Miami Students Journey to New York City to Study Theatre Production and Writing


Written by Miami University student, Beth Pfohl. For Miami University students passionate about the theatre, Oxford is a far distance from Broadway. Over Winter Session, a group of students ventured to New York City to study writing and production in the context of Broadway and Off-Broadway theatre as part of a Miami study away program.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre Christiana Harkulich and Visiting Assistant Professor of Arts Management and Entrepreneurship Willie Caldwell developed, taught and co-led this program to give students hands-on experience in their chosen fields. Caldwell stated, “Students had the opportunity to see first-hand all the moving pieces and intricacies of how theatre is produced for Broadway and Off-Broadway. As one of the predominant theatre capitals of the world, New York represents a quality and caliber seldom seen anywhere else.”

This program was housed at the Obie award-winning Theatre for A New Audience located in Brooklyn, New York. Here students attended discussions and seminars to help them better understand the professional production process. Additionally, students attended and analyzed four current productions while in New York, (Sleep No More, Choir Boy, Come from Away and About Alice) in preparation for assignments asking them to apply what they were learning in a classroom setting once they returned to Oxford.

While this J-Term program is designed for students in theatre, arts management, or advanced writing in the arts, the study away opportunity also co-led by the Director of Arts Management and Entrepreneurship at Miami, Todd Stuart, was open to students of all majors. This January, 14 students participated in this program, eight focusing on production for theatre and five who studied theatre criticism and dramaturgy.

Senior theatre major Leah Ball greatly appreciated the openness of the staff at the Theatre for a New Audience which the cohort had studied in-depth before ever setting foot in New York City. She said, “…staff of The Theatre for a New Audience made themselves very available and were willing to take the time to talk with us and answer all of our questions. The staff even offered to meet with us one-on-one if we had a particular interest in their position and work….”

Students also had the opportunity to tour the Lincoln Center, visit the Billy Rose Theatre and Film Archive, attend a VIP alumni networking event, meet with a Broadway producer and speak with Calvin Trillin who is an op-ed writer for the New Yorker and the playwright of About Alice.

After even just a few days in one of the theatre capitals of the word, Ball and the other 13 students returned home from New York with a more-advanced, hands-on understanding of the industry in which they plan to pursue careers.