Theatre Focus

Theatre Focus is truly a home for students with a passion for theatre.

For fifteen years, Theatre Focus has been a community of students and faculty dedicated to the study, practice and production of theatre. This special program, integrated within the vibrant academic atmosphere and the larger theatre department of St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, provides extra programming opportunities for students who wish to deepen their understanding of and experience in theatre arts.
For new students, Theatre Focus provides an immediate sense of belonging in a community that shares their passions. The students take theatre classes offered to all students at St. Stephen's, take private lessons, meet for a colloquium once per class rotation, participate in workshops and Master Classes taught by world-class professional theatre artists, travel to theatres locally and to nearby cities to view plays, and work on productions in various capacities throughout the year.
For students interested in pursuing theatre in college, Theatre Focus provides experienced guidance in all areas of the college application and audition process, culminating in coaching the students through the Unified Auditions in Chicago.
Students not interested in majoring in theatre at college still acquire valuable skills and experience applicable to all endeavors, including: emotional intelligence, examination of the human condition, study of literature from a theatrical perspective, critical analysis, project management, improvisation, comfort with risk-taking, and many hours of collaborative problem-solving on creative projects.

Program Specifics

List of 6 items.

  • Academics

    The Theatre Focus program is an optional supplement to the St. Stephen’s Episcopal School curriculum, which includes the theatre classes open to all students at the school. St. Stephen’s is a nationally recognized college preparatory school with a rigorous academic focus. Students in the program are expected to meet our academic requirements for admission and matriculation.

    In addition to the regular curriculum (including theatre courses), Theatre Focus students meet once per rotation for a Colloquium. In Colloquium, we set goals for the year, explore special topics of interest to our students, work on Showcase material, and pursue other projects of interest to students. Theatre Focus students tend to be driven. Many of them need constant challenge to perform up to their capabilities, and the program provides it. Our students are usually well represented on the school honor roll.
  • Guest Artists, Workshops, & Field Trips

    Theatre Focus students not only learn by doing, but they learn from those who have “done it” as professionals. Each year we host accomplished actors, musicians, writers and directors for master classes and residencies. This distinguished list often includes alumni of the Theatre Focus program who have gone on to successful professional careers. We offer a minimum of three workshops exclusive to Theatre Focus students, two additional workshops tied to our fall play and winter musical, and one workshop open to the St. Stephen's community.
    In addition to bringing artists and workshops to school, we take two overnight trips annually to attend professional theatrical productions in Dallas and Houston. Whenever possible, these events include time backstage meeting and learning from professionals in all phases of theatre production. We also use these opportunities to visit nearby colleges and meet students and fine arts faculty. This helps our students get a feel for what awaits them should they choose to pursue a fine arts degree. And, of course, we feature group outings to performance events here in Austin, too.
  • Planning Your Journey

    In addition to regular instruction from faculty through the Colloquium, private lessons, and theatre courses, each student has a one-on-one meeting with a Theatre Focus faculty member three times per year. In these meetings, faculty help students determine their goals both short term and long term, and assist students in developing a program of classes and extracurricular opportunities that will support them in meeting those goals. 

    It’s also important to note that the Theatre Focus program is not just for students planning on pursuing a fine arts degree. A significant number of program graduates pursue degrees in a diverse range of other fields, including math and science. Aside from indulging their love for theatre, the program gives students an opportunity to discover their true strengths, while developing work habits and life skills they can apply in any field or endeavor.
  • Senior Seminar & College Counseling

