Theater and performance have shaped the civic, religious, and ideological lives of human beings throughout history. Plays and performances do not represent only what we know and what we have done; they are also tools that can demonstrate the possibility of new worlds, new modes of social interaction, and how we might revise our relationship to the past.
The NYUAD theater program engages in the practice and study of theater and performance to critically evaluate and demonstrate historic and contemporary social and cultural relations across the globe. Embedded as it is in our global network, the major uses global theater and performance practices to imagine and exhibit ways to enact these relations differently — and hopefully, for the better — believing when enacted, plays and performances are events that transform all its participants.
An NYU Abu Dhabi theater major studies the world through the lens of theater and performance. Our majors achieve fluency in the long-storied practices of physical theater developed by master practitioners who are grounded in a variety of performance traditions and methods. As performers, directors, playwrights, designers, and dramaturgs, they employ that rigorous physical training to experiment with modes devising and staging performances that reflect the multiplicity of post-modern experience. Theater majors are expected to immerse themselves in the study of historical, contemporary plays, and theories of artistic performance. These have transformed how we express our social, romantic, and kinship arrangements, politics laws, ethics, cosmologies and myths, and the ever-changing ways that we view and experience ourselves as biological, material, and virtual matter.
Theater and performance are collaborative arts at NYUAD. These experiences happen in many ways: in practice-based classes and in scholarly seminars, in apprenticeships with professional companies in residence, as students host visiting artists, as collaborators on faculty research projects, by generating extra-curricular experimental performances and staged readings and, in their senior year, by producing a sustained and fully developed theater Capstone project. Theater students learn teamwork, discipline, leadership, effective modes of creative expression, improvisation, adaptability, and collective problem-solving, as well as interpretive and textual analysis. All these are critical skills necessary for a sustained career in the arts and which are transferable to many careers in the humanities and social sciences.
The Theater program at NYUAD welcomes majors and non-majors to join us in creating a thriving 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.
The concentration in Theater is open to all NYUAD students and offers the opportunity to explore the history, theory, and practice of theater and performance. The study of this ancient, universal, and multifaceted art form illuminates the power of the imagination in engaging with and shaping the political and spiritual lives of individuals and cultures. The concentration in Theater is designed to be combined with a major in another discipline and to develop the student’s capacity for intellectual and creative risk-taking in the pursuit of knowledge. The expressive and interpretive skills developed in working with dramatic material make the concentration in Theater an excellent component of a well-rounded liberal arts education. All courses that a student wishes to count towards the concentration in Theater must be approved in advance by the student's mentor, including those taken at NYU's global sites. Only one course may double-count for the concentration in Theater and another major or concentration.