8 credit hours or 2 course credits
Summer '14: June 13 - July 27 | Summer '15: June 12 - July 26 


Since 1964, summers at the O'Neill have been a hotbed of creative collaboration. From August Wilson's Fences to Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx, and Jeff Whitty's Avenue Q, the O'Neill's professional conferences have developed work that has shaped the American theater.By joining Theatermakers you become part of that tradition.

This six-week summer program is designed for students who are self-driven and want to sharpen their the­ater skills: as an actor, director, or playwright. The Theatermakers summer intensive has three core components: an intensive regimen of classes and workshops with professional artists; a public presentation of three new plays each week created by the Theatermakers; and integration into the O’Neill’s professional develop­mental Conferences (the National Playwrights and National Music Theater Conferences) through observing the rehearsal process and being mentored by the professional artists. Only a small ensemble of about 18 students (actors, directors, and writers) is admitted into this highly selective program to ensure an intimate class size, focused attention from instructors, and close-knit mentorships with the professional artists.

 "Theatermakers was an incredible opportunity for me to create dynamic work with unbelievably talented peers. I recommend it to anyone who is considering a career in acting, writing or directing. It will give you a big push in the right direction."

- Caitlin O'Connell, Theatermakers '08, NTI Fall '08

"Theatermakers smacked me with an ultimatum to recalibrate my mind: If you decide to stay a student, you'll only be a student. If you decide you are committed to the theater as a way of life, you are already a professional."

-Alexandra Bassett, Theatermakers '07, NTI Fall '05

THE COLLABORATIVE EXPERIENCE (NTI-470) A focus on: ensemble-build­ing; new play development; and the collaborative relationship between actor, director, and playwright. The course begins with a series of work­shops to explore the process rehearsal, cooperation, and creating stron­ger events for the stage. Students learn to turn obstacles into creative opportunities; and to build an environment of respect, freedom, and re­sponsibility. Each week students create a new group of one-act plays in which they write, direct, or act. These works-in-progress are performed for the community of professionals in residence at the O’Neill and the public.

ACTING INTENSIVE (NTI-473) Students sharpen skills and heighten perfor­mance-readiness through intensive classes in contemporary scene-study, as well as workshops in movement, improvisation, and audi­tioning. Students serve as the acting company for the Theatermakers’ playwrights and directors and maintain a rigorous rehearsal schedule for the weekly public performances. In addition, students observe and assist on one of the National Playwrights or National Music Theater Conference projects.

PLAYWRITING INTENSIVE (NTI-472)  Builds on established playwriting tech­niques through in-class exercises and the creation of a new one-act play each week. Classes help strengthen the playwright’s voice while also exploring new styles and dramatic structures. Students observe and assist one of the writers in either the National Playwrights or National Music Theater Conferences, through daily interaction.

DIRECTING INTENSIVE (NTI-471)  Students hone directing skills through rehearsals of scenes from contemporary American and international plays. Emphasis is on expanding and clarifying the approach to movement, imagery, the text, theatrical use of space, and work with the actor. Students also observe and assist on one of the National Playwrights or National Music Theater Conferences, working as an Assistant Director and attend Conference rehearsals and performances.

The O’Neill’s found­ing, world-renowned program pioneered the staged reading. Play­wrights are teamed with professionals to engage in a six-day-a-week process. Plays are selected from a national open submissions process, a key feature of the Conference. More than 650 plays have been developed at the O’Neill since 1964. John Guare, Wendy Wasserstein, August Wilson, Julia Cho, David Lindsay-Abaire, John Patrick Shanley, Kia Corthron, Adam Rapp, and many more. Wendy C. Goldberg, Artistic Director.

Since 1978, NMTC has supported the development of more than 100 new music theater works that have succeeded at regional theaters and on and Off-Broadway. Broadway shows that were developed at the NMTC: Arthur Kopit, Mario Fratti, and Maury Yeston’s Nine (NMTC 1979); Avenue Q (NMTC 2002) by Jeff Whitty, Jeff Marx, and Robert Lopez; and Quiara Alegría Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights (NMTC 2005). Paulette Haupt, Artistic Director.


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.

Dates and Fees
Summer 2014: June 13 to July 27, 2014
Summer 2015: June 12 to July 26, 2015

Tuition: $5,000 (includes $900 non-refundable reservation deposit)
Room & Board: $3,250 (meals served 7 days a week)

Total Comprehensive Fee: $8,250 

Application Deadlines
Early applications are encouraged and may receive early acceptance.  To ensure full consideration, please submit your application by March 20, 2014.

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 (and/or audition for Theatermakers acting).  A Skype interview is available if an on-campus interview is not possible. 

Application Process

NTI uses Submittable to help you manage your application. Please create an account below so that you can 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. Should you have any questions please contact us at nti@theoneill.org.

You may also submit by mailing your completed 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 at 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” 

The Second Step: Selection as a Finalist: When all application materials are received, you will be notified by phone and/or email that your file is complete.  Your initial application will be reviewed.  If you are chosen as an applicant finalist, you will be contacted to submit additional materials relative to your chosen focus (see below), and for an interview and/or audition:

  • Acting: One contemporary monologue, one classical monologue (if you chose Shakespeare, please use a verse selection rather than a prose piece) and one reserve monologue of your choosing from Anton Chekov to present day. Please prepare to present the first two monologues and note that the interviewer may ask for the reserve monologue as additional material to review. Your selections should be no longer than two minutes each.
  • Directing: A portfolio of your directing work thus far, i.e. production or rehearsal photos and also short clips of your work on DVDs, a website, or YouTube.  We are not looking for quantity of photos or recordings, but the quality of your directing work: your directorial voice, your style, and your technique.  NOTE: These may be emailed to NTI if you prefer to send us electronic copies; email to nti@theoneill.org
  • Playwriting: Send us 2 or 3 scripts of yours that best showcase your voice and your work; these could be one-act plays or full-length plays. Please do not submit film or television scripts.  We are not looking for quantity but the quality of your writing: your voice, your style and your technique.  NOTE: These may be emailed to NTI if you prefer to send us electronic copies; email to nti@theoneill.org.

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.