Alumni from our Global Campuses

Earn Your Bachelor of Arts Degree in Directing from the Sargent Conservatory

Directors are storytellers — they bring a playwright's words to life through the voices of actors, set in the world of designers. Webster University’s Directing program offers you the opportunity to earn your Bachelor of Arts degree through the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts' Sargent Conservatory of Theatre Arts.

Students benefit from Webster's strong liberal arts environment — gaining a wide range of directing and theatre skills — as they are offered opportunities to discover the stories they want to tell. Study alongside professionals in St. Louis' theatre hub, with many opportunities to work closely with the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (the Rep) and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

In the third year of the Directing degree, students earn professional directing credit by assisting with a production at St. Louis' League of Resident Theatres (LORT). Students study abroad in London during the fall semester of their final year, and conclude Directing studies by choosing and directing a production in the conservatory season. Graduating students also attend the annual New York Showcase, where they have opportunities to connect with working alumni and other theatre professionals.


Production photo from "She Kills Monsters"


Choose Webster for Your BA in Directing

Work and Study with Theatre Directing Professionals

You will work with theatre professionals from New York City and other theatres nationwide from a LORT B theater — the Rep. You will also benefit from unique opportunities to work with theatre directing professionals from The Muny (Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis), St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Variety St. Louis and Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre.

Broaden Your Global Theatre Perspective — Study Abroad in London

Webster’s commitment to Study Abroad is a key element of the BA in Directing. As the Shakespearean character, Jaques, from "As You Like It" once said — “all the world’s a stage,” and Webster’s London campus is an opportunity for students to broaden their perspectives and sharpen their curiosities.

Mentorship from Experienced Faculty

Conservatory faculty are working professional artists, published writers, playwrights and dedicated educators committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. Faculty highlights include Lara Teeter and Julie Hanson Battaglia, who have both appeared on Broadway, Tali Allen and Michael Baxter, who have ongoing associations with The Muny, directors Doug Finlayson and Bruce Longworth, actors Gary Glasgow and Rayme Cornell, and John Wylie, Renee Garcia and Dunsi Dai, who are frequently represented on St. Louis-area stages for their design work.


Stage lit up with lights, students learning on the stage.


Gain Professional Directing Experience

Directing program students work on five major directing projects during their four years at Webster. Each of the productions require extensive research, which takes on historical, psychological, sociological and philosophical concerns relevant to the play’s time and place. You will spend hours implementing creative problem solving, team building, overseeing design elements and leading rehearsals. You will also learn to create and adhere to a budget, collaborate with a team and meet an opening night deadline.

Enhance Your Theatre Directing Skills in Outstanding Facilities

Webster’s Sargent Conservatory of Theatre Arts allows BA in Directing students the opportunity to work in a number of performance venues, including the Browning Main Stage, the Emerson Studio Theatre and Stage Three. Classrooms include six dedicated performance studios. Design rooms include a light lab, sound lab and two drafting studios. Webster's association with the Rep allows students to become proficient with a wide range of current technology.

Become Part of St. Louis’ Vibrant Theatre Scene

The St. Louis area features a thriving professional theatre community. Beyond working with our professional theatre partners, our students enjoy access to additional theatres and theatre directing professionals. Students can also access a respected history museum, an internationally renowned opera company and orchestra, a vibrant music scene and a number of thoughtfully curated art museums.

actor in firebird costume on stage in a partial squat with arms wide
female actor looking vulnerably at male actor who has hand on her shoulder
A theatrical performance, students in period costumes.
A directing student taking notes on set.

Directing Classes

Directing I explores the art of storytelling, by first asking, "what is the story," and then deciphering, "what are the pictures and staging that will best complement the text?" Directing is both a craft and an interpretive art. This class provides the student with the fundamental tools of direction: Play analysis, staging and composition, research and rehearsal process, culminating in the presentation of a short scene.

This class continues the process of developing analytical and compositional techniques, as well as an examination of the history of directing. The exploration of rehearsal process is expanded, and a dialogue will begin regarding communication with designers and actors. In Directing II, the student has an opportunity to direct fellow conservatory members in a short work.

In Directing III and IV, the student director's work is presented on scheduled Tuesdays. These ETS (Every Tuesday) are attended by the entire performance area.

In Directing III, coursework will include approaches for the use of light and sound, initial discussions on the meaning of "concept," and practical assessments of individual directing work. In this class, the student will have the opportunity to direct a longer scene or one-act. The class will focus on auditioning, preparing to go into rehearsal, developing techniques for creative exploration and problem solving in the production process.

In Directing III and IV, the student director's work is presented on scheduled Tuesdays. These ETS (Every Tuesday) are attended by the entire performance area.

In Directing IV, the class provides the director with the opportunity to work on material that best fits their personal interests. This class begins the process of identifying what it means to have a "voice" as a director. Explore an introduction to directing Shakespeare, along with exercises in directing style. The issue of non-realism and what implications that work has on analysis, visual storytelling and actor coaching will be covered in this class. Again, each student will analyze, research and direct an ET of their choosing.

