Training Dramatic Artists for the 21st Century

Training Dramatic Artists for the 21st Century


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.

The BFA in Musical Theatre offers unparalleled opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and creativity by blending the extraordinary resources of three of the nation’s leading arts schools: USC School of Dramatic Arts, USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, and USC Thornton School of Music.   The initial focus of the curriculum will be on foundational work that establishes the tradition of musical theatre and the fundamental building blocks of performance through practice and critical study. As the trajectory of the training continues, the integration of performance traditions will be supported by a growing emphasis on contemporary trends and opportunities in the field. These will include project-based collaborations between students, supported by digital assets and mentored by industry leaders. 

SDA’s Parents Move-in Day Reception at the Bing Theatre in August, 2019. (Photos by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging)

Professional Development

Each year the USC School of Dramatic Arts provides its students and alumni with professional opportunities that help establish and sustain their careers as creators, performers, designers and cultural innovators. It’s our goal that each student graduates with the relevant skills, context and training to meet the ever-changing demands and expectations of the entertainment field.

Career Center

Our innovative new Career Center offers management-style services for graduating actors, as well as enhanced opportunities and resources for the school’s graduating playwrights, designers and stage managers. The management-style services will be available to School of Dramatic Arts graduates for one year upon completion of their degree.

SDA Career Series

Every spring, the School offers a series of events in which leading industry figures — casting directors, agents, producers, directors, artistic directors, new media practitioners, thought leaders and alumni — will lead a series of open forums to offer guidance, mentorship and inspiration in fields as diverse as acting and performance, design, stage management, new media and writing.  These curated events showcase the breadth and depth of post-college options for students, and help immerse them in every aspect of the entertainment industry.  They also highlight internship and behind-the scenes opportunities for all students and SDA alumni. 

Spotlight@SDA Series

The Spotlight@SDA series brings some of the industry’s most influential artists to share advice, perspective and experience with our students through informal Q&A sessions, workshops and master classes.  Throughout this series we have welcomed beloved actors Sir Ben Kingsley, Josh Gad, Bryan Cranston, Blair Underwood, Lisa Kudrow, Pulitzer Prize-winning theatre critic Hilton Als, writer/ producers Vince Gilligan and SDA alumnus Danny Strong, among others.  Additionally, the School held the first-ever Spotlight@SDA in New York City, featuring Academy Award and three-time Tony Award winner Kevin Kline in conversation with three-time Emmy and Tony Award nominee and SDA faculty member Kate Burton.  

Interviewed by Dean David Bridel, actor, writer and producer Josh Gad takes part in the USC School of Dramatic Arts’ Spotlight@SDA in the Fall of 2018. (Photo/Gus Ruelas)
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)

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.

SDA New Student Welcome Luncheon 2019 (Photos by Ryan Miller /Capture Imaging)

Engaging SDA Alumni for Life

The School of Dramatic Arts Office of Alumni Relations strives to create a lifelong and worldwide community of SDA alumni through increased opportunities for meaningful engagement in order to increase awareness, pride, participation, volunteer involvement, and philanthropic commitment to The School of Dramatic Arts. Each year, we offer local and regional alumni events geared towards networking and professional development, our Annual Alumni Week & Fall Alumni Party, and we are launching our new Alumni Career Mentoring Program! 

The USC School of Dramatic Arts Fall Alumni Party and Tailgate in November, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ana Garcia/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.)


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.