20 credit hours or 5 course credits

Fall '14 Semester: Sep. 7 - Dec. 14  |  Spring '15 Semester: Jan. 25 - May 3 

Risk. Fail. Risk. Again.

Imagine an entire semester devoted to studying theater. Only theater. Every person there is utterly devoted to the same thing. A community of theater practitioners all working towards the same goals.

That is the National Theater Institute. It is a bootcamp for writers, singers, actors, composers, directors, and dancers who are high school graduates, undergraduates, or post-graduates seeking a launching pad into the professional world through intensive, credit-earning training. The National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center is the place where master teachers and industry professionals choose to teach.

NTI is the place where aspiring theatermakers meet one another, share a common experience, language, and work ethic, and go on to create their own work for decades afterwards – ensuring the future of American theater. NTI is where actors find they are also playwrights, where directors find they are also designers and dancers. NTI is where new composers, directors, writers, designers, actors find their calling, and realize that they can do it all.

NTI is the place where these young artists come to learn, to practice, to reach, to build, to research, to stretch, to listen, to question, to act – to Risk. Fail. and Risk Again.

“I experienced things and grew in ways I never expected. It’s really plain and simple...without the 14 weeks I spent at NTI, there’s no way I would be an actor. None.”

– John Krasinski, NTI Fall ‘01
Actor, Writer, and Director
“The Office” & Promised Land


ACTING (NTI-300) The National Theater Institute is not imprisoned in any one method; it embraces those appropriate to the individual text. Emphasis on the art and craft of acting designed to enable the students to free the imagination and enhance their versatility. Classes include scene study, improvisation, audition preparation, and styles. Classes concentrate on strengthening the actor’s intelligence, imagination, and physical connection. Students will work with text from Shakespeare to Robert O’Hara; Sophie Treadwell to Sarah Kane; and Chekhov to Charles L. Mee. Guest artists teach specific workshops in auditioning, ensemble, and devised theater. Past guest artists include The Debate Society and co-founder of The NeoFuturists, Greg Allen.

DIRECTING (NTI-201) All students direct scenes and short performance pieces during the semester. Although the emphasis is on directing scenes from classic and contemporary plays during the theater labs, students also direct found texts, devised pieces, and choreographic scores. NTI is a laboratory– students and their fellow ensemble members create a world that they may not be able to inhabit in any other class, space, or place.


DESIGN (NTI-210) Celebrating the power of visual theater through exploration of a classical and a contemporary play, students are encouraged to explore individual perceptions and interpretations of text in physical form and are challenged to find clear ways to communicate visually.


MOVEMENT AND VOICE (NTI-310) Classes in both vocal technique and production along with dance and movement techniques for the actor. Movement classes include: Tai Chi, Droznin Russian movement, Biomechanics, yoga, dance, and stage combat. Voice training covers Linklater method, dialect work, and singing.


PLAYWRITING (NTI-202) Designed to assist aspiring writers in their development through a great variety of projects reflecting the range of contemporary theater. After a series of introductory exercises, students concentrate on writing a 30-minute play with the course culminating in Playwrights Week, a week-long presentation of the student plays. 

Connecticut College is the school of record for all six programs of the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. One semester of academic credit (20 credit hours or 5 course credits) is awarded to undergraduates who successfully complete the NTI semester. At the end of the semester, final grades are reported to Connecticut College where they are recorded by official transcript and forwarded to the student’s college or university registrar upon request.

Connecticut College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.  Visit these two links for more information regarding NTI’s relationship with Connecticut College:


During any one semester students train with as many as 30 core faculty members and guest artists, all of whom work professionally in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London and other major theater centers around the world. Due to professional obligations, faculty may vary each semester.


Adam Bock: Playwrights Week
NTI Alum. Award-winning published playwright and teacher.  In NYC: The Receptionist at Manhattan Theatre Club, The Thugs at SoHo Rep, and The Drunken City at Playwrights Horizons.  Resident playwright at Encores Theater in NYC. Member of the MCC Playwrights’ Coalition and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. 


Per Brahe: Mask
World-renowned mask teacher and master teacher at Michael Chekhov technique. Workshops at the Stella Adler Academy, the International Michael Chekhov Conference and the Actors Center. Faculty member at the Yale School of Drama and NYU Tisch School of the Arts.


Elaine Bromka: Acting with the Camera
NTI Alum. Extensive film, TV, Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theater work.  The mom in Uncle Buck, Emmy award winner for Catch a Rainbow


Michael Cadman: Visiting Associate Artistic Director
A Graduate of The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and before that a leading member of Britain’s National Youth Theatre, Michael Cadman has enjoyed a long career in British theater, television and film.  After five years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, he began teaching at NTI in 1994 and was NTI’s Artistic Director from 2006-2008.


