The Cornish BFA Theater program provides a home for ambitious artists who want to extend the boundaries of storytelling, bringing the work of great playwrights—and also your own—to vibrant life. Whatever your passion, our faculty of working theater artists will help you develop your unique, creative voice within a healthy, sustainable practice.
Explore the theatrical genres of Neo-Burlesque and Cabaret as forms of solo performance and dramatic storytelling. Study the evolution of the art form, modern examples of Neo-Burlesque, and fair business practices for today’s cabaret performer. Develop a character persona and generate a solo piece, along with the necessary performance skills that are unique to the genre of burlesque. Learn makeup and costuming techniques, use of music, and how to employ existing acting/dance skills in service of the ‘art of the tease.’ No dance training or nudity required.
Photo Credit: wittypixel Photography
In addition to teaching at Cornish, Timothy has taught classes for the Seattle Children’s Theatre, Freehold Studio Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre and served as artistic director of Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center Theatre Camp.
As an actor, he made his Broadway debut as Agent Bill Cod in Catch Me If You Can. Other acting credits include roles at the Denver Center Theatre Company, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage and Pioneer Theatre Company, among others. His northwest credits include roles at the 5th Avenue Theatre, ACT, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theater, Empty Space Theatre, Village Theatre, Showtunes, The Group Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre and Operating Theater.
Recently Timothy directed A Raisin in the Sun at the Seattle Repertory Theater and will co-direct Hairspray in the spring of 2018 at the Village Theatre where he recently served as associate director for Dreamgirls. Timothy has directed many productions at Cornish, including Hedda Gabler, The Laramie Project, Intimate Apparel, Urinetown: The Musical, Home and The Secret Garden.
In 2015 Timothy was honored with both the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship and the Sustained Achievement Award from Theatre Puget Sound, our local theater service organization. He is the recipient of Gregory, Gypsy Rose Lee, Seattle Times Footlight and Seattle P-I awards for his work. Timothy received a BFA from the University of Utah and an MFA from The National Theatre Conservatory.
Photo Credit: LaRae Lobdell
A theater education at Cornish is grounded in a dynamic relationship to the history of the craft as well as an awareness of the conditions of the world. Students are trained to be physically and vocally flexible and powerful, critically astute, articulate, and in command of a wide variety of techniques applicable to a range of theatrical styles. In addition, they acquire the skills to work effectively within an ensemble for a goal larger than themselves, and to present their personal artistic talents with clarity and confidence.
In order to earn a BFA in Theater, students must complete the program in their major field of study (94 Theater credits), as well as fulfill the other college requirements (6 arts elective credits, 30 Humanities & Sciences credits). Each Theater student is required to present a senior thesis project, which can include a self-produced one-act play (either original or established), an internship with a professional theater, or a thesis paper.
Model Programs are updated at the beginning of each academic year. This PDF contains the current year’s model programs for this program.
The first two years of the program contain your foundational courses. Each year you will have a series of core classes covering Acting, Improvisation & Collaboration, Literature of Theater, Text Analysis, Theater History, Voice & Speech, and Physical Technique (which may include aerobics, tumbling, Suzuki training, Viewpoints, contact improvisation, dance, yoga, biomechanics, strength training and both neutral and character mask work). You can also explore Playwriting, Directing and areas of Musical Theater. You will also study the basics of theater production and work backstage in the Cornish Theater season in a variety of capacities. As the program progresses and you develop a greater sense of your own mission as a theater artist, you will move into more specialized courses in your area of interest.
Following a successful audition at the end of the sophomore year, you will engage in intensive study of classical theater texts, exploring material from the Greeks to Shakespeare to Chekhov. You will learn the technical skills necessary to bring heightened and poetic language to life on stage, while imbuing your character portrayals with a sense of dramatic truth. Acting students also have the opportunity to do on-camera projects.
In the senior year, you delve deeper into subtext, ambiguity, and mystery through the work of Beckett, Pinter, and a range of contemporary playwrights. You will also strategize how to launch your career, while developing useful skills such as stage combat, voiceover, and auditioning for both live and digital performance. Your senior thesis project may involve self-producing a one-act play or performing as an acting intern in a local professional theater.
