Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater: Contemporary Theater

Program Overview

Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s B.F.A. in Theater: Contemporary Theater is unlike any other theater training program in the U.S. It is designed for theater artists whose talents and interests transcend traditional labels or categories, and helps develop bold and innovative theater makers who will shape and define the theater of tomorrow.

The contemporary theater program’s distinctive course of study focuses on ensemble-based training for 21st-century theater artists who are strong performers and theater creators, attuned to inclusive and socially conscious artistry. The curriculum combines rigorous acting training with cutting-edge practices in devised and immersive theater. Devising is considered by many to be the fastest growing field in theater today. Graduates of Boston Conservatory’s contemporary theater program are prepared to pursue diverse careers as multidisciplinary theater makers: actors, devisers, directors, playwrights, and visionaries. 

Our Students

Boston Conservatory contemporary theater students are fearlessly original, artistically curious, and passionate about effecting change through the power of theater. They have a calling, and the theater is their home. They are looking to find their voice, their gesture, their cause, and their own unique artistic method and path. They value collaboration, community, and the creation of theater that has an impact locally and globally.

Core Curriculum

Boston Conservatory’s contemporary theater program is not a conventional college acting program. A cornerstone of its curriculum is the making of new work. Each semester, ensembles reimagine a classic or create an original performance. Throughout their four years, contemporary theater students are making, collaborating, interpreting, and performing what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Our students are the storytellers of the future.

The first two years of study offer rigorous training in acting, voice, and movement, as well as the principles of directing and design theory. Dramatic forms and their contexts are explored in literature and history classes while students are immersed in ensemble building and devising practices. 

In the second half of the program, students increase experimentation with non-traditional and site-specific performance methods. Elective choices include Acting For Camera, Playwriting, Eco-performance, Extreme Character, Circus Arts, Entrepreneurship for Theater Artists, Race, Identity and Performance, and Introduction to Producing. The final year culminates in the creation of an independent capstone performance.

Guest Artists

Each semester, Boston Conservatory welcomes notable guest artists to visit classes, lecture, or collaborate on new work. Recent guest artists have included:

  • Rachel Chavkin: Tony Award–winning director of Hadestown, writer, dramaturg, and founding artistic director of Brooklyn-based company the TEAM 
  • Henry David Hwang: Obie Award–winning author of M. Butterfly, Yellow Face, and Soft Power
  • Ty Defoe: Ojibwe and Oneida performance artist, activist, and writer living in New York
  • Claire Warden: national leader of the intimacy direction movement in theater today
  • Tim Miller: internationally acclaimed queer performance artist from Los Angeles
  • Double Edge Theatre: a female-led ensemble and theater laboratory for actors
  • Mauricio Salgado: actor, director, and cofounder of Artists Striving to End Poverty
  • Paris Crayton III: actor, director, and author of more than 40 plays produced nationwide


Boston Conservatory has established partnerships with leading theater organizations such as SpeakEasy Stage Company that give students exciting professional opportunities. Learn more about these partnerships.

Your Future

In 2019, Boston Conservatory graduated its first class of contemporary theater innovators. Graduates join a strong network of Boston Conservatory alumni working as actors, directors, playwrights, and producers nationwide, including:

  • Arena Stage
  • Arizona Theatre Company
  • Atlantic Theatre Company
  • Barrington Stage Company
  • Dallas Theater Center
  • Denver Center Theatre Company
  • Geva Theatre Center
  • Guthrie Theater
  • Hartford Stage
  • Huntington Theatre Company
  • La Jolla Playhouse
  • Lincoln Center
  • Long Wharf Theatre
  • Lyric Stage Company
  • Manhattan Repertory Theatre
  • New York Stage and Film
  • The Old Globe
  • The Public Theatre
  • Roundabout Theatre Company
  • Signature Theatre
  • Studio Theatre
  • SpeakEasy Stage Company
  • Vineyard Theatre
  • Walnut Street Theatre

How to apply

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