- The Theatre School's 2011-2012 select enrollment included 289 undergraduates and 38 graduate students. Approximately 1,200 applicants undertake the stringent admissions process of national auditions and interviews annually. The school accepts only a small fraction of applicants to the conservatory.
- The Theatre School began as the department of drama of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1922, William Owen and Malvina Sawyer Goodman donated funds to the Art Institute to create a school of drama as a tribute to their son, Kenneth Sawyer Goodman (1883-1918). The first class of the Goodman School of Drama was admitted Jan. 5, 1925.
- During its first five decades, the Goodman School of Drama trained such artists as Theoni V. Aldredge, Bruce Boxleitner, Melinda Dillon, Scott Ellis, Linda Hunt, Gloria Foster, Harvey Korman, Eugene Lee, Karl Malden, Joe Mantegna, James Maronek, Lois Nettleton, Geraldine Page, Jose Quintero, Lee Richardson, Steve Smith, Carrie Snodgress, Howard Witt and Sam Wanamaker, among many others. The school was recognized for its significant contributions to dramatic arts in Chicago and the world and was a rich component of the artistic life of the city.
- In 1975, the trustees of the Art Institute of Chicago voted to phase out the Goodman School of Drama, citing a $200,000 deficit. No new students were admitted as the school prepared to close in May 1978. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and interested citizens mounted a campaign to save the school.
- On July 1, 1978, the Goodman School of Drama became the ninth college of DePaul University. One observer wrote, "So the future has gone from 'curtains' to more curtain calls. For that, applause."
- Today, The Theatre School is guided by its mission statement, adhering to the traditions of the Goodman School of Drama. It reads: "The Theatre School at DePaul University educates, trains, and inspires students of theatre in a conservatory setting that is rigorous, disciplined, culturally diverse, and that strives for the highest level of professional skill and artistry. A commitment to diversity and equality in education is central to our mission. As an integral part of the training, The Theatre School produces public programs and performances from a wide repertoire of classic, contemporary, and original plays that challenge, entertain, and stimulate the imagination. We seek to enhance the intellectual and cultural life of our university community, our city, and the profession."
- The Theatre School is located at 2135 N. Kenmore Ave. on DePaul's Lincoln Park Campus. The main building, the former St. Vincent DePaul Elementary School, houses classrooms; administrative and faculty offices; scene, costume and prop shops and storage; a light lab; and a student lounge. The Theatre School Annex, located across the street at 2130 N. Kenmore Ave., houses additional faculty offices; a script library; a computer lab; and design studios.
- The Theatre School has broken ground on its new home, a 165,000 square-foot multipurpose facility designed by internationally renowned architectural firm Pelli Clarke Pelli. Located on the southwest corner of West Fullerton and North Racine avenues on the Lincoln Park Campus, the facility is scheduled for completion in 2013. The airy five-story building will house a 250-seat theatre, a flexible 100-seat black-box theatre, administrative and faculty offices, classrooms, rehearsal spaces, design studios, workshops and the school’s script library.
- The Theatre School at DePaul was named among the top 25 drama schools in the nation in 2012 by The Hollywood Reporter, one of the most influential publications covering the entertainment industry.
- Chicago magazine’s “Best of Chicago 2011” named TimeLine Theatre, founded by DePaul alumni, the best theatre company in Chicago. It also named faculty member Dexter Bullard its director of choice and alumnus Nick Sandy Pullin actor of choice for 2011.
- The Theatre School boasts thousands of alumni who work around the world in theatre, film and television, as well as at numerous other successful careers. These include Kevin Anderson, Gillian Anderson, Alana Arenas, W. Earl Brown, Paula Cale, Monique Coleman, Dennis Dugan, Judy Greer, Criss Henderson, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Elizabeth Perkins, Amy Pietz, John C. Reilly, Leonard Roberts, Larry Yando, Louis Zorich and countless others.
- Alumni of The Theatre School have worked for 415 theatre productions worldwide, 63 Broadway shows and 119 Chicago-area theatre companies. In 2010-2011 alone, alumni worked on 104 films, at least 28 different television programs and 62 commercials or voice-overs. In addition, alumni have participated in 55 theatre and film festivals around the globe; taught at 104 different schools, colleges and universities; and worked at more than 25 production companies during the 2010-2011 season.
- The school offers bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.) degrees in acting, costume design, lighting design, scenic design, theatre technology, costume technology, stage management, playwriting, theatre management, dramaturgy/criticism and theatre arts. In the fall of 2008, The Theatre School launched a BFA in sound design, under the direction of Victoria "Toy" Delorio.
- Master of fine arts (M.F.A.) degrees are offered in acting, arts leadership and directing. The Theatre School and Chicago Shakespeare Theater began offering the master of fine arts program in arts leadership in 2005. The two-year program combines full-time employment at Chicago Shakespeare Theater with an academic curriculum that equips emerging theatre leaders with the practice and ethics of managing, producing and leading arts programs.
