The arts of live performance have shaped the civic, religious, and ideological lives of human beings throughout history. In the globalized present, their capacity for shaping events and encounters between actual individuals in real space and time gives them unique opportunities for creating understanding and exchange between and beyond traditions. Students majoring in Theater at NYU Abu Dhabi explore these opportunities through rigorous academic study of world dramatic literature, theater history, and performance traditions as well as by training and experimenting in the collaborative techniques of theatrical expression, not only acting and writing but also costume, stage, and lighting design. The program balances a high regard for performance traditions with a deep commitment to experimentation, risk taking, and invention.

Today, theater-making happens at the multiple intersections of individual stories, world literature, global culture, changing technology, and interdisciplinary theory. By thinking critically about the past, present, and future of artistic and cultural performance, and by studying the cultural rituals, personal expressions, public roles, and political perspectives that make up the canon of world performance, students learn to locate their own relationship to performance — be it scholarly, artistic, or a combination of the two — in an intellectually fertile and challenging environment.

As an intensely collaborative and inherently local art form, the theater offers a way of creating community. As students come together to work cooperatively on topics of shared interest, they develop interpersonal skills and social values that are perhaps more important today, in our often impersonal world, than ever before. Discipline, teamwork, communication, creative expression, and collective problem-solving: these skills transform the lives of individuals and lay the foundations for successful careers not only in the performing arts but in many other fields as well, such as advertising, arts administration, broadcasting, education, law, management, politics, or social work.

The Theater program at NYUAD welcomes majors and non-majors to join us in creating a lively performance program for the college community, with events ranging from full productions to informal readings, solo performances, student-directed plays, and site-specific events on campus and beyond.


11 courses, distributed as follows:

  • 2 Required Courses: Making Theater; Thinking Theater
  • 6 Electives: at least 1 from History, Theory, Criticism & 1 from Arts Practice
  • 1 Arts and Humanities Colloquium
  • 2 Capstone Project