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Directors are storytellers. They bring the words of the playwright to life through the inventiveness of the actor in the world of the designer. As a young director begins a journey toward a career in the theater, it's important they learn not only the craft of directing, but gain insight into the stories they want to tell.

Directing students at Webster are exposed to a wide variety of coursework, both in the department and across campus. Classes in Theater include Voice, Movement and Acting; Visual History, Fundamentals of Design and Lighting; History of Theatre, Stage Management and Directing. In the senior year of study, students spend the fall semester at Webster's London campus. Upon their return, they will direct a capstone project in their final semester. Unique to Webster's Directing Program is the department's affiliation with The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. In the junior year, directing students assist on a production at St. Louis' LORT Theatre.

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Directing Academic Programs

Read about specific program requirements, learning outcomes and how to apply:


Additional Information

  1. Two Contemporary Monologues. These should be realism and should not exceed three (3) minutes combined. They will be performed for a Webster faculty member;
  2. A Portfolio. Any theater experiences should be represented. If you have directed a play or scene or assisted on a project, bring materials from that work (pictures, video, promptbook, program, etc.). We also understand that students interested in the directing program might have little or no formal directing experience. For that reason the portfolio might also include work in other arts, such as acting, design, choreography, opera, singing, photography, video, film, painting, design or writing. Share your artistic interests.
  3. Write an Essay. This is separate from the essay you wrote for admission to Webster University. Write a 750-1,000 word essay on ONE of the following topics. This should be a separate essay from the one required by the University. The following are suggestions for this essay:
    • Tell a compelling story from your life (or someone you know) and describe how you would bring it to the stage.
    • What surprises/inspires you most about your experiences with live performance and give an example of how you might create such a moment yourself?
    • Describe how you would go about sharing your passion for the theatre with children and give an example of a project you could direct to demonstrate that passion.


Directing I
Directing I explores the art of storytelling, by first asking, "what is the story" and then deciphering "what are the pictures and staging that will best compliment the text." Directing is both a craft and an interpretive art. The class provides the student with the fundamental tools of direction: play analysis, staging and composition, research and rehearsal process, culminating in the presentation of a short scene.


Directing II
This class continues the process of developing analytical and compositional techniques as well as an examination of the history of directing. Exploration of rehearsal process is expanded and a dialogue will begin regarding communication with designers and actors. In Directing II the student has an opportunity to direct fellow conservatory members in a short work.

In Directing III and IV, the student director's work is presented on scheduled Tuesdays. These ETS (Every Tuesday) are attended by the entire performance area.

Directing III
In Directing III coursework will include  approaches for the use of light and sound, initial discussions on the meaning of "concept", and practical assessments of individual directing work. In this class the student will have the opportunity to direct a longer scene or one-act. The class will focus on auditioning, preparing to go into rehearsal and developing techniques for creative exploration and problem solving in the production process.


Directing IV
In Directing IV, the class provides the director with the opportunity to work on material that best fits their personal interests. This class begins the process of identifying what it means to have a "voice" as a director. An introduction to directing Shakespeare will be explored along with exercises in directing style.The issue of non-realism and what implications that work has on analysis, visual storytelling and actor coaching will be covered in this class. Again, each student will analyze, research and direct an ET of their choosing.

Directing Seminar
This class includes sophomore, junior and senior directors. In seminar, student directors evaluate current projects, research contemporary theatrical trends, prepare staged readings, focus on specific directing topics and discuss a particular book each semester (ex: On Directing, Directors in Rehearsal).


Senior Capstone/Reading List
In the final semester of study at Webster, the directing candidate will be tested over the Reading List. A well rounded director needs a fundamental knowledge of dramatic literature. This list is designed to introduce the student to a wide range of literature. In the final semester the student will also research, cast and rehearse a capstone production to be designed in conjunction with the Performance and Design Faculty.

Capstone Syllabus

Each directing class has a component of rehearsal and presentation. In Directing II students will direct freshmen actors in a short piece. In Directing III and IV students will direct sophomores in longer pieces to be presented on Tuesday afternoons for the full performance department. In the Senior Capstone, students will direct a full-length play. 

As a freshman in the acting class, you will appear in a Directing II scene in the late spring. There are local companies who conduct open auditions in the St. Louis area. These opportunities need to be cleared through the department.

Since the Directing program is a BA, directing students have more freedom to take on particular interests. Previous students have pursued business, English, art and religious studies courses. Others have taken additional classes within the Conservatory with permission of the instructor.

Although you are being accepted as a director and not an actor, it's important to take time to prepare for this aspect of the audition. In part, the monologues are used for placement purposes for the freshman acting class and in part, to see what you, as a young director, think about acting.

We recruit from all over the U.S. We also recruit internationally and have had students from Costa Rica and Japan, to name a few countries.

Because we share our space with two professional companies, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, there are many opportunities to watch directors working. Each directing candidate will be assigned an assistant directing position within the Conservatory, as well as one with the St. Louis Repertory Theatre. Beyond that, students have volunteered to assist on other shows, both for the Conservatory and the Rep. We also have a professional relationship with The Muny, St. Louis' premiere summer musical theatre. Students have worked alongside directors for The Muny, as well.