- Founded as the Goodman Children's Theatre in 1925, Chicago Playworks is the city's oldest continuously operating children's theatre. It has been the first theatre experience for audiences of Chicago's young people for more than 85 years and was one of the first major theatres for children in the United States. Chicago Playworks presents three unique productions to more than 25,000 families and young people each season at DePaul's Merle Reskin Theatre, 60 E. Balbo Drive. The school enhances the theatre experience by offering post-show discussions, ice cream socials with the cast, backstage tours and free teacher guides for each production.
- The Theatre School Showcase is the school's series of contemporary plays and classics. Four plays are presented each season for an audience of subscribers, the DePaul community and the general public at DePaul's Merle Reskin Theatre. The actors, designers, stage managers, dramaturgs, technicians and other crew members are students; the directors are members of the faculty or guest artists.
- New Directors Series plays are studio productions directed by graduate students in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the master of fine arts in directing. These productions are free and open to the public.
- New Playwrights Series plays are studio productions featuring a new play written by a current Theatre School student or recent graduate. The productions are free and open to the public at the Athenaeum Studio Three or the Greenhouse Theater Center.
- DePaul's historic Merle Reskin Theatre is home to more than 200 public performances of The Theatre School and is often shared with other non-profit arts organizations. Since The Theatre School acquired the Merle Reskin Theatre in 1989, more than 1.3 million people have attended performances there. This number reflects both Theatre School productions and professional rentals.
- The Merle Reskin Theatre has been a significant presence in the downtown theatre district since it was built as the Blackstone Theatre in 1910. Many of the greatest talents of the American theatre have graced its stage, including Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, Dustin Hoffman and Vivien Leigh. The stone façade, mansard roof and interior finish of the French Renaissance-style building have been modified only slightly over the years. Purchased by DePaul in 1988, the theatre underwent $700,000 in renovation before re-opening with the Chicago Playworks production of "The Phantom Tollbooth." The theatre was renamed in recognition of a major donor in November 1992. Today's Theatre School students are privileged to perform in this historic theatre for an audience of more than 30,000 each season.
- Each spring, The Theatre School produces DePaul's premiere theatre social and fund-raising event, the Awards for Excellence in the Arts Gala. Hosted by celebrity alumni and friends, including Joe Mantegna, John C. Reilly, Scott Ellis and George Wendt, this annual benefit honors select distinguished artists with the school's Award for Excellence in the Arts.
More than 90 artists and several corporations have been recognized since its inception, including F. Murray Abraham, Joan Allen, Angela Bassett, Alec Baldwin, Blythe Danner, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Franz, John Guare, Gregory Hines, Bonnie Hunt, David Koechner, Patti LuPone, Edward James Olmos, Maria Tallchief Paschen, Emma Thompson, Vince Vaughn, Angela Bassett, Michael Shannon, Vince Vaughn, Ben Vereen, Fred WIllard, Alfre Woodard, American Airlines, Illinois Tool Works Inc. and Sara Lee Corp. Since 1989, more than $3.25 million has been raised to benefit The Theatre School's Scholarship Fund.
- On a regular basis, The Theatre School hosts CHICAGO LIVE: THE ARTS, a noon-time discussion series designed to provide students the opportunity to meet with working professionals in the theatre, film and television industries. Guest speakers talk about their training and development, past professional experiences, goals for future work and insights into the world of performance.
Scores of notable artists have participated in the program, including David Koechner, Gabriel Byrne, Jean Stapleton, David Mamet, Laurence Fishburne, Gary Sinise, Julie Harris, John Malkovich, Peter Falk, Celeste Holm, Jonathan Pryce, F. Murray Abraham, Gene Hackman, Pam Grier, Olympia Dukakis, and Jason Grote. Alumni participating in the program include Tarell Alvin McCraney, Tim Norwind and Tom Amandes.
- Each June, the school presents Graduate Showcases in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles for an audience of theatre, film and television producers, casting directors and agents. These showcases encompass two weeks of activities in the three cities as the school organizes several events designed to introduce graduates to the profession.
About the Dean
John Culbert was appointed dean of The Theatre School in July 2001. He was formerly the school's associate dean and longtime head of the Lighting Design Program. Culbert is a Joseph Jefferson Award-winning designer, United Scenic Artists of America member and resident artist at Chicago's Court Theatre.
His projects have included set design for Court Theatre's "Man of La Mancha" and lighting design for the Goodman Theatre's "Mirror of the Invisible World," among others. Culbert has also designed scenery and/or lighting for the Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Berkeley Rep, Shakespeare Theatre, McCarter Theatre and Bristol Riverside Theatre. John also redesigned the light-and-water show for Chicago's world-famous Buckingham Fountain.
The Theatre School website: theatreschool.depaul.edu
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