Program Structure

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.

Mainstage Productions

Each academic year, the NYU Abu Dhabi Theater Program produces two mainstage productions — one professional and one student production. For the professional mainstage production, a New York-based theater company is in residence with the NYUAD Theater Program on the Saadiyat campus as they devise, rehearse, and stage their show. Throughout this 8-12 week process, the theater company engages NYUAD students in a range of apprenticeships, from directing through stage management, that provide a remarkable firsthand look at how theater companies develop work in a professional theatrical setting.

For the mainstage student production, a guest theater company or a guest director and group of artistic collaborators devise a production utilizing students as the main cast and crew. Throughout this eight-week process, leading directors and artists engage NYUAD students both on and off the stage as they build a production from conceptualization through performance.

Student Led Projects

NYUAD Theater Program Student-Led Project Series (SLP) provides both majors and non-majors the opportunity to conduct, direct, or present theater projects for the NYUAD community including workshops, staged readings, and small-scale productions.

Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeships afford students the ability to work closely with a guest artist or professional theater company in residence with the theater program.

Global Shakespeare Festival

The annual Global Shakespeare Festival convenes students, faculty members, practitioners, and scholars from around the globe for a five-day investigation into the question “What is global Shakespeare?” Through a series of master classes, student-led workshops, performances, and lectures, an international circulatory system of Shakespearean performance, ideas, vocabulary, and methodology forms.

Course Research Trips

Course research trips enable students to connect their academic studies with on-the-ground exploration of the United Arab Emirates. Led by faculty members, these direct encounters intensify learning by adding an experiential dimension to courses that may not be possible through classroom activities alone. Course-research trips with the theater program have included investigations into the Pehlwani/Kushti wrestlings matches of the South Asian diaspora in Dubai, variations of the ayyalah battles dance in the northern Emirates, and various storytelling and oral history traditions of the Western Region of the UAE.

Study Away

The NYU Abu Dhabi Theater Program is committed to providing its students a range of opportunities both inside and outside of the Global Network University with focuses including classical, experimental, and collaborative training.  Each study away program is student focused and features training with some of the foremost artists, practitioners, and scholars in the world. Theater programs abroad include:

  • Playwrights Horizon Theater School: NYU Tisch School of the Arts
  • Experimental Theater Wing: NYU Tisch School of the Arts
  • The Classical Studio: NYU Tisch School of the Arts
  • Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts: NYU London
  • The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics
  • International Theatre Workshop in Amsterdam