The OSA School of Theatre is an intensive training program which prepares students for post-secondary education and employment in theatre performance, creation, and scholarship. The faculty is comprised of working theatre artists and accomplished scholars who offer both instruction and mentorship, and who represent areas of specialty which cover a wide range of genres, styles, and historical periods.

Our middle school curriculum is a deeply immersive introduction to various types of theatre art which prepares students to declare a major in our high school program and for auditions and internships at outside theatre companies. Students build core skills in ensemble-based learning, characterization, theatre literacy, and text analysis. Each year one mainstage production is dedicated to our middle school population and they are also a core part of the acting company for our New Works Festival.

Our high school program offers coursework that has been certified as university-level training. High school students major in one of three areas: Acting, Musical Theatre, and Playwriting & Production.

  • Acting: Students receive intensive training in all areas of acting from theory to practice. Over their four years, acting majors are exposed to numerous theories of characterization, including those of Stanislavski and the theorists who worked before and after him. A focus is placed on developing the body and the voice as instruments of acting craft, and students are asked to explore more intrapersonal work on risk-taking and self-reflection. Over four years students tackle text and practice from Ancient Greece to the present day. 

  • Musical Theatre: Students in this major focus equally on singing, dance, and acting. By the time they graduate, students will have taken courses in the core dance styles required of a musical theatre artist today (ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop), courses on vocal technique grounded in classical and jazz practices, and intensive scene study and characterization courses specifically geared toward the musical theatre actor. Students are introduced to various methods for creating authentic characterizations utilizing song, text, and dance. 

  • Playwriting & Production: This major is unique in the country at the high school level for the depth of education in theatre creation and producing (students in this major do not receive training in technical theatre). A significant amount of the student's time is spent in playwriting and play development. Unlike a standard creative writing program, students in this major focus exclusively on producing performance texts. Students also get in-depth training through all four years in dramaturgy, directing, stage management, literary management, and producing traditional and non-traditional theatre. Students in this major write for (and produce) the annual New Works Festival. 

Each year high school students across all three majors have the opportunity to participate in a mainstage production where two or more plays are produced and performed in rotating repertory.

Over the past several years our students have been offered admission to the finest BFA programs in the country in various areas of theatre craft, including: NYU, CalArts, UCLA, USC, DePaul University, Emerson College, and University of the Arts among others. In addition, our students routinely appear onstage and in production roles at major regional theatres including SF Playhouse, Crowded Fire Theatre, and CenterREP and are sought by producers and casting agents for film and television. The School of Theatre has ongoing partnerships with such respected arts organizations as the San Francisco Opera, The Flight Deck, Crowded Fire Theatre, Ubuntu Theatre Project, and Magic Theatre.

For more information about the program please contact Matthew Travisano, Chair of the School of Theatre, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

church poster oakland productionDirected by Matthew Travisano
Produced in association with Crowded Fire Theatre

The School of Theatre is proud to present Young Jean Lee's extraordinary play CHURCH. One of America's most daring and provocative playwrights, Lee has created an experimental play which takes the form of an exuberant church service and offers a nuanced take on religion and faith. This Bay Area premiere is produced in association with Crowded Fire Theatre, one of the Bay Area's leading professional theatre companies dedicated to experimental and genre-defying work.

Wed Oct 24 - Sat Oct 27 (all shows 7pm)
Historic Sweet's Ballroom
Tickets: https://oakarts.tix.com 
$20 Adults, $15 Seniors, $5 students

[Note: Oct 24 performance is pay-what-you-can]

Oct 5-6: I'm Coming Out: An LGBTQA+ Cabaret by Cindy Goldfield & Lynden Bair 
Oct 24-27: Church by Young Jean Lee 
Jan 31-Feb 3: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by Rachel Sheinkin & William Finn  
Feb 14-Feb 16: V-Day + New Works Festival 2019 
Feb 28-Mar 3: Hamlet by William Shakespeare 
Apr 25-May 5: Latinx Theatre Festival (full stagings and staged readings)  

News: OSA School of Theatre Partnering With Professional Theatres!  

This year the OSA School of Theatre is producing two of its mainstage shows in collaboration with local professional theatre companies. Young Jean Lee's Church is being produced in association with Crowded Fire Theatre, the Bay Area's leading incubator of new work. Later in the year Hamlet is being produced in association with Ubuntu Theatre Project, Oakland's leading professional ensemble theatre. Each play will be presented by our producing partner and then by the OSA School of Theatre with its own cast and production crew. We're excited to partner with these two highly respected theatre companies and create spaces in which students can learn alongside established artists.  

Season Brochure can be downloaded here.

Im Coming Out POSTER
Created by Cindy Goldfield & Lynden Bair

Directed by Cindy Goldfield

The School of Theatre is proud to present I'M COMING OUT, an evening of songs by and about the LGBTQA+ community from the American musical song book, featuring students from the School of Theatre and the School of Vocal Music. This world premiere cabaret event is presented in honor of National Coming Out Day and National LGBT History Month.

Friday Oct 5 & Friday Oct 6 (all shows 7pm)
Historic Sweet's Ballroom
Tickets: https://oakarts.tix.com
$20 Adults, $15 Seniors, $5 students