Diasporas Festival, Berkeley
May 9, 2014

The Dell'Arte Company brings an excerpt of its newest work, "Elisabeth's Book" to the Diasporas Festival of Contemporary Performance in Berkeley, California, on May 9 & 10. Inferno Theatre

THREE TREES to Western Washington
April 18, 2014

The Dell'Arte Company in "Three Trees" heads to Western Washington University for two shows, April 18 & 19th at 7:30 PM
A mixture of rollicking clown routines and poetic, theatrical

Humboldt Sponsors support
April 6, 2014

THANKS to Humboldt Sponsors for a $500 award to the 8th Grade Show for " costumes, props, and technical production." Congratulations to director Lydia Foreman and her cast from Blue Lake

World Commedia Day Feb. 25
February 21, 2014

World Commedia dell'Arte Day is celebrated every year on February 25, and is proclaimed by the Italian cultural association SAT as an action of the incommedia.it project in support of SAT's

TCG grant awarded to DAI
February 1, 2014

Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, announced recipients for the third round of its Global Connections program. Dell’Arte was awarded one of three


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Dell'Arte

Why the name?

What is physical theatre?

How are you different from other physical theatre schools?

Are you a clown school?

Are you a commedia school?

What is an actor-creator?

What is 'devised' theatre?

Why the non-urban setting?

If I attend Dell’Arte Int’l School MFA program, what institution grants me my MFA degree?

Who accredits your school?

Does your program provide study abroad opportunities?

What is an MFA?

What is the PTP?

Should I apply for the MFA or the PTP?

Do you offer scholarships? Is financial aid available?

Do I have to audition?

Can I go from the PTP to the MFA?

Can I study for longer than one year without being in MFA?

What is an ensemble?

What's the difference between an ensemble and a repertory company?

Where do your graduates work?

Can I visit the school?

Can Dell’Arte send me any information?

Are there any videos of the work I can see?

How can I audition for the company?

Are there any opportunities for Company work experience?

When will the Dell’Arte Company perform in my town?

Does the company run workshops?

Is any Dell’Arte merchandise available?

Can I get help from you on my high school or college research paper?

Can I interview Joan Schirle/Michael Fields/Ronlin Foreman for my dissertation?

Why the name?

“dell’arte” means both ‘of the art’ and ‘of the work.’ We are a company/school of the art of acting and the work of making theatre. “Commedia dell’arte” means ‘the art of the professional,’ or ‘the art of the skilled ones.’

What is ‘physical theater?

To us, all theater is physical: the actor plays with space and time for people who are physically present. Once upon a time from 1975 to 1986 Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre was called the School of Mime & Comedy. We changed it to the School of Physical Theatre in 1986 because we thought that ‘mime’ had become a misunderstood term—most people thought all mime was white-face makeup and striped shirts. We wanted--and still want-- to teach people to make original work based on the power of the actor in the empty space. In recent years physical theatre became a topic for academic study, so now many people ask this question because they have to write an essay for their school or college. The answer is more complex than simple: our work is body-based, not text based. Yet most of our plays have text. Hm. Physical is movement and voice and passions, feelings, ideas, rhythms, pulses, and spirit communicated by the dynamic actor. We resist the kind of theatre that is, as French director Ariane Mnouchkine says, “literature in costumes.”

How are you different from other physical theatre schools?

  • DAI is the only fulltime physical theatre school in the world with a professional company in residence.
  • We are the only physical theatre school in the world with deep roots in a local and regional community.
  •  DAI is the only physical theatre school in the world offering an MFA where the degree is conferred by the school itself.
  •  We are the only MFA program in the world offering a month study in Bali as part of 3rd Year studies.
  •  We are the only fulltime physical theatre school in the world where community service is a requirement.
  •  We are the only physical theatre school in the world with DAI’s unique pedagogy; though grounded in Lecoq’s investigative approach, DAI has been influenced by 30 years of professional company work, our relationship to our community, by other contemporary approaches to actor training, and by the unique vision of its founder.
  •  We are the only NAST-accredited physical theatre school in the US.
  •  We are the only MFA program in the US where students perform primarily in devised projects.
  •  DAI offers the only ensemble-based MFA in physical theatre in the US.
  •  Though perhaps not unique to us, there are few schools of any kind in the world that have a resident maskmaker, three FM Alexander Technique teachers on the faculty, student driven community-based projects, a week’s back-country residency, sunset over the Pacific Ocean, and the glory of California redwoods down the street.
Are you a clown school?