David Chandler: Tai Chi and Stage Combat
Teaching credits include: Ensemble Studio Theater, INTAR Theater, Omega Institute and Connecticut College. Fight Choreographer for Yale Shakespeare Club and Wellesley Shakespeare Club.  Director, Eagle’s Quest Tai Chi Center.


Peg Denithorne: Acting/Directing
Director and teacher for over 20 years.  Ensemble Studio Theatre, Circle Rep LAB, Juilliard in NYC; Theater J, Rep Stage in DC.  Has taught in MFA Acting/Directing programs at Rutgers, Catholic University and Johns Hopkins. Artistic Director: New York State Summer School of the Arts.


Donna Dinovelli: Playwriting
Writer for musical theater, stage and radio.  MTC Fellow, Richard Rogers Award finalist.  Faculty, Graduate Music Theater Writing at Tisch.  Work performed at: New York City Opera, Joseph Papp Public Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Guthrie Theater and broadcast by the BBC.


Colman Domingo: Acting & Auditioning
Broadway: Passing Strange (the musical), Chicago and The Scottsboro Boys.  Off-Broadway credits: The Public Theater, MCC, NYSF and the Summer Play Festival. Regional credits: A.C.T., Berkeley Rep, The Guthrie, Huntington and San Jose Rep. 


Wendy C. Goldberg: Directing
Artistic Director of the O’Neill’s National Playwrights Conference.  Directing credits: Actors Theater of Louisville, Denver Center, Florida Stage, Mark Taper Forum, New Dramatists, Playwrights Horizons, and Woolly Mammoth.


Marcus Gardley: Advanced Playwriting
Award winning poet and playwright.  2008 Helen Merrill Award,  SF Bay Area’s Gerbode Emerging Playwright Award, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre Award, NEA/TCG Playwriting Participant Residency, and many others.  Commissions: New York State Council on the Arts, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Shotgun Players, South Coast Repertory and Yale Repertory Theatre. MFA in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama and is a member of New Dramatists and the Lark Play Development Center.


Elizabeth Hess: Acting
Broadway: M. Butterfly.  Off-Broadway and regional performances at Manhattan Theatre Club, Samuel Beckett Theater, UBU Rep, Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey, Denver Center, McCarter, Cleveland Playhouse.  Television:  Law & Order; Guiding LightAll My ChildrenAnother World; and five seasons starring on Clarissa Explains It All.   Film: Soldier’s Heart; A Bedtime Story; Italian Lessons and Buddy & Grace.  Graduate of LAMDA, faculty of NYU Tisch and Fordham University theater programs.


Rachel Jett: Droznin Russian Movement
NTI and MATS Alum. Former member, Stanislavsky Theatre Studio, Washington, DC. Trained at the Schukin College of Theater Arts, Vakhtangov Theatre, Russia.  Movement protégé to Andrei Droznin. 


Brian McManamon: Contemporary Acting
In New York: MCC Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Youngblood, P.S. 122, Target Margin Theater, the BE Company and company member of the Lynx Theater and The Lark Theatre’s Playground.   Regional: Hamlet at Burning Coal, American Buffalo and Skylight at The New Repertory Theater, Single Lives at Boston Playwrights’ Theater, The Three Of Cups at the Provincetown Theater Company.  Studied at BADA with Mark-Wing Davey and Caryl Churchill , MFA Yale School of Drama. 


G. W. Mercier: Scenic Design
Tony Award nominee and two-time Drama Desk nominee.  Broadway credits include Juan Darien, A Carnival Mass by Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal, and Ballad of Little Jo.  Off-Broadway credits include Dead Man’s Cell Phone by Sara Ruhl at Playwrights Horizons.


Erica Schmidt: Directing
NTI Alum. Directing credits include: Shakespeare at The Public Theater; new works at Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, Play Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York Stage and Film; Paper Mill Playhouse, Bard SummerScape. 


Rebecca B. Taichman: Directing
NTI Alum. Off-Broadway: Theresa Rebeck’s The Scene with Tony Shalhoub.  Directing credits at Yale Rep, Woolly Mammoth, The Shakespeare Theatre, The Huntington, OBIE winner, Menopausal Gentleman.  Production work with Anna Deveare Smith. Drama League Fellow. 


Eric Ting: Directing
Associate Artistic Director, Long Wharf Theatre.  Winner, Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Best Director, Underneath the Lintel (Long Wharf).  Work with American Repertory Theater, Hartford Stage, Opera Boston. Recipient, 2004-2006 TCG New Generations Future Leaders Fellowship.


Anne Tofflemire: Singing
Backstage Bistro award winning Cabaret and stage performer, with notable performances from DC to San Francisco and London’s West End.


Marya Ursin: Yoga and Mask Making
Artistic Director, writer, performer: Mystic Paper Beasts; Director, the Dragon’s Egg. Currently a dancer in the NYC based company SITU.  Trained and taught at Merce Cunningham Studio; L’Ecole de Mime Marceau, Paris.  Licensed massage therapist and yoga instructor.


