Webster University announces a new program in Theatre Studies & Dramaturgy in the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts beginning in fall 2012. This new program will complement the highly regarded professional theatre-training program the University offers. Students in the new program will learn about playwriting, acting, directing, design and production. They will hone critical skills, delve into historical research, and practice effective communication. The Theatre Studies & Dramaturgy program will challenge students to analyze the content of performances as well as the contexts in which they occur. It will prepare students for a diverse range of careers in the arts, including dramaturgy, advocacy, administration, and criticism. Importantly, it will also offer any student with a passion for theatre with a rigorous liberal arts education.
“It is our intention that this program will enhance the already outstanding offerings at Webster that exist in Playwriting, Film Studies and Directing,” said Peter Sargent, dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, “so that students will gain a comprehensive view of what it takes to make theatre happen.”
Dramaturgical practice underlies the new program’s structure. From conducting production research to nurturing new plays, from shaping production seasons to creating educational resources, the tasks that a dramaturg plays today are quite broad and often very exciting. A changing and generally more thorough process for play development has led to growing opportunities and increased demand for dramaturgs. According to the Literary Managers & Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA), the role of the dramaturg has expanded considerably in the United States and Canada in the past couple of decades. Webster now joins other colleges and universities with outstanding theatre programs in offering a Theatre Studies & Dramaturgy degree.
Webster University welcomes Gad Guterman as head of the new program. Delighted to be working in a school and community that clearly value the arts, Guterman says he is “very excited that Webster University is now a place where students can translate their passion for theatre into a new field of study.”
Following teaching positions at Rutgers University and Hunter College, Dr. Guterman led and designed courses in Theatre History, Playwriting, Play Analysis, and Educational Theatre at Wagner College in New York City. For many years, he served as the Education Director for the Vineyard Theatre, an Off-Broadway company dedicated to producing new plays and musicals. Perhaps best known for developing “Avenue Q,” the Vineyard Theatre includes among its recent productions the premieres of Will Eno’s “Middletown,” John Kander and Fred Ebb’s “The Scottsboro Boys” and Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen’s “[title of show].” For the past year, Guterman has been on the faculty at Webster University’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts teaching theatre history and creative dramatics.
Guterman received a Ph.D. in Theatre from The Graduate Center, City University of New York, where his research focused generally on the relationship between theatre and law. In his dissertation, he examined how contemporary U.S. theatre, particularly Latina/o and Asian American artists, have presented and engaged with immigration law. Guterman's articles have appeared in “Theatre Survey,” “Theatre Journal,” and the “Journal of American Drama and Theatre.” He also received a master’s degree in Educational Theatre from New York University. Guterman is the author of “My Uncle Shakespeare,” a play for young performers published through Eldridge Plays, and has directed productions for Missoula Children’s Theatre, Boston Children’s Theatre, and the John Harms Performing Arts Center, among many others. Guterman completed his undergraduate studies in Theatre and Economics at Cornell University.
With its home campus in St. Louis, Webster University (www.webster.edu) is the only Tier 1, private, non-profit U.S.-based university providing a network of international residential campuses. Founded in 1915, Webster University’s campus network today includes metropolitan, military and corporate locations around the world, as well as traditional residential campuses in Asia, Europe and North America. The university is committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.