No, we are not a clown school, but we explore clowning in a five-week block of study near the end of the first year. Our actor-training approach asks the actor to inhabit many kinds of masks. The study of clowning teaches us to reveal our limitations with joy and abandon. Some of our students do choose to become professional clowns (in 2006, one-third of the clowns in Cirque du Soleil touring shows were DAI grads), but we are a school for training the actor.

Are you a commedia school?

No, we are not a commedia school, but we teach Commedia in a five-week study in winter of the first year. Commedia is the root form for the western actor and influenced actors, directors, playwrights and composers in Europe, Russia, Scandinavia and beyond. Through this form we investigate the human comedy. The hallmarks of commedia—articulate physicality combined with verbal wit; the art of improviso; the play of appetites in stock characters; the skill of ensemble playing—this is the great legacy to be investigated by every contemporary actor.

What is an actor-creator?

Actor-creators generate material for the stage. Some actor-creators write plays, others are devisers, choreographers, improvisers. Moliere and Shakespeare were actor-creators, so are Dario Fo and Franca Rame, Theatre du Complicité, the Dell’Arte Company and scores of ensemble companies around the world. The possibility that actors can be theatre-makers as well as interpreters has only just started to influence mainstream American theatre practice.

What is 'devised theatre?'

Devised theatre
is one name for what actor-creators make. Devised theatre can be created from many sources and in many different ways, from collaborative writing to movement improvisations, with or without a director, story-based or non-linear. PTP students 'devise' a study each week for Friday's Performance Lab; MFA students devise complete productions as well as exploratory projects during their second and third years. Dell'Arte International is a pioneer in the devised theatre movement in the USA and a leader in the education of actor-creators.

Why the non-urban setting?

The greatest acting lessons come from nature itself—around DAI we have the rolling drama of the Pacific Ocean, the alertness of deer and elk, the soaring energy of the world’s tallest trees, the courage of the steelhead and salmon. Without the distractions of urban life, learning is accelerated. Not to mention that you are breathing some of the cleanest air on the planet.

If I attend Dell’Arte Int’l School MFA program, what institution grants me my MFA degree?

Dell’Arte’s MFA in Ensemble Based Physical Theatre is a stand-alone accredited program. That means your degree comes from us, from the Dell’Arte School-- not from an institution in another country or state.

Who accredits your school?

Dell'Arte is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre NAST.

Does your program provide study abroad opportunities?

Our third year MFA’s spend one month in Indonesia studying Balinese performing arts. The Bali program is also open to all alumni as well as to those not enrolled in Dell’Arte—teachers, designers, musicians, etc. Our summer workshops in Denmark bring students from various countries take Dell’Arte courses with Dell’Arte faculty in rural Denmark.
Both MFA and PTP students are encouraged to complete internships with ensemble theatre companies around the globe. The School facilitates the development of these internships. Some of the international companies where our MFA’s have interned:

Grupo Galpão, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Lume Teatro, Campinas, Brazil

Werner & Consorten, Amsterdam

Golden Paleis, Amsterdam

Robert Lepage, Canada

One Yellow Rabbit, Canada

Umo Ensemble, Seattle

Els Commediants, Spain

Theatre of Yugen, San Francisco

Laboratorio de Mascara, Mexico City

Pig Iron, Philadelphia

Ripe Time, New York City

DoubleEdge/Gardenizce, Massachusetts/Poland

Bond Street Coalition, Afghanistan

Familie Flöz, Berlin

What is an MFA degree?

In North America the MFA is considered a ‘terminal’ academic degree in the practice of an art, just as a PhD is considered a terminal academic degree in the scholarship/theory of an art

What is the PTP Program?

The PTP or Professional Training Program is a 9 month, full time certificate program open to students over 18.  A complete description is on this site.
Should I apply for the MFA or the PTP?

The PTP is a one-year program. The MFA is a three-year commitment. You must have a BA, BFA, or the foreign equivalent to apply to the MFA program. If you’re just starting out in this work, the PTP is a great place to find out who you are in a life in the theatre. If you are a professional actor who doesn’t need a degree or doesn’t have three years to train, the PTP is a great place to advance your perspective as a theatre-maker, renew your creative energies, and commit to intensive, fulltime training that will challenge and invigorate you.

Do you offer scholarships? Is financial aid available?

Yes, some financial aid and scholarships are available.

Do I have to audition?

Yes.  See the links for guidelines about audition requirements, locations, dates, etc. and how foreign students can apply.
For the MFA: http://dellarte.com/dellarte.aspx?id=82
For the
PTP: http://dellarte.com/dellarte.aspx?id=95

Can I go from the PTP to the MFA?