This class includes second, third and fourth-year directors. In seminar, student directors evaluate current projects, research contemporary theatrical trends, prepare staged readings, focus on specific directing topics and discuss a particular book each semester (e.g. "On Directing," "Directors in Rehearsal").

In the final semester of study at Webster, the directing candidate will be tested over the reading list. A well-rounded director needs a fundamental knowledge of dramatic literature. This list is designed to introduce the student to a wide range of literature. In the final semester, the student will also research, cast and rehearse a capstone production to be designed in conjunction with the Performance and Design Faculty.

Previous Student Work

  • "Machinal," Mackenzie Finklea, 2020
  • "Miss You Like Hell," Gaby Rodriguez, 2020
  • "Photograph 51," Trace Turner, 2019
  • "She Kills Monsters," Gio Bakunawa, 2018
  • "Fly By Night," Brooke Viegut, 2018
  • "Next Fall," Melaina Ricks, 2017
  • "Rhinoceros," Max Friedman, 2017
  • "The Cockfight Play," James Kolditz, 2016
  • "Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play," Daniella Wheelock, 2016
  • "Honk!," Michael Fling, 2015
  • "The Last Five Years," Jacob Farmer, 2015
  • "Reckless," Austin Cooke, 2014
  • "Eurydice," Anne Kreitman, 2013
  • "The Pig Iron People," Rachel Roberts, 2013
  • "Dinner With Friends," Michael Raymond, 2012
  • "100 Saints You Should Know," Meghan Aul, 2012
  • "Nevermore," Sharon Albaladejo, 2012
  • "The Receptionist," Kaytlin McIntyre, 2011
  • "A Year With Frog And Toad," Janet Howe, 2011
  • "The Wonderful World of Dissocia," Matt Wills 2011
  • "Dancing at Lughnasa," Shelley Carter, 2009
  • "Betrayal," Karyn DeYoung, 2009
  • "Private Eyes," Phillip Allen, 2007
  • "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown," Nick Eilerman, 2007
  • "Frankie and Johnny at the Claire de Lune," Rachel Blackburn, 2005
  • "Scotland Road," Andy Ottoson, 2005
  • "Woyzeck," Stephanie Acosta, 2004
  • "As Bees In Honey Drown," Daren Leonard, 2003
  • "The Shape Of Things," Michelle Bossy, 2002

  • Aeschylus, "The Oresteia"
  • Aristophanes, "Lysistrata"
  • Euripides, "Medea"
  • Sophocles, "Oedipus Rex"
  • Plautus, "The Menaechmi"

  • Anonymous, "Everyman"
  • Calderon, "Life is a Dream"
  • Lope de Vega, "Fuente Ovejuna"
  • Marlowe, "The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus"
  • Moliere, "Tartuffe"
  • Shakespeare, "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet," "Othello," "The Tempest"

  • Behn, "The Rover"
  • Congreve, "The Way of the World"
  • Goldsmith, "She Stoops to Conquer"
  • Ibsen, "Hedda Gabler"
  • Sheridan, "The School for Scandal"
  • Strindberg, "Miss Julie"
  • Wedekind, "Spring's Awakening"
  • Wilde, "The Importance of Being Earnest"
  • Wycherley, "The Country Wife"

  • Beckett, "Waiting for Godot"
  • Brecht, "Mother Courage"
  • Buchner, "Woyzek"
  • Chekov, "The Sea Gull"
  • Coward, "Private Lives"
  • Genet, "The Balcony"
  • Ionesco, "Rhinoceros"
  • Lorca, "Blood Wedding"
  • Pinter, "The Birthday Party"
  • Pirandello, "Six Characters in Search of an Author"
  • Sartre, "No Exit"
  • Shaw, "Pygmalion"
  • Weiss, "Marat/Sade"

  • Hansberry, "A Raisin in the Sun"
  • Hellman, "The Children’s Hour"
  • Inge, "Picnic"
  • Kaufman and Hart, "You Can't Take it with You"
  • Miller, "Death of a Salesman"
  • O'Neill, "Ah, Wilderness"
  • Odets, "Waiting for Lefty"
  • Treadwell, "Machinal"
  • Wilder, "Our Town"
  • Williams, "A Streetcar Named Desire"

