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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 a journey toward a career in the theater, it's important they learn not only the craft of directing, but 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 campus. Classes in Theater 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.

actor in firebird costume on stage in a partial squat with arms wide
director on the stage with the crew preparing for a production
student working with neon DINER light for stage production
female actor looking vulnerably at male actor who has hand on her shoulder

Directing Academic Programs

Read about specific program requirements, learning outcomes and how to apply:

Contact

Doug Finlayson
Head of Directing
finlaydo@webster.edu

How to Apply

  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 theater 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 750-1,000 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.

Audition Information Page

Directing Classes and Syllabi

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

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 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

Previous 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

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 & Juliet; Hamlet; Othello; King Lear; Henry V; 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 Cherry Orchard; 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; Misalliance

Weiss Marat/Sade

Hansberry – A Raisin in the Sun

Hellman – The Children’s Hour

Inge – Picnic

Kaufman & 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

Churchill – Top Girls

Friel – Dancing at Lughnasa

Fugard Master – Harold and the Boys

Kane – Blasted

McDonagh – The Cripple of Inishmaan

Osbourne – Look Back in Anger

Reza – God of Carnage

Shaffer – Equus

Stoppard – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Wertenbaker – Our Country's Good

Abaire – Rabbit Hole

Albee – Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Baker – The Flick

Cleage – Blues for an Alabama Sky

Cruz – Anna in the Tropics

Durang – The Baby With The Bath Water

Eno – Middletown

Fornes – Conduct of Life

Fuller – A Soldier's Play

Gilman – Spinning Into Butter

Gotanda – The Wash

Guare – House of Blue Leaves

Hwang – M. Butterfly

Hudes – Water by the Spoonful

Jones – Dutchman

Joseph – Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo

Kramer – The Normal Heart

Kushner – Angels in America: The Millenium Approaches

Lopez – Real Women Have Curves

Mamet – American Buffalo

Muchado – Broken Eggs

Norman – Getting Out

Nottage – Ruined, Sweat

O’Harris – The Slave Play

Overmeyer – On The Verge

Pamatmat – Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them

Parks – Top Dog/Under Dog

Rebeck – Seminar

Ruhl – Eurydice, The Vibrator Play

Sanchez-Scott – Roosters

Santeiro – Our Lady of the Tortilla

Shange – For Colored Girls...

Shanley – Doubt

Shepard – True West

Simon – Brighton Beach Memoirs

Smith – Fires in the Mirror

Solis – Lydia

Svich – The House of Spirits

Valdez – Zoot Suit

Wilson, August – Fences

Wilson, Lanford – Fifth of July

Wolfe – The Colored Museum

Bernstein, Sondheim & Laurents – West Side Story

Bock, Harnick & Stein – Fiddler on the Roof

Buoblil, Schonberg & Kertzmer – Les Miserables

Flaherty & Ahrens – Ragtime: The Musical

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

Miranda – Hamilton

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

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

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Frequently Asked Questions

Each directing class has a component of 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.

As a freshman 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. 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 in part, to see what you, as a young director, think about acting.

We recruit from all over the 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.

16th in the Midwest

Webster University continues to be highly ranked on the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges report, now listed as 16th in Midwest Regional Universities and included in four best-of categories. This year, the University's score rose to its highest level since the ranking system was established.

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