Student Work

Machinal, Mackenzie Finklea, 2020
Miss You Like Hell, Gaby Rodriguez, 2020
Photograph 51, Trace Turner, 2019
She Kills Monster, Gio Bakunawa, 2018
Fly By Night, Brooke Viegut, 2018
Next Fall, Melaina Ricks, 2017
Rhinoceros, Max Friedman, 2017
The Cockfight Play, James Kolditz, 2016
Mr. Burns: a post-electric play, Daniella Wheelock, 2016
Honk!, Michael Fling, 2015
The Last Five Years, Jacob Farmer, 2015

Reckless, Austin Cooke, 2014
Eurydice, Anne Kreitman, 2013
The Pig Iron People, Rachel Roberts, 2013
Dinner With Friends, Michael Raymond, 2012
100 Saints You Should Know, Meghan Aul, 2012
Nevermore, Sharon Albaladejo, 2012
The Receptionist, Kaytlin McIntyre, 2011
A Year With Frog And Toad, Janet Howe, 2011
The Wonderful World of Dissocia, Matt Wills 2011
Dancing at Lughnasa, Shelley Carter, 2009
Betrayal, Karyn DeYoung, 2009
Private Eyes, Phillip Allen, 2007
You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, Nick Eilerman, 2007
Frankie and Johnny at the Claire de Lune, Rachel Blackburn, 2005
Scotland Road, Andy Ottoson, 2005
Woyzeck, Stephanie Acosta, 2004
As Bees In Honey Drown, Daren Leonard, 2003
The Shape Of Things, Michelle Bossy, 2002

Aeschylus - The Oresteia 
Aristophanes - Lysistrata 
Euripides - Medea
Sophocles - Oedipus Rex 
Plautus - The Menaechmi

Anonymous - Everyman 
Calderon - Life is a Dream 
Lope de Vega - Fuente Ovejuna
Marlowe - The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus
Moliere - Tartuffe 
Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream; Romeo & Juliet; Hamlet; Othello; King Lear; Henry V; The Tempest

Behn - The Rover
Congreve - The Way of the World 
Goldsmith - She Stoops to Conquer 
Ibsen - Hedda Gabler 
Sheridan - The School for Scandal 
Strindberg - Miss Julie
Wedekind - Spring's Awakening
Wilde - The Importance of Being Earnest
Wycherley - The Country Wife

Beckett - Waiting for Godot
Brecht - Mother Courage
Buchner - Woyzek
Chekov  -The Cherry Orchard; The Sea Gull
Coward - Private Lives 
Genet  -The Balcony 
Ionesco - Rhinoceros 
Lorca - Blood Wedding 
Pinter - The Birthday Party
Pirandello - Six Characters in Search of an Author
Sartre - No Exit
Shaw - Pygmalion; Misalliance
Weiss Marat/Sade

Hansberry - A Raisin in the Sun 
Hellman – The Children’s Hour 
Inge - Picnic
Kaufman & Hart - You Can't Take It with You
Miller - Death of a Salesman
O'Neill - Ah, Wilderness 
Odets - Waiting for Lefty 
Treadwell - Machinal
Wilder - Our Town
Williams - A Streetcar Named Desire

Churchill - Top Girls
Friel - Dancing at Lughnasa
Fugard Master - Harold and the Boys
Kane - Blasted
McDonagh - The Cripple of Inishmaan 
Osbourne - Look Back in Anger
Reza - God of Carnage
Shaffer - Equus
Stoppard - Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Wertenbaker - Our Country's Good

Abaire - Rabbit Hole
Albee - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Baker – The Flick
Cleage -  Blues for an Alabama Sky
Cruz – Anna in the Tropics
Durang - The Baby With The Bath Water 
Eno - Middletown
Fornes - Conduct of Life 
Fuller - A Soldier's Play 
Gilman - Spinning Into Butter 
Gotanda - The Wash
Guare - House of Blue Leaves 
Hwang - M. Butterfly
Hudes – Water by the Spoonful
Jones - Dutchman
Joseph – Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo
Kramer - The Normal Heart
Kushner-  Angels in America: The Millenium Approaches
Lopez - Real Women Have Curves 
Mamet - American Buffalo 
Muchado - Broken Eggs
Norman - Getting Out 
Nottage – Ruined, Sweat
O’Harris – The Slave Play
Overmeyer - On The Verge 
Pamatmat – Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them
Parks – Top Dog/Under Dog
Rebeck - Seminar 
Ruhl - Eurydice, The Vibrator Play
Sanchez-Scott – Roosters
Santeiro – Our Lady of the Tortilla
Shange - For Colored Girls...
Shanley - Doubt
Shepard - True West 
Simon -  Brighton Beach Memoirs
Smith - Fires in the Mirror
Solis – Lydia
Svich – The House of Spirits
Valdez - Zoot Suit
Wilson, August - Fences 
Wilson, Lanford - Fifth of July
Wolfe – The Colored Museum

Bernstein, Sondheim & Laurents - West Side Story 
Bock, Harnick & Stein - Fiddler on the Roof 
Buoblil, Schonberg & Kertzmer - Les Miserables 
Flaherty & Ahrens - Ragtime: The Musical 
Hamlisch, Kirkwood & Dante - A Chorus Line
Herman & Stewart - Hello Dolly 
Jones & Schmidt - The Fantastiks 
Kander & Ebb & Masteroff - Cabaret 
Kern & Hammerstein - Show Boat 
LaChiusa - Hello Again
Larson - Rent
Lerner & Loewe - My Fair Lady 
MacDermot, Rado & Ragni - Hair 
Miranda - Hamilton
Porter & Spewack - Kiss Me Kate 
Rodgers & Hammerstein - Oklahoma 
Schwartz, Holzman - Wicked
Sondheim & Lapine - Sunday in the Park With George
Sondheim & Wheeler - Sweeney Todd 
Styne, Sondheim & Laurents  -Gypsy 
Weill & Hughes - Street Scene
Weber & Rice - Evita

Brook The Empty Space
Clurman On Directing
Crich & Chinoy Directors on Directing
Hodge Play Directing: Analysis, Communication and Style
Deer Directing in Musical Theatre: An Essential Guide


Audition Information Page



Doug Finlayson
Head of Directing