Preston Whiteway: Producing for Theater
Serves as the Executive Director of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, overseeing its programs and directing strategic planning and fundraising efforts.  He received a BA in Economics from Duke University.


Derron M. Wood: Puppetry, Directing
Executive Artistic Director, Flock Theatre; Associate Artist, National Puppetry Conference.  Twenty years directing, New England region and Off-Broadway. Recipient, Connecticut Master Teaching Artist.  Studied under Morris Carnovsky. NTI Alum.

Jonathan Bernstein

Julie Foh

Derrick Yanford

Michelle Bach-Coulibaly

Kim Weild

Kym Moore

Davis McCallum

Kia Corthran

Gisela Cardenas

As NTI is interested in diverse international educational and theatrical experiences, two weeks of the semester are spent studying abroad.  While abroad, students study intensively with master teachers and see a wide range of theater as well as visit museums and cultural sites.


Most recently, the ensemble has trained with Complicite, one of Europe’s most important theater companies whose award-winning productions of classics and group-devised pieces tour around the world. The Independent called Complicite “the greatest creator in theatre in this country.” Led by Artistic Director Simon McBurney, Complicite’s performances have ranged from entirely group-devised work to theatrical adaptations and revivals of classic texts.  These workshops explore familiar Complicite themes: the use of masks, the manipulation of objects, the ensemble, improvisation, and games. In addition to daily training with Complicite, the ensemble sees shows, visits museums and cultural sites, and participates in master classes with special guest artists. 

Extremely intensive and creatively challenging, this week-long project is dedicated to the development, reading, and staging of up to 15 new 30-minute plays created by students during the NTI semester.

Playwrights Week

Each semester ends with an ensemble project which allows students to participate in all facets of the production, including acting, directing, writing, design, and choreography. The project is selected specifically for each class. This work-in-progress has two public performances.

NTI Fall 2013 Company Debut

See NTI in motion: follow NTI on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more photos, video, program updates, campus insights, and to meet the next generation of theater artists.

Thank you for your interest in applying to the National Theater Institute! We look forward to reviewing your application and learning about your artistic aspirations, professional goals and educational background.  Please contact us at nti@theoneill.org or 860-443-5378 x226 as questions arise about the application process.

Note: Early applications are encouraged. 

Dates and Fees
Fall 2014: September 7 to December 14, 2014
Spring 2015: January 25 to May 3, 2015

Tuition: $16,650 (includes $900 non-refundable reservation deposit)
Room & Board: $7,900 (meals served 7 days a week)

Total Comprehensive Fee: $24,550 

Application Deadlines
Early applications are encouraged and may receive early acceptance.  To ensure full consideration, please submit your application by March 20 for fall semesters and October 20 for spring semesters.

Admission Requirements
Applicants must have a minimum of a high school diploma, GED, or demonstrate the ability to benefit. The National Theater Institute welcomes applicants undertaking a gap-year (between secondary school and university), undergraduate students, post-graduates, and professionals looking for a broad-based theatrical training intensive. 

In our selection process, we look for a proven ability to handle the demands of disciplined theater work and to be a positive and contributing member of an ensemble. Successful applicants demonstrate a clear understanding of the opportunities and challenges of an intensive semester of study as well as a determination to complete the chosen program in a conscientious manner.

Finalists for each program will be notified to schedule an interview in person, via Skype, or by phone. 

Application Process
NTI uses Submittable to help you manage your application. Please create an account to track your progress. We know it can often take a little time to polish the essay, decide between semesters, or pick your favorite headshot (though NTI doesn’t require anything fancy--just a photo that looks like you). This application allows you to start your application, save it, and submit it on your time.

You may also submit by mailing a complete application to:
National Theater Institute
305 Great Neck Road
Waterford, CT 06385 

Application Materials
All materials may be submitted as part of your online application using Submittable or mailed to NTI.

  • NTI Online Application (or Hardcopy)
  • Official college transcript(s) (or official secondary school record(s) for gap-year applicants)
  • An essay describing how a specific program with the National Theater Institute can help fulfill your aspirations in theater.
  • A completed Evaluation Form from two teachers or qualified professionals familiar with your theater experience. These can be sent electronically to nti@theoneill.org by your school official and/or evaluators
  • A theater resume
  • Headshot 
  • A non-refundable $40 application fee. Checks payable to “Eugene O’Neill Theater Center”

Twelve-College Exchange Students: Please file a Twelve-College Exchange application (available at your school) with the appropriate administrator prior to submitting your NTI application if you attend Amherst, Bowdoin, Connecticut College, Dartmouth, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Trinity, Vassar, Wellesley, Wesleyan, Wheaton or Williams.