Musical Theater students take the core acting-based skills classes in the Foundations years, supplemented with classes in singing, dance, and musical theater. You study singing and dance as well as music theory, including ear training, sight reading and singing, group singing, rhythm and harmony. This culminates in a musical capstone as part of the sophomore ensemble project.
Following a successful audition for continuance in the program at the end of the sophomore year, you participate in classes in theater dance styles, musical theater performance and audition techniques. You perform in productions of both original and established musical theater works, including a cabaret at the end of the fall of the senior year. You also take singing lessons. Your senior thesis project needs to demonstrate acquisition of a range of musical theater skills.
Original Works is designed for artists whose goals include directing, playwriting, generating original performance pieces, or being part of a generative ensemble or the artistic staff of a theater. After successful completion of an audition at the start of the junior year, you explore a wide variety of generative methods, including playwriting, directing, personal clown, and other physical/improvisational approaches, as well as self- producing and dramaturgy.
Reading and research are essential aspects of the program. In addition to intensive practice in writing and directing, you study the work of important generative artists, playwrights, and directors.
Your senior thesis project will be a generative piece, either written by you or created by an ensemble under your creative supervision which reflects your aesthetic vision.
Theater courses at Cornish are designed to help students develop their personal interests as well as become grounded in a solid knowledge of the history and current practices of the art form.
Course descriptions are updated at the beginning of each academic year.
Students enrolled in this program who fully participate and engage with peers, teachers and the learning environment will learn, know and demonstrate the ability to:
In addition to the Degree outcomes, performers will specifically:
Your experience at Cornish goes beyond the classroom and right onto the stage.
Develop your craft in class, then put your skills into practice by performing in the many plays, musicals, and dramas of our richly varied Cornish Theater season; and collaborating on the 30-plus original works we produce every year. Students may participate as performers, assistant directors, and student dramaturgs.
Freshmen create and perform in the LORE Project, bringing myths and legends from around the world to life on stage. Sophomores participate in a three-show repertory of an established drama, musical, and ensemble-generative work. Juniors and seniors perform in our fall season of contemporary work and spring capstone projects, including a classical production, large-scale musical, and O!FEST, featuring a clown show and ten-minute play festival.
The work you do each semester builds towards your senior thesis project, where you showcase skills you’ve polished through four years of “practice/perform/repeat.” And Seattle theater
companies know the value of a Cornish education. You also have opportunities to audition or interview for internships at local theaters and producing organizations.
It takes a village to put on a theater production. So whatever craft you choose—performing, playwriting, directing, or all of the above!—there’s always a part for you in our Theater department.
Our premier performance space, former home of two Tony Award-winning regional theater companies, right in the heart of Seattle Center's Theater Row
Our black box studio theater used for original works, smaller productions, and repertory festivals
Our easily configurable black box space used for dramas, comedies, musicals, and an annual cabaret show
Our faculty and staff are active as practicing theater artists, working in venues from major regional theaters to Broadway, from musical theater to film to community-based theater with underserved populations, as performers, directors, playwrights, administrators and dramaturgs. Your instructors meet regularly with you to discuss your progress and help you set goals for Cornish and beyond. Through your academic engagement with the faculty, you receive artistic mentoring and professional networking opportunities as well as intensive instruction. The Theater faculty is chaired by Richard E.T. White, and includes such distinguished artist-educators as Geoffrey Alm, Ellen Boyle, Kathleen Collins, Sheila Daniels, Tinka Gutrick-Dailey, Ryan Hartigan, Elizabeth Heffron, Keira McDonald, Kate Myre, Lisa Norman, Timothy McCuen Piggee, Robin Lynn Smith, John Kendall Wilson and many others.
Cornish Theater alumni have found success:
In Seattle, alumni work consistently at:
Alumni have also gone on to prestigious graduate schools such as Yale, ART/Harvard, NYU Tisch, Northwestern, University of Texas at Austin and the American Conservatory Theater. Our notable alumni include:
Cornish Theater alumni are empathic, nimble, and proficient communicators. Graduates of our program have also gone on to effectively use their communications, ensemble-interactive and storytelling skills as lawyers, teachers, social workers, drama therapists and counselors, marketing directors, event coordinators, architects, pastors and in management roles at Microsoft, Google, Pixar and Apple.