    Senior Seminar Class  The Senior Seminar is the culmination of our Theatre Focus program for many students. The class helps seniors who want to pursue a fine arts degree prepare auditions and applications to get noticed by the colleges at the top of their wish lists.
    During the Senior Seminar, we offer extensive support to seniors who choose to submit an arts supplement along with their college applications. We help them define their interests and develop an arts supplement and/or audition that can help them stand out from the pack and portray their talents in the best possible light.
    During the winter term, the seniors in the class prepare to attend the National Unified Auditions. We chaperone our seniors seeking to get into college fine arts programs to this annual event, where they can audition for many programs at once. To make the most of their time in the audition spotlight, lots of hard work precedes this trip. So the Senior Seminar includes one-on-one audition coaching, preparation and rehearsal.
    College Counseling  On the academic side, all students at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School are paired with a professional in our college counseling department. Each student’s college counselor works with the student to identify the right schools to apply to, and develop an academic plan to help them meet those schools’ requirements. 
    Alumni Matriculation  The schools our graduates have matriculated to include the Juilliard School, Carnegie Mellon University, New York University, Northwestern University, Southern Methodist University, University of Southern California, University of Evansville, Ithaca College, University of Miami, Columbia University, Boston Conservatory, Boston University and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
  • Theatre Focus Production Opportunities

    Theatre Focus students not only get to audition for the regular school productions, but also have three opportunities exclusive to them. The Student-Directed One-Acts take place in the spring and only Theatre Focus students have the opportunity to direct, assistant direct, or produce the festival. Student directors are paired with a director either from the school or the community to help guide their production process. All students at the school (including Theatre Focus students not directing) may audition for the One Acts. 

    Theatre Focus students also develop and perform two annual showcases that spotlight their work from throughout the year. These showcases can include songs, scenes, monologues, stand-up, films, or other work created by the students. Finally, Theatre Focus students have the opportunity to submit a proposal for a Lab Show. The Lab Show is typically a student-created idea developed into performance, and it receives support from Theatre Focus faculty members. It is the perfect opportunity for students to explore experimental theatre work. The “focus” in Theatre Focus is as broad as our students choose. With so many shows to participate in, they can gain hands-on experience in all phases of theatrical production.
  • Why St. Stephen's?

    • The opportunity to direct, assistant direct, and/or produce the Student One-Acts, an opportunity open only to Theatre Focus students (as well as participation in the three general St. Stephen's productions each year)
    • Two Performance Showcases to share their artistic work with the community
    • A Colloquium that meets once per class rotation and covers special topics of interest to the students
    • Regular private lessons with faculty members in specialties such as acting, voice, music and dance
    • Professional-quality rehearsal and performance venues
    • Overnight trips to major theatrical performances, often including backstage workshops
    • Master classes with visiting professionals
    • Extensive senior year preparation for Unified Auditions and submission of college application arts supplements
    • Accomplished full-time faculty members dedicated to supporting students in their artistic endeavors
    • A one-of-a-kind school community where lifetime friendships and memories are made
    • A supportive, home-like boarding program on our beautiful campus overlooking Austin, TX

2020-21 Theatre Focus Calendar

Back to School Party 4:00-5:30 p.m.
First Day of School!
Theatre Focus Welcome Meeting 7:30 p.m.
Fall Play Auditions

Fall Play Callbacks
Fall Play Rehearsals
First Friday 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Student-Directed Lab Show Performances

Fall Play Rehearsals
First Friday 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Stage Combat Workshop, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Musical Auditions
Musical Callbacks
Fall Play Rehearsals 
First Friday 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Tech Week for Fall Play

Tech Week for Fall Play
Performances of Sense and Sensibility
Strike Fall Play
Musical Rehearsals

Musical Rehearsals
First Friday 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Musical Rehearsals
First Friday 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Musical Tech Week
Musical Performances 

Spring Break
Spring TF Show Rehearsals
Spring TF Show Rehearsals

Spring TF Show Rehearsals
Spring TF Show Performances
Spartan Theatre Banquet
End-of-Year Celebration

Theatre Focus Faculty

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Lindsay Brustein

    Lindsay Brustein 

    Fine Arts, Director of Theatre Focus, Theatre Instructor
    University of Texas - M.F.A.
    Northwestern - B.A.
  • Photo of Mike Dolan

    Mike Dolan 

    Fine Arts, Film and Theatre Instructor
    University of Texas at Austin - M.F.A.
    City College of New York - M.S.
    Empire State College - B.A.
Address: 6500 St. Stephen's Dr., Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 327-1213