USC School of Dramatic Arts

School of Dramatic Arts Student Emergency Fund

Students at the USC School of Dramatic Arts (SDA) are facing unprecedented challenges and financial hardships because of the recent pandemic. Many of our students are experiencing unforeseen circumstances such as a sudden loss of income, resulting in an inability to pay tuition or meet basic food needs. In response, the school has created the SDA Student Emergency Fund to direct important resources to those who find themselves with urgent financial needs. The fund will provide our students with the support they need so they can stay focused on their education.

The SDA Student Emergency Fund provides emergency aid for areas including the following:

  • Food insecurity
  • Unforeseen Travel Expenses
  • Emergency Tuition
  • Housing instability
  • Access to necessary technology as required for remote learning and course participation

Donations to the SDA Student Emergency Fund will directly support eligible students’ most urgent needs as they adapt to changing circumstances. The assistance this fund will provide has the potential to have a truly transformational impact on the lives of our young student artists.

USC School of Dramatic Arts presents The Cider House Rules: Part One at the Bing Theatre 2019. (Photo by Craig Schwartz)

The USC School of Dramatic Arts Mission

With an evolving curriculum and culture, the USC School of Dramatic Arts seeks to train artist-creators who can connect, catalyze and collide the traditional arts of theatre and story-telling; with the digital and entrepreneurial age and evolving social and political conversations. By developing students who can navigate and influence multiple dramatic arts platforms, from the traditional to the cutting edge, the school seeks to be a standard bearer in redefining what it means to train a dramatic artist for the 21st century.

Dean David Bridel and students at the USC School of Dramatic Arts Scholarship Luncheon 2020. (Photo by Michael Rueter/Capture Imaging)

Dean’s Strategic Initiative

The Dean’s Strategic Initiatives Fund has supported a wide range of projects, including special one-time scholarships, facilities enhancements, larger-scale production opportunities, technology upgrades, and special faculty appointments. With David Bridel as dean, the USC School of Dramatic Arts is ushering in a new era and embarking on an exceptionally rapid period of growth and expansion. Under Dean Bridel’s vision and leadership, the school has launched several new initiatives that offer a more contemporary approach to dramatic arts training and position the school as a leader in new media integration and on-camera technique.

Inaugural Class of the BFA in Musical Theatre at USC. (Photo by Michael Rueter/Capture Imaging)​

SDA Scholarships

Now more than ever is it vital to ensure we are providing students with access to scholarship funding as they face challenging unprecedented times. The impact of scholarship support goes far beyond helping a student offset the burden of student debt. It allows us to attract and retain students from around the world so they can come to the USC School of Dramatic Arts and share their talent and creativity. By providing sufficient scholarship assistance, we can enable greater success at SDA, providing backing for deserving students who want to graduate with their degree and give back to society. The support that students receive from you instills a greater sense of belonging and motivation to make it through their artistic journey at SDA.

Alexandra Billings in I’m Still Queer: A TransAmerican Cabaret, a special performance in May, 2019, at the Bing Theatre to support the historic launch of the Alexandra Billings Scholarship (Photos by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging)

Social Change

Building on the school’s long-standing minor in “Applied Theatre Arts,” the school’s Institute for Theatre and Social Change (ITSC) enables students to apply their artistic training to non-traditional theatrical settings in the service of the public good. The Institute seeks to meet the needs of our complex culture by rigorously exploring how the practice of community-based theatre, including all platforms of artistic expression, can interrupt dominant power structures to create challenging social and civic dialogues and support the conditions for liberation, healing, and enhanced understanding.

The School of Dramatic Arts Medical Clowning Program teaches the art of medical clowning and integrates the practice into healthcare and community settings.

 Engaging SDA Alumni for Life

During these unprecedented times, the USC School of Dramatic Arts Office of Alumni Relations remains committed to providing an engaging alumni experience that fosters awareness, pride, participation, volunteer involvement, and philanthropy. As you know, there are many ways to connect with each other online through our SDA Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, as well as your personal LinkedIn and social media accounts. In addition, we are working diligently to examine and enhance our alumni community through virtual activities. Please be on the lookout for notifications regarding online gatherings and professional virtual events in the coming weeks.  

SDA Fall Alumni Party 2019 at Legendary Entertainment Studios in Burbank, Ca. (Photo by Michael Rueter/Capture Imaging)
An Evening Celebrating Musical Theatre in April, 2019 at The Ace Hotel in New York City. (Photos by Bruce Gilbert for USC School of Dramatic Arts.)

The Impact of your Support

Our progress this past year is because of your commitment to the school, faculty, and most importantly our students. This continued dedication of our alumni, parents, and friends will be vital in setting the stage for our ongoing success. Your gift of any size makes a lasting impact and is crucial for making the USC School of Dramatic Arts an extraordinary place to learn and thrive.

School of Dramatic Arts Board of Councilor member and actor Blair Underwood speaks with SDA students in our Salon Series moderated by David Warshofsky. (Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging)​

The University’s COVID-19 Response

USC has established four funds in response to the COVID-19 crisis to help support all areas of the Trojan community. These funds include the USC Student Basic Needs Fund, Keck Medicine of USC COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, USC Community Outreach Fund, and USC Employee Support Fund.