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Directors are storytellers. They bring the words of the playwright to life through the inventiveness of the actor in the world of the designer. As a young director begins their journey towards a career in the theater, it's important that they learn not only the craft of directing but that they gain insight into the stories they want to tell.

Directing students at Webster are exposed to a wide variety of coursework both in the department and across the campus. Classes in Theatre include Voice, Movement and Acting; Visual History, Fundamentals of Design and Lighting; History of Theatre, Stage Management and Directing. In the senior year of study, students spend the fall semester at Webster's London campus. Upon their return, they will direct a capstone project in their final semester.

Unique to Webster's Directing Program is the department's affiliation with the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. In the junior year, directing students assist on a production at St. Louis' LORT Theatre.

After visiting this site and the Conservatory website, please don't hesitate to contact us. If you'd like to talk to a current or former directing student, email them from the Directors Work page. They are happy to share their experiences with prospective students.

Directing Academic Programs

To read about specific program requirements, learning outcomes and how to apply, click on a program from the following list:

Additional Information

  1. Two Contemporary Monologues. These should be realism and should not exceed three (3) minutes combined. They will be performed for a Webster faculty member;
  2. A Portfolio. Any theatre experiences should be represented. If you have directed a play or scene or assisted on a project, bring materials from that work (pictures, video, promptbook, program, etc). We also understand that students interested in the directing program might have little or no formal directing experience. For that reason the portfolio might also include work in other arts such as acting, design, choreography, opera, singing, photography, video, film, painting, design or writing. Share your artistic interests;
  3. Write an Essay. This is separate from the essay you wrote for admission to Webster University. Write a 750-1000 word essay on ONE of the following topics. This should be a separate essay from the one required by the University. The following are suggestions for this essay:
    • Tell a compelling story from your life (or someone you know) and describe how you would bring it to the stage.
    • What surprises/inspires you most about your experiences with live performance and give an example of how you might create such a moment yourself?
    • Describe how you would go about sharing your passion for the theatre with children and give an example of a project you could direct to demonstrate that passion.

 

Directing I
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 compliment the text". Directing is both a craft and an interpretive art. The 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.
Syllabus



Directing II
This class continues the process of developing analytical and compositional techniques as well as an examination of the history of directing. 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.
Syllabus

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.

Directing III
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 and developing techniques for creative exploration and problem solving in the production process.
Syllabus



Directing IV
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. An introduction to directing Shakespeare will be explored 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.
Syllabus

Directing Seminar
This class includes sophomore, junior and senior 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 (ex: On Directing, Directors in Rehearsal).
Syllabus

Senior Capstone/Reading List
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.
Capstone Syllabus

Each directing class has a component of actual rehearsal and presentation. In Directing II students will direct freshmen actors in a short piece. In Directing III and IV students will direct sophomores 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. Pictures of past capstones are spread throughout the site. You can also go to additional photos at the top of the Director's Work page.

As a freshman in the acting class, you will appear in a Directing II scene in the late spring. There are no other acting opportunities within the department after that. There are local companies who conduct open auditions in the St. Louis area. 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 of 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 freshman acting class and also in part to see what you, as a young director, think about acting.

We recruit from all over U.S. We also recruit internationally and have had students from Costa Rica and Japan to name a few countries.

Because we share our space with two professional companies, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, there are many opportunities to watch directors working. Each directing candidate will be assigned an assistant directing position within the Conservatory as well as one with the St. Louis Repertory Theatre. Beyond that, students have volunteered to assist on other shows both for the Conservatory and the Rep. We also have a professional relationship with the Muny, St. Louis premiere summer musical theatre. Students have worked alongside directors for the Muny as well.

Student Work

Machinal, Mackenzie Finklea, 2020
Miss You Like Hell, Gaby Rodriguez, 2020
Photograph 51,
Trace Turner, 2019
She Kills Monster,
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

ANTIQUITY
Aeschylus The Oresteia Aristophanes Lysistrata Euripides Medea Sophocles Oedipus Rex Plautus The Menaechmi

MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE
Anonymous Everyman Webster The Duchess of Malfi Calderon Life is a Dream Lope de Vega Fuente Ovejuna
Marlowe The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus
Moliere Tartuffe; The Miser
Shakespeare A Midsummer Night's Dream; Romeo & Juliet; Much Ado About Nothing; As You Like It; Richard III; Hamlet; Othello; King Lear; Macbeth; Henry V; The Tempest

RESTORATION, 18th &19th CENTURY
Behn The Rover
Congreve The Way of the World Goldsmith She Stoops to Conquer Ibsen A Doll's House; Hedda Gabler Sheridan The School for Scandal Strindberg Miss Julie
Wedekind Spring's Awakening
Wilde The Importance of Being Earnest
Wycherley The Country Wife

EARLY 20th CENTURY/UNITED KINGDOM & CONTINENTAL
Beckett Waiting for Godot
Brecht Mother Courage; The Threepenny Opera
Buchner Woyzek
Chekov The Cherry Orchard; Three Sisters; The Sea Gull
Coward Private Lives Duerrenmatt The Visit 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; Misalliance
Synge The Playboy of the Western World
Weiss Marat/Sade

