School of Theater

Dean’s Welcome: Travis Preston

CalArts School of Theater Dean Travis Preston teaching in the Coffeehouse Theate


Dedicated to the development of new voices and new forms, CalArts is one of the preeminent theater training programs in the country. Our goal is to educate the whole person, preparing fully equipped theater artists to enter and transform the world. We particularly encourage our students 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 our firm commitment to open exactly such possibilities for talented, ambitious students.

The Versatility to Succeed

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 practical conditions for theater artists continue to evolve, our training gives students the flexibility, skill and ingenuity to navigate a rapidly changing environment and to pursue their dreams with maximum agency. Since the school is based in Los Angeles, the epicenter of film and media production, all our programs give considerable attention to students having the versatility to succeed in a variety of media.

Areas of Study

The school’s Programs in Performance include courses of study in acting, directing, and writing for performance; Programs in Design and Production comprise scene, costume, lighting and sound design, technical direction, and management. Within the Programs in Design and Production are further specializations in producing, production management, stage management, applied design (scene painting, visual communication, and art direction), and video for performance.

Immersive Design and Themed Entertainment

We are further shaping a series of courses to address the development and design of immersive environments and themed entertainment. Through relationships with Walt Disney Imagineering, On Track Entertainment, Universal Studios, BRC Imagination Arts, and RGH Entertainment, the school is encouraging students to navigate an increasingly exciting landscape of theatrical experience.

A Full Breadth of Curricular Projects

All of these disciplines interact continuously as the School of Theater presents an extensive series of productions each year: full-scale works staged in connection with the curriculum, original projects developed and produced in collaboration with internationally renowned artists and organizations, and an annual student-driven New Works Festival. Our five theater spaces—the architecturally unique Walt Disney Modular Theater and four black-box theaters—often run productions simultaneously. We also make use of other on- and off-campus sites and venues, both conventional and unconventional.

The CalArts Center for New Performance

The CalArts Center for New Performance has a unique role in furthering our community’s relationship to the wider professional world. Established as a forum for the creation of groundbreaking performance, the CNP allows students to work shoulder-to-shoulder with artists of the highest caliber. This collaborative work is distinctive and extends beyond the curriculum, offering a depth and breadth of research, practice and professional experience that far surpasses a conventional academic approach.

The CalArts School of Theater – Individual, Passionate, Singular

The CalArts School of Theater is a singular place—unlike anywhere else in the world— in the passionate and mindful pursuit of mission and, equally, in the support of the individual aesthetics, dreams and professional aspirations of our students.

Last edited by vroveto on Sep 08, 2015
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