Dramaturgy and Theater Studies Program

About Dramaturgy and Theater Studies

The dramaturgy program provides practical and academic training for literary directors, dramaturgs, playwrights, and theater critics. The program is both individual and flexible. Classes are small and students complement class work by participating in the professional life of the American Repertory Theater. Courses are taught by the dramaturgs and artistic staff of the A.R.T. as well as leading scholars and critics in Moscow, whose professional experience provides an ideal bridge between the worlds of academic study and theatrical practice. Students work on a wide range of productions. They play an active role in the daily life of the theater: assisting directors, writing articles for the theater’s journal, delivering pre and post show talks, preparing program notes for A.R.T. and A.R.T. Institute productions, evaluating new scripts, and participating in the development of new plays. Working with some of the world’s most exciting directors, students become familiar with a wide range of theatrical styles and are encouraged to translate, adapt, and write dramatic texts. In Cambridge, students spend mornings in class and afternoons in rehearsal for Institute and A.R.T. productions.

Given the broad-based natured of their training, our students have gone on to careers in dramaturgy, playwriting, academia, film and theater script development, theater education, artisitic and academic administration, producing, literary and talent management, and theater criticism. Dramaturgy students also have opportunities to serve as paid Teaching Assistants for Theater, Dance, and Media courses at Harvard University. Students have the opportunity to audit lecture courses at Harvard University as well. Students complement their academic study with intensive practical work, including dramaturgical support of productions of the Institute, American Studio of the Moscow Art Theater School, and the A.R.T. .  

The Moscow Experience

In Moscow, students are taught by Russian dramaturgs and critics and assist in the development of Institute productions. Students also have an opportunity to attend numerous productions by Russian and foreign troupes. With hundreds of theaters and important arts festivals, Moscow offers students an unparalleled opportunity to round out their education by experiencing great theater every night. Our students apply immediately what they learn in classes in the context of two world-renowned theaters.


To earn the Master of Liberal Arts degree, students must write a thesis on an aspect of dramatic literature, history, or practice. In some cases, an original play or a new translation of a foreign play will be accepted as a thesis, but it must include a critical introduction.

Some of the required courses dramaturgy students take over their two years of graduate study include:

Dramatic Structure
Theories of Representation
Dramatic Literature & Theater History
Practical Dramaturgy
The History of Set Design
New Play Development
Russian Language & Culture 
The History of Soviet & Russian Cinema
19th and 20th-Century Russian Literature
The History of Russian Art & Architecture
Chekhov, Stanislavsky, and the Moscow Art Theater
Translation & Adaptation
Writing for Publication 
Public Speaking
19th and 20th-Century Russian & European Theater
The Rise of the Institutional American Theater
The History of Dramatic Criticism
American Musical Theater
American Drama

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