The theater program at Lang integrates the study of dramatic literature, history, and theory with performance and production. Mindful that theater is a medium that has allowed artists and audiences to grapple with humanity's most pressing questions, the Lang theater program offers a rigorous, interdisciplinary approach to acting, directing, playwriting, and new media. Students in theater courses delve into scholarship, theory, and practice while honoring The New School's ongoing commitment to social, political, and cultural inquiry. Students explore a diverse range of performance opportunities including main stage productions directed by faculty and New York professionals. The Art Work speaker series brings important artists from all disciplines to Lang to discuss their work and practice with our students. Civic engagement is an integral part of the theater program and many students choose to serve in the community through the I Have A Dream Foundation drama program. Internships with theaters, film production companies, and arts organization offer students both hands-on learning and vital connections to the professional world. Students initiate numerous performance events in which they offer their colleagues the opportunity to write, act, and direct. Alumni events promote Lang graduates, and an arrangement with the legendary LaMama Theater provides a venue for Lang alumni to perform for their peers and community while offering the possibility of recognition by industry professionals.
History of Theater at The New School
The New School has a distinguished legacy not only as a center of progressive education but also as a champion of interdisciplinary theater artists for more than half a century. In 1940, refugee German theater director Erwin Piscator, a pioneer of the use of media in theater and of documentary theater, established his now-legendary Dramatic Workshop at The New School. It attracted actors, playwrights, and directors who went on to illustrious careers in the American theater, including Marlon Brando and Tennessee Williams. The legendary Group Theatre also offered classes at the workshop. In the late 1950s, musician John Cage taught some of the most influential classes in American performing arts education, inspiring new performance, dance, media, music, and poetics in the downtown New York art scene. More recently, the late performance poet Sekou Sundiata brought new forms of performance art and world cultural awareness to Lang.