First-Year Acting

First-year drama students participate in many rehearsal projects, which are primarily exercises in which students learn how to use the rehearsal process to work on a role in the context of an entire play. The rehearsal projects are developed to a point at which they are shared at two or three open run-throughs with an audience of Juilliard students, staff, and faculty. They are not “produced” and are intended to be rehearsed and shown with only basic rehearsal clothes, furniture, and props. 

Second-Year Acting

In the second year of training (as in the first), roles are often assigned primarily to serve the needs of the students' training rather than the demands of the play. Students do not audition for roles and all casting is done by the faculty with the aim of furthering students' development. 

Third-Year Acting

Fall semester

  • Three low-budget productions adding in elements of costumes, props, lighting, music, and scenery

Spring semester

  • Annual Cabaret project, performed in a 70-seat studio theater

  • Shakespeare Repertory: Two fully produced plays, performed in the 184-seat Stephanie P. McClelland Drama Theater and open to the public

Below are recent photos of third-year drama productions. 

Fourth-Year Acting

Fall semester

  • Playwrights Festival: Staged presentations of three new plays written by current and alumni Juilliard playwrights

  • Staged readings of two new works by current writers: Presented at the Signature Theatre on New York City’s Theater Row

  • Three fully produced plays: Performed for the general public as well as agents, casting directors, and others in the profession in the Stephanie P. McClelland Theater

Spring semester

  • Fourth-Year Repertory: Three plays, running concurrently, in the Stephanie P. McClelland Theater

  • Actor Presentations: The graduating class presents an evening of scenes to more than 600 members of the industry in New York and Los Angeles

The Fall Season

Juilliard Drama's fall 2014 season for fourth-year actors featured plays by three Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights: Lynn Nottage’s By the Way, Meet Vera Stark; David Lindsay-Abaire’s Rabbit Hole; and Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: Part I – Millennium Approaches. 

Spring Repertory

The spring repertory plays were produced in February 2014, featuring The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? by Edward Albee, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch; Shakespeare's Macbeth in a four character/all-female version, adapted and directed by Erica Schmidt; and Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman, directed by Moni Yakim.

Opportunities for Playwrights and Actors

Playwright Labs

Twice monthly readings of new work by our writers, cast using actors from all years of training and often including alumni and guest artists. Labs are moderated by David Lindsay-Abaire and Marsha Norman, co-directors of the Playwrights Program.

PlayTime Readings

A student-driven opportunity to hear a play read aloud in an informal setting. This series happens quarterly and is designed to meet the needs of developing a new work at any stage of the writing process.


In addition to the Playwrights Festival and ongoing Labs:

  • The first year culminates with a showcase evening, where playwright fellows present their work to industry professionals from New York and around the country.

  • Playwright fellows are frequently invited to continue their studies for a second academic year, during which they collaborate with professional directors to present a public workshop or staged reading of a full-length play.