Study Theater Abroad

Back to Programs

Studying Theater Abroad

Every society has its own way of expressing itself through performance. By studying theater abroad, you get a unique window into your host culture that your friends studying other disciplines will never see. You will also have the chance to broaden your performance style to include local traditions. In many cultures the study of theatre is rooted in religion, so don’t be surprised if rituals, prayers, or other sacred practices are involved when preparing for a performance. Just like your day-to-day training at home, you will need to be open to new experiences and ways of thinking when studying theater abroad.

Why Study Theater Abroad

Theater is about telling stories and capturing a wide range of experiences. When you study theater abroad, you are exposed to different ways of capturing the human condition than you would at home. You get to study different performance styles in the places they originated with masters of the art form, some of whom have been training their whole lives. 

Contemporary Western approaches to acting often blend techniques and approaches from different places. Studying performance abroad gives you unique local knowledge to become a well-rounded performer who is able to draw on a variety of methods when approaching a role; this includes different ways of training your body to move, ways of interpreting classical texts, adapting to performing in a range of physical spaces, and much more.

Technical theater artists who study abroad get exposure to some of the newest, most cutting-edge technology which may not have reached their home country yet. They also get to work in a variety of spaces that are often much older and grander than what they are used to.


Shakespeare is famous for the line “all the world’s a stage,” and indeed, every culture has its own approach to performance. As a result, choosing a location for theater study abroad programs must depend on your goals as a theater practitioner. Do you want to train in a premier institution for classical Western theatrical performance? Do you want to improve your stage presence and movement vocabulary with a departure from the standard realism taught in Western universities?  Do you want to explore the impact of theatre on the current national consciousness and economic system?  Are you interested in ritual and its intersection with gender, class, and religion? Your specific interests should dictate your choice of destination.

England, the birthplace of Shakespeare, has more theater study abroad programs in London alone than in many entire countries combined. This includes the West End (arguably the most important site for musical theatre in the world), Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) where actors such as Sir Kenneth Branagh, Ralph Fiennes, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Peter O’Toole, Alan Rickman, Vivien Leigh, and more received their training, and literally thousands of theaters and performance spaces to explore. England is the perfect place for theater practitioners wanting to train in classical and contemporary Western styles, while having hundreds of options for shows to see in your free time.

Japan offers opportunities to train in a number of centuries-old movement techniques and performance styles, such as Suzuki, Noh Theatre, and Kabuki. This is an ideal location for theater practitioners looking to expand their movement vocabulary and improve their stage presence.

Kenya has thousands of young people taking theater into communities to spark social change and development, several universities offering top-notch performance studies instruction, and important playwright and literary voices, such as Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Kenya is a great place to witness the collision of traditional and modern, and to evaluate the social impact of theater on a country that is changing and modernizing at an extraordinary pace.

Indonesia boasts over 300 ethnic groups rich with performing traditions, such as Balinese and Javanese mask and dance traditions and elaborate shadow puppetry. This is the perfect country for anyone interested in ritual performance and theater’s effect on social hierarchies and religious diversity.

Courses & Programs

Many theater courses abroad focus primarily on the performance styles of the location where you are studying. For example if you are studying in Russia, there may be an emphasis on the Stanislavsky method, whereas studying in Germany will likely focus on Hagen or Theatre of the Absurd. Courses in England often focus on Shakespeare and his contemporaries. In many Asian locations, you may not be speaking text at all, but rather focusing on the body and its movement through space.

When considering when to study theater abroad, you should consider the seasons in your destination. This means the physical seasons in terms of the local weather if you will be training outside, but also the theatrical seasons. You want to be in your destination when there are plenty of performances to attend in your free time.

In many Eastern traditions that rely on highly stylized movement and vocalizations, young actors are often trained by one specific master of the art form in a mentor-mentee setup. This is sometimes applied to theater practitioners coming from abroad, especially if this is your primary interest. In many other locations, it is important to train as an ensemble, so you can expect to work together in a small group.

Most universities have beginner level theater courses open to most applicants, as well as more advanced courses with prerequisites. These may be met by coursework you’ve taken at your home university, but you should also expect to audition or present a technical portfolio for these higher-level courses.


Theater departments, conservatories, and training academies offer high-quality instruction, but are often very insular. Graduates from theater programs often lack the breadth of knowledge and adaptability necessary to succeed in the professional world, and must fill this gap in their education while simultaneously auditioning and applying for jobs. Why not get a head start on this by studying theater abroad during your time as a student? 