  • Albee, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf"
  • Baraka, "Dutchman"
  • Churchill, "Top Girls"
  • Cleage, "Blues for an Alabama Sky"
  • Durang, "The Baby With the Bath Water"
  • Friel, "Dancing at Lughnasa"
  • Fornes, "Conduct of Life"
  • Fugard Master, "Harold and the Boys"
  • Gilman, "Spinning Into Butter"
  • Gotanda, "The Wash"
  • Guare, "House of Blue Leaves"
  • Hwang, "M. Butterfly"
  • Kane, "Blasted"
  • Kramer, "The Normal Heart"
  • Kushner, "Angels in America: The Millenium Approaches"
  • Lopez, "Real Women Have Curves"
  • McDonagh, "The Cripple of Inishmaan"
  • Norman, "Getting Out"
  • Osbourne, "Look Back in Anger"
  • Overmeyer, "On the Verge"
  • Reza, "God of Carnage"
  • Santeiro, "Our Lady of the Tortilla"
  • Shaffer, "Equus"
  • Shange, "For Colored Girls..."
  • Simon, "Brighton Beach Memoirs"
  • Shepard, "True West"
  • Smith, "Fires in the Mirror"
  • Stoppard, "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
  • Valdez, "Zoot Suit"
  • Wilson, August, "Fences"
  • Wilson, Lanford, "Fifth of July"

  • Abaire, "Rabbit Hole"
  • Baker, "The Flick"
  • Cruz, "Anna in the Tropics"
  • Eno, "Middletown"
  • Gunderson, "I and You"
  • Hudes, "Water by the Spoonful"
  • Jenkins, "Everybody"
  • Joseph, "Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo"
  • Lopez, "The Inheritance"
  • Majok, "Cost of Living"
  • Morisseau, "Pipeline"
  • Nguyen, "She Kills Monsters"
  • Nottage, "Ruined", "Sweat"
  • O’Harris, "The Slave Play"
  • Pamatmat, "Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them"
  • Parks, "Top Dog/Under Dog"
  • Rebeck, "Seminar"
  • Ruhl, "Eurydice"
  • Solis, "Lydia"
  • Svich, "The House of Spirits"
  • Yee, "The Great Leap"

  • Bernstein, Sondheim and Laurents, "West Side Story"
  • Bock, Harnick and Stein, "Fiddler on the Roof"
  • Buoblil, Schonberg and Kertzmer, "Les Miserables"
  • Flaherty and Ahrens, "Ragtime: The Musical"
  • Hamlisch, Kirkwood and Dante, "A Chorus Line"
  • Herman and Stewart, "Hello, Dolly!"
  • Jones and Schmidt, "The Fantasticks"
  • Kander, Ebb and Masteroff, "Cabaret"
  • Kern and Hammerstein, "Show Boat"
  • LaChiusa, "Hello, Again"
  • Larson, "Rent"
  • Lerner and Loewe, "My Fair Lady"
  • MacDermot, Rado and Ragni, "Hair"
  • Miranda, "Hamilton"
  • Rodgers and Hammerstein, "Oklahoma"
  • Schwartz, Holzman, "Wicked"
  • Sondheim and Lapine, "Sunday in the Park with George"
  • Sondheim and Wheeler, "Sweeney Todd"
  • Styne, Sondheim and Laurents, "Gypsy"
  • Weill and Hughe, "Street Scene"
  • Weber and Rice, "Evita"

  • Brook, "The Empty Space"
  • Clurman, "On Directing"
  • Crich and Chinoy, "Directors on Directing"
  • Deer, "Directing in Musical Theatre: An Essential Guide"
Amalia Perez Lam
Webster University Endowed Theatre Scholarship Recipient

“I want to tell stories about my Latinx roots because our culture is quite underrepresented in theatre, and I also want to amplify female voices, especially those of women who have been ignored by history.”

Amalia Perez Lam
Amalia Perez Lam

BA in Directing, '25

Frequently Asked Questions

Each directing class has a component of rehearsal and presentation. In Directing II, students will direct first-year actors in a short piece. In Directing III and IV, students will direct second-year students in longer pieces to be presented on Tuesday afternoons for the full performance department. In the Senior Capstone, students will direct a full-length play.

As a first-year student in the acting class, you will appear in a Directing II scene in the late spring. There are local companies who conduct open auditions in the St. Louis area, and these opportunities need to be cleared through the department.

Since the Directing program is a BA, directing students have more freedom to take on particular interests. Previous students have pursued Business, English, Art and Religious Studies courses. Others have taken additional classes within the conservatory with permission from the instructor.

Although you are being accepted as a director and not an actor, it's important to take time to prepare for this aspect of the audition. In part, the monologues are used for placement purposes for the first-year acting class, and to see what you, an aspiring director, think about acting.

We recruit from all over the US and internationally, with students from countries such as Costa Rica and Japan.

Because we share our space with two professional companies, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (the Rep) and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, there are many opportunities to watch directors working. Each directing candidate will be assigned an assistant directing position in the conservatory and with the Rep, but students have volunteered to assist on additional shows as well. We also have a professional relationship with The Muny, where students have opportunities to work alongside Muny directors.
Student actors in Conservatory show

Join Us at the Theatre

Student actors in Conservatory show

At Webster's Sargent Conservatory of Theatre Arts, we'll help you achieve academic excellence, preparing you for future career successes. The first step — fill out an application.

Contact: Doug Finlayson, Head of Directing

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If you have more questions about the program, your application or other enrollment-related inquiries, contact our Admissions Office.

Call 314-246-7800 or 800-753-6765 or send an email to admit@webster.edu.