Students with PTP certificates can apply to transfer into year two of the MFA pending availability.

Can I study for longer than one year without being in the MFA?

Inquire to the Registrar for information on extended training. info@dellarte.com

  What's an ensemble?

For us, ensemble means 'together over time.'  All theatre-making is collaborative--directors collaborate with designers, for example, composers with lyricists etc., but not necessarily beyond a show or two.   At Dell'Arte International our core company has worked together for many years. We make work collaboratively, we manage our company and our school collaboratively and the main thrust of our work is towards what can be created over time in a community of artists committed to working together. One of the reasons we call our MFA program 'Ensemble-based' is because we've experienced the accumulated power of individuals playing in partnership as the basis for creating new work, starting companies, affecting communities, and survival.

What's the difference between an ensemble and a repertory company?

In most American repertory companies at this point in time, the actors, designers and directors come and go from show to show. Decisions about repertory, casting, aesthetic, etc are made hierarchically by the artistic director and others. An ensemble is committed to working together over the long haul, and the actors may be the directors, the managers, the designers, and there is generally shared decision making. Dell'Arte is one of the founding members of the Network of Ensemble Theatres. You can learn about many different kinds of ensembles at http://ensembletheaters.net/index.htm

Where do your graduates work?

All over the globe. Our graduates work as actors, teachers, artistic directors, playwrights, circus performers, community-based artists, maskmakers, directors, technicians, administrators, solo performers, casting directors, and in all areas of the performing arts. Many have started their own companies; some are in tenure-track positions in US universities; several have started festivals; some are award-winning playwrights, one is even a neuro-surgeon.
Of DAI's present staff and artists, ten alumni are currently employed in fulltime positions in the areas of artistic, production, faculty, administration, and tech (see bios on web).

Can I visit the School?

Yes. Prospective students are encouraged to visit, watch classes, talk to faculty and current students. Email the Registrar to set up a visit: info@dellarte.com

Can Dell’Arte send me any information?

Just about everything you’d want to know about us can be found here on our website. But we can send you a brochure about the school and we mail out brochures on summer workshops. If you are a presenter, we can send you a folder of information on the Company’s touring works and availability. You can also join our Facebook page. If you'd like to get latest info about upcoming shows, workshops, etc., join our email list by contacting us at info@dellarte.com

Are there any videos of the work I can see?

Go to our Vimeo site for some great clips of classes and company work: vimeo.com/dellarte

For video on the training on this website: click School of Physical Theatre, or MFA program, or PTP program, or paste in

and on our own blog there are two additional videos related to the training :

  You can also follow conversations about the work, and the research of faculty, artists, and students at our blogspot.

There are some clips of company work as well as the training program on YouTube,

You can see an excerpt of School Director Joan Schirle’s solo show SECOND SKIN here.

A blog of a recent Bali trip is here. Find us on Facebook at Dell'Arte international.

Can I audition for the Company?

The Company does not hold auditions. Guest actors for productions are generally graduates of our school or invited international artists.

Are there any opportunities for work experience?

We have internship programs in the areas of tech, marketing, and production, especially during our summer Mad River Festival.

When will the Dell’Arte Company perform in my town?

If you are a presenter, we can send you a folder of information on the Company’s touring works and availability. Visit our home page for the latest season and touring schedule for Company, School and Festival.

Does the Company run workshops?

We offer summer workshops and the Company always offers workshops in conjunction with its touring performances. We also offer workshops and residencies to any school or art center interested in hiring us, in every area of physical theater (movement, physical acting, voice, Alexander Technique, mask, clown, commedia, tragic gesture, etc. —sorry, but no neuro-surgery workshops).

Is any Dell’Arte merchandise available?

Yes! We have lots of great things with the Dell’Arte logo, from t-shirts and zip-front hoodies, to travel mugs, ceramic mugs, baseball cap, totebags and gorgeous sterling silver earrings and pendants. We’ve got music from Company shows, an anthology of ensemble-created plays, and more. Email info@dellarte.com for descriptions and price list.

Can I get help from you on my high school or college research paper?

If you’re researching our work, we suggest you first read everything on our website and if you didn’t find what you need, email us. If your paper is about commedia characters, masks or history, there are more than a million sites devoted to the subject, like this one.

Can I interview Joan Schirle/Michael Fields/Ronlin Foreman?

If you are writing a book, dissertation, news article or novel.



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