Oberlin is the ideal learning environment for the aspiring stage director. In addition to courses in theater, students can study a wide range of disciplines that will enrich their own personal interpretive and artistic abilities.

two actors and a director on stage
Associate Professor Justin Emeka ’95 discusses a scene with cast members of "The Wedding Band." Photo credit: John Seyfried

Directing concentrators are especially encouraged to take cognate courses in art history, musicology, psychology, especially personality, dramatic literature and cinema studies. Students who choose directing as a concentration are extremely self-motivated and often begin directing projects on campus in their first year. We offer many opportunities for students to direct projects.

Oberlin has several student theater organizations on campus. Students can also submit proposals to the theater and dance departments to produce curricular projects, usually presented in the Hall Annex, Kander Theater, or Warner Main Space. The theater faculty appreciate the central importance of student-student collaboration and initiative to the vibrancy of our program. Professors are extremely supportive of student-directed work, and available as advisors, facilitators, and avid audience members.

For generations, Oberlin directors have gone on to prestigious graduate schools, and successful careers in the field. Many have launched their own theater companies.


Directing Curriculum

The directing sequence is fully integrated with the other disciplines within the theater curriculum, especially acting. At the intro level, students must first take Acting 1: Fundamentals as a prerequisite for enrollment in Directing 1: Fundamentals. Students are then encouraged to take as many tech and design courses as possible, particularly Intro to Design, and Stage Management.

After successful completion of Acting 2: Scene Study, students may enroll in Directing 2: Rehearsal Techniques, a small-enrollment intensive tutorial course, which culminates in the direction of a one-act play. There are additional performance and theoretical electives to supplement directing majors' study of the field, including: Acting 3, Stage Combat, Physical Performance, Choreography (Dance) and Non-Literary Theater. 

Directing 3: Directing Projects consists of on one-on-one mentoring during the supervision of the direction of a full length production. Many student directors are Honors candidates in their senior year, their Kander Theater production serves as their culminating thesis project.

Students concentrating in directing are also strongly encouraged to participate in Oberlin’s Center for Innovation & Impact, which provides courses and internships designed to develop entrepreneurial skills. Through this program, students can also apply for substantial startup funds for winter-term or postgraduation projects.