Theater study abroad programs give you the chance to explore theater in a completely different cultural context, making you open to new techniques and experiences that make you more attractive in the professional world.

In many auditions, you are going up against dozens or even hundreds of other performers with similar training and background. When you have a line on your resume about performing on the stage at the Globe Theatre in London, training in ancient movement techniques with Japanese masters, or taking theatre into the streets in Kenya, casting directors will take note. These kinds of experiences make you a more versatile performer and an attractive option for filling a wide variety of roles.

Read More

written by:

A Guide To

Studying Theater Abroad


 Find Theater Study Abroad Programs Now


This listing has been saved 5 times

The Accademia dell'Arte is a performing arts school and cultural center. Housed at Villa Godiola, a Renaissance era villa that overlooks the city of Arezoo, the Accademia dell’Arte offers study abroad programs in: - Physical Theatre - Dance - Music - Interdisciplinary Summer Programs We also host faculty-led study abroad programs. The Accademia dell’Arte is conceived as a vibrant co...


This listing has been saved 165 times

Join academic programs offered by CISabroad in several locations around the world. They provide academic flexibility to match individual needs. On top of offering innovative academic programs, they help ensure that students fully experience the local culture and the top attractions of their host country.


This listing has been saved 55 times

Earn academic credit while having fun studying Theater abroad. AIFS offers programs in key locations around the world. They enrich the lives of students worldwide by providing high quality academic programs and meaningful exchange programs.


This listing has been saved 204 times

Experience diverse historical and contemporary theatrical traditions by participating in academic programs with IES Abroad. On top of participating in courses that subscribe to the highest standards, students get a taste of many wonderful shows and experiences outside the classroom. Internship options are additionally available.


This listing has been saved 25 times

The London Internship Program of Boston University offers a semester of study and work in England's exciting capital city. This program combines a professional internship with coursework that examines a particular academic area in the context of Great Britain's history, culture, and society, and its role in modern Europe. Courses in each academic area are taught by selected British faculty excl...


This listing has been saved 34 times

American individuals who have a passion for the arts can partake in Theater courses with Athena Study Abroad. Students can gain a deeper understanding of the culture and tradition of their host country by choosing to live with a local host family. Participants can attend arranged field trips to famous attractions and events. Placement fees cover health insurance, meals, and housing.


This listing has been saved 34 times

Spend your summer studying Theater with Center for Study Abroad. Worldwide participants can enroll in Oxford University and earn valuable academic credits. The study abroad program includes housing, excursions, and social activities.


This listing has been saved 7 times

Lessons in Theater take center stage in Syracuse University's London Centre. Students can participate in internship programs while studying abroad. The program provides excellent education while preparing students for a career in the global economy.


This listing has been saved 26 times

Have an outstanding academic and immersive cultural experience abroad with API. Students get the chance to study Theater in diverse artistic destinations around the world. API provides programs in forty different cities across the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, and Asia.


This listing has been saved 80 times

Join Theater programs abroad through ISA. Programs are provided in partnership with top universities. Students can enroll in courses for a semester, trimester, or academic year.


This listing has been saved 31 times

Take part in Theater programs abroad with the University Studies Abroad Consortium. Students have the chance to experience firsthand a unique and high-quality education system abroad. The organization works with top universities in 26 countries across the globe and ensures a highly rewarding learning experience.


This listing has been saved 7 times

Study international development in Ecuador, and experience the wonderful blend of indigenous and Spanish colonial, all while advancing your Spanish language skills. You also get the chance to contribute through a research project or an internship with a nonprofit organization while you are there. You will find opportunities to explore the complexities brought about by issues related to globaliz...


This listing has been saved 21 times

The Liberal Arts study abroad program in Buenos Aires, Argentina helps students gain a critical appreciation of Argentina and its importance in Latin America from a social sciences and humanities perspective. This is achieved through CIEE courses offered at Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales and direct enrollment courses in academic departments and faculties at Universidad de Buenos ...


This listing has been saved 7 times

A gap year is an incredible opportunity to experience the world, learn a new language, make international friends, and learn about yourself before starting college. John Cabot University in Rome, Italy not only provides an invaluable gap year experience, but also allows you to earn transferrable college credits that will allow you to stay on track for graduation. As an American university in...


This listing has been saved 9 times

With 40 years of academic excellence in Spanish studies, Spanish Studies Abroad specially designed the Spanish Studies Program for Spanish language students entering the advanced-level with a wide range of academic interests. The program integrates thoughtful synthesis of homestays/life in the residencias, study visits, language exchanges, volunteer, and other cultural opportunities into the cu...