EARLY 20th CENTURY/AMERICAN
Hansberry A Raisin in the Sun Hellman The Little Foxes Inge Picnic
Kaufman & Hart You Can't Take It With You
Miller The Crucible; Death of a Salesman
O'Neill Ah, Wilderness; Long Day's Journey Into Night
Odets Waiting for Lefty Saroyan The Time of Your Life Treadwell Machinal
Wilder Our Town
Williams A Streetcar Named Desire; The Glass Menagerie

LATE 20th/21st CENTURY/INTERNATIONAL
Bennett The History Boys
Churchill Top Girls
Friel Dancing at Lughnasa
Fugard Master Harold and the Boys
Hare, A Map of the World
Kane Blasted
McDonagh The Cripple of Inishmaan Orton What the Butler Saw Osbourne, Look Back in Anger
Reza Art, God of Carnage
Shaffer Equus
Stoppard Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Wertenbaker Our Country's Good

LATE 20th/21st CENTURY/AMERICAN
Abaire Rabbit Hole
Albee Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf; The Goat, or Who is Sylvia
Cleage Blues for an Alabama Sky
Congdon Tales of the Lost Formicans
Durang The Baby With The Bath Water, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Eno Middletown
Fornes Conduct of Life, Fefu and Her Friends
Fuller A Soldier's Play Gilman Spinning Into Butter Gotanda The Wash
Guare House of Blue Leaves, Six Degrees of Separation
Hwang M. Butterfly
Jones Dutchman
Kaufman Gross Indecency
Kramer The Normal Heart
Kushner Angels in America: The Millenium Approaches/Peristroika
LaBute The Shape of Things Leguizamo Mambo Mouth Lonergan Lobby Hero Lucas Reckless
Lopez Real Women Have Curves Mamet American Buffalo; Oleanna Muchado Broken Eggs
Norman Getting Out Overmeyer On The Verge Rebeck Spike Heels, Seminar Rabe Hurlyburly
Rapp Red Light Winter
Ruhl Eurydice, The Vibrator Play
Shange For Colored Girls...
Shanley, Doubt
Schenkkan The Kentucky Cycle
Shepard True West; Fool for Love
Simon The Odd Coupl; Brighton Beach Memoirs
Smith Fires in the Mirror
Valdez Zoot Suit
Wilson, August Fences; The Piano Lesson
Wilson, Lanford Balm in Gilead; Burn This

MUSICALS
Bernstein, Sondheim & Laurents West Side Story Bernstein, Comden & Green On The Town Bock, Harnick & Stein Fiddler on the Roof Buoblil, Schonberg & Kertzmer Les Miserables Coleman, Zippel & Gelbart City of Angels Flaherty & Ahrens Ragtime: The Musical Gershwins & Kaufman & Hart Of Thee I Sing
 Hamlisch, Kirkwood & Dante A Chorus Line
Herman & Stewart Hello Dolly Jones & Schmidt The Fantastiks Kander & Ebb & Masteroff Cabaret Kern & Hammerstein Show Boat LaChiusa Hello Again
Larson Rent
Lerner & Loewe My Fair Lady MacDermot, Rado & Ragni Hair Porter & Spewack Kiss Me Kate Rodgers & Hammerstein Oklahoma Schwartz, Holzman Wicked
Sondheim & Lapine Sunday in the Park With George
Sondheim & Wheeler Sweeney Todd Styne, Sondheim & Laurents Gypsy Weill & Hughes Street Scene
Weber & Rice Evita

OTHER BOOKS
Brook The Empty Space
Clurman On Directing
Crich & Chinoy Directors on Directing
Hodge Play Directing: Analysis, Communication and Style
Deer Directing in Musical Theatre: An Essential Guide

OPERAS
Aida, Giuseppe Verdi
La Boheme, Giacomo Puccini
Carmen, Georges Bizet
The Marriage of Figaro, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Tannhauser, Richard Wagner
Nixon in China, John Adams.

FILMS
Citizen Kane, (1941, Orson Welles)
The Rules of the Game (1939, Jean Renoir) Modern Times (1936, Charles Chaplin) Some Like It Hot (1959, Wilder)
Vertigo (1958, Alfred Hitchcock)
Rashomon (1950, Akira Kurosawa)
A Trip to the Moon (1902, Georges Melies) Battleship Potemkin (1925, Sergei Eisenstein) The Seventh Seal (1956, Ingmar Bergman The Bicycle Thief (1949, Vittorio DeSica) Metropolis (1926, Fritz Lang)
Aguirre: the Wrath of God (1972, Werner Herzog)
Sunset Boulevard (1950, Billy Wilder)
The 400 Blows (1959, Francois Truffaut)
Singin' in the Rain (1952, Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly)
Duck Soup (1933, Leo McCarey)
The Third Man (1949, Carol 

 

Contact

Doug Finlayson
Head of Directing
finlaydo@webster.edu