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National Theater Institute

Eugene O'Neill Theater Center

Waterford, CT

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center is a 90-acre estate overlooking Long Island Sound in Waterford, Connecticut. It includes residential buildings, acting studios, two open-air theaters, the Rufus and Margo Rose Theater Barn, and a cabaret space. The Center was founded in 1964 to foster the growth of theater in America through the development of new writing and training of theater people. The National Theater Institute is one of many programs housed at the Center.

The Schedule

The thirteen-week course is offered twice each year, in the fall and spring. The actor's week consists of an intensive seven-day schedule which integrates writing, movement, directing and acting classes. It is a challenging professional curriculum enhanced by stagings of work-in-progress. There is a mid-semester break.

Visiting and Interviews

All NTI applicants must have a personal interview. While it is most desirable to have the interview in person, distance and expense may necessitate a telephone interview. Please telephone the NTI office schedule your interview at 860-443-7139. you should plan to spend at least half-a-day when you visit the Center, which will allow time for an interview, a tour and a class visit.


National Theater Institute is fully accredited through nearby Connecticut College. One semester of academic credit is awarded to undergraduates who successfully complete the program. Acting, Directing, Design, Movement and Playwriting courses are assigned a value of four credit hours each. Students usually receive twenty hours of credit. At the end of the NTI semester, a student's grades are transferred to Connecticut College where they are put on an official transcript and forwarded to the student's college or university registrar.

International Programs

The National Theater Institute has pioneered numerous exchange programs all over the world, providing theater students with extraordinary opportunities for study in FRANCE, ITALY, ENGLAND, IRELAND, RUSSIA, GERMANY and POLAND.

The English Experience

For several years we have made it possible for students to undertake a two-week workshop in the United Kingdom as part of the regular NTI semester. The two-week resident workshop is based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's home town. This enables students to attend performances at the Royal Shakespeare Company's theaters and to visit many other historic and artistic sites in the region.

The workshops are based on English classical texts, British folk dancing and choral singing. A special project based on a selected text is rehearsed and performed in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Instructors are drawn from England's finest professional artists. The cost of this English experience is included in the semester tuition fees.


NTI offers a semester long program at the Moscow Art Theater. The thirteen-week course is accredited by Connecticut College. Students may attend in either the fall or spring semester.

General Information

All students live at the O'Neill Theater Center. The three buildings in which the students are housed are the Hammond House, the Cottage, and the Farmhouse

Library Facilities

The library contains an extensive collection of plays and theater literature. Students may also use the extensive services of the Connecticut College Library.

Medical Insurance

The O'Neill Theater Center assumes no medical expenses for its students. All students must have medical insurance coverage either through their parents or from their college or university

Application Deadlines

Admission to NTI is competitive; applicants are encouraged to apply well in advance of the deadlines if they wish to ensure having a place in the desired semester. Admission is on a rolling basis and, therefore, early registration (application) is advised. The deadline for applications is April 15th for the fall term and November 15th for the spring term.


When selecting students we look for a proven ability to handle the demands of disciplined theater work; solid motivation for applying to NTI; and a determination to complete the program in a conscientious manner.


All applicants are required to have an interview. If distance makes a personal interview prohibitive, a telephone interview can be arranged. Please call 860-443-7139 to schedule your interview.


Required Fees

Tuition (includes $600 non-refundable reservation fee)....$6900

Room and Board (meals served 7 days a week)...$4300

Total required fees...$10,300


A refundable deposit of $100 (to be held against room damage, key loss, etc.) is required.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is limited. Therefore, applicants should determine whether their existing loans, grants, and scholarships can be applied to the National Theater institute.* In most instances they can be transferred because of our accreditation through Connecticut College. Connecticut College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Please telephone the NTI office (60-443-7139) if you have financial aid questions.

*Limited amounts of grant aid are available to qualified applicants

Affirmative Action

the O'Neill Theater Center affirmatively seeks to attract to its faculty, staff and student body persons of diverse backgrounds and pursuant to this policy, no applicant for admission or applicant for employment is discriminated against because of race, sex, color, religious beliefs, national or ethnic origin.

NTI Alumni

"Georgetown didn't have a comprehensive theater program and theater wasn't my major. NTI, in four months, exposed me to more aspects of the profession than many four-year undergraduate training programs, The core of the program was Richard Digby Day's directing class which covered plays from the Jacobeans to Pinter. It brought out such a range of characters with so much creativity in such a short period of time. I still refer back to the work in that class. It takes years before you realize how much you learned from NTI."

Stephen DeRosa, NTI Fall '88
Yale Drama School, MFA 1995

"My involvement with NTI has impacted every aspect of my life since I attended because it taught me the folly of 'arguing for my limitations,' to quote Richard Bach. I believe that all human beings are capable of great things, but the secret to that level of accomplishment lies in the setting of standards. NTI demanded more from me than any situation I have ever experienced in my life, both before and since. Be it theatrical styles, volume of work, or writing my first play, they never let me off the hook and, as a result, I discovered more about myself and my capabilities in those three tremendous months than I may for the rest of my life. I am a much better person for it. I am grateful."

Giles Chiasson '88

"I can't imagine that it is possible to live at the O'Neill for any length of time without experiencing a certain....transformation. What strikes one instantly about the place itself is the quality of light - the almost breathtaking illumination. Light seems not only to strike the surfaces of things, but also to radiate from within. There is here, I think, a metaphor for the NTI experience: Illumination is inevitable, and its source is as much within as without."

Lowry Marshall
NTI Faculty, Acting
Brown University

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