actors in '60s costumes for The Hendrix Project production
'The Hendrix Project'

Dedicated to the development of new voices and new forms, CalArts is one of the preeminent theater training grounds in the country, designed to educate the whole person and to prepare fully equipped theater artists to transform the field.

The School of Theater offers students an educational experience that is experimental, interdisciplinary, international, and diverse. Each unique Program gives students the flexibility, skills, and critical thinking tools to navigate a rapidly changing field and to pursue their professional goals with maximum agency. 

Our educational mission is to forge a community of citizen artists who are rigorously trained in their respective métiers and who are able to work effectively and innovatively across a broad spectrum of artistic settings, media, and technologies. As the School is based in Los Angeles, the epicenter of film and media production, the training gives considerable attention to students having the versatility to succeed in a variety of arenas.

Theater students are especially encouraged to build professional experiences and relationships while in school, mining every opportunity for them to create effective careers after graduation. The CalArts Center for New Performance, the Institute’s professional producing arm, embodies the School’s firm commitment to open exactly such possibilities for talented, ambitious students.

Video Introduction to Theater

School Gallery

Calendar of Events

Student Story

Jenny Foldenauer
Jenny Foldenauer Costume Design MFA 12 Ovation Award and L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award-winning Costume Designer

As a little girl I wanted to be a painter, but soon realized that textiles and clothing were my medium. What I love about costume design–which is different from fashion–is that I am creating characters, parts of new worlds imagined by a writers, directors, set, lighting and sound designers—and even the actors—we’re all coming together to create a living, breathing canvas, to tell a story.

My first crucial career contact was made at portfolio review at the end of my last year at CalArts. I met Matthew McCray, the producing artistic director of Son of Semele, who hired me for Our Class. Through that, I connected with Jessica Kubzansky at the Theatre at Boston Court, for which I did Everything You Touch. That was a huge endeavor, atypical for a 99-seat theater. I had more than 130 costumes for an eight-person cast, and there were a lot of logistical and technical issues, before we even before got to the creative. There were three model characters that had to represent scenery, that went off stage and back on several times, and changed into different parts because there were, literally, 22 scenes that switched back and forth between two time periods. A lot of theater magic!

To someone considering applying to CalArts, or to an accepted student, I would say this: explore all of your options, meet, collaborate, and network with as many people as possible—and remember that this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Make the most of it.

Follow the School of Theater