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa, and Carol Churchill's Top Girls. Contemporary musicals, such as Assassins, Into the Woods, and The Wiz are presented about every other year. These Mainstage shows are professionally produced by the Theater program's staff designers and technicians with student assistance.
T&D also produces a full season in our 85 seat Little Theater, consisting of over half a dozen student-directed productions, including: Senior Directing projects; Oberlin Shorts (6 - 8 student written & directed one acts produced in rep during Winter Term); and the Directing Class One-Act Festival (presented at the end of the school year). Recent titles have included contemporary plays, such as The Pillowman, This is Our Youth, Torch Song Trilogy, Travesties, Six Degrees of Separation, Copenhagen, Streamers, For Colored Girls...; musicals, such as Falsettos, See What I Wanna See; more classical work, such as Tales from Ovid, , and Suddenly Last Summer; as well as The Crane Wife and Gaming, both student-written full length works. These shows are all student produced under the guidance of Theater faculty and staff advisors.
The Acting Faculty
Paul Moser, Associate Professor of Theater
- Introductory Acting
- Acting for the Camera
Matthew Wright, Associate Professor of Theater, Associate Program Director
- Advanced Scene Study (Ibsen, Chekhov, Williams, O'Neil, Contemporary)
- Musical Theater
Justin Emeka, Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater
- Advanced Scene Study
- Movement Training
Heather Anderson-Boll, Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater
- Introductory Acting
- Voice Training