This week’s featured program is the Drama Major, Dramaturgy Option at Carnegie Mellon University. From the website:
The dramaturgy curriculum provides students with a strong background in theatrical practice, dramatic literature, and humanities. A core course of study focusing on building the skills for production dramaturgy is augmented by an English minor along with directed electives in history, foreign languages, and other non-drama courses to build a firm foundation in both theater and the liberal arts.
Students in the dramaturgy option also cultivate their intellectual prowess, analytical skills, and artistic passions through integral involvement in the School of Drama’s productions. Dramaturgy students work with directors, playwrights, designers, managers, and actors in the conception and execution of productions, bringing their knowledge of theater history and dramatic structure, their skills in script analysis and contextual research, and their capacity to engage in collaborative conversation into the rehearsal room. These skills also serve dramaturgy students as they practice the art of audience outreach and engagement.
The Dramaturgy Option specializes in new play development, production support, critical writing, audience outreach, season planning, and artistic leadership. The wide ranging curriculum makes it an excellent program of study for students interested in theater history and theory, playwriting, and cultural studies.
Students pursuing the Dramaturgy Option within the BFA Drama Major take a variety of drama courses both within dramaturgy and in other disciplines within the field. Note that students in the major must minor in English. Students also take a 1-credit Dramaturgy Forum course every semester:
Programmed and taught by senior students in the Dramaturgy program, this course is required for all Dramaturgy majors and meets once per week to discuss issues and topics of significance to the dramaturgy community.
Two Interesting Courses
54-256 Dramaturgy 3: New Play Dramaturgy
This course focuses on the dramaturg’s collaborative relationship with a playwright during the creation of a new play. During the first mini, dramaturgs work on close reading of multiple drafts of a new play, tracking changes and assessing their impact, and developing healthy collaborative processes. During the second mini, playwrights join the course; each dramaturg is matched with a playwright and puts those new skills into practice.
54-587 Dramaturgy Production
This course provides dramaturgy students with the opportunity to engage in production dramaturgy on a School of Drama production. Expectations and tasks for these courses will be determined in consultation with the advisor on the production, and may include, but are not limited to: script preparation and analysis, rehearsal dramaturgy, gathering and curating of materials for the director, designers, and actors, lobby display curation and creation, the writing of a program note, audience outreach, facilitation of talkbacks and pre-show discussions, and other dramaturgical tasks/activities as needed for a particular production.
Unique Opportunities within the Major
In addition to opportunities to work collaboratively on productions at Carnegie Mellon University, dramaturgy:
Students are required to complete an internship through one of the many partner theaters and schools with which the School of Drama is connected. Students are also encouraged to pursue a semester abroad.
Sample Similar Programs
- DePaul University: Dramaturgy/Criticism Major
- Rutgers University: Theatre Studies: Playwriting, Directing, & Dramaturgy Major
- University of Oklahoma: Dramaturgy Major