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Commedia dell’Arte in Florence

Step into the role of the 15th century pesky handmaid, the court jester, the gallant lover.

Through practicing the art of Commedia dell’Arte, learn why Italy has long considered the actor to be at the center of dramatic creation. You will become a part of this Italian tradition stretching from the Middle Ages to the present-day work of Dario Fo and Roberto Benigni.

"Everyone should study abroad, actors especially. How can we pretend to be people if we haven't been a person? Living and learning in a foreign country is so important in creating a well-rounded person and actor, especially with Commedia. What better place to learn about it but in Italy?"

— Sarah McShane, Commedia dell'Arte in Florence, summer 2016

Program Overview

Delve into the mask work of commedia dell’ arte in order to liberate spontaneity, physical presence, and a sense of play. In recreating the crude as well as the subtle roots of commedia, you will work toward combining popular theatre with social commentary, stock characters with a sense of self, and the absurd with daily dramatic life.


Commedia dell'Arte

ITHEA-UT 2002 | 8 units | Instructor: Jim Calder

Throughout the course, areas of specialty are developed in mask work, circus skills, scene improvisation, individual lazzi (bits and specialty acts), and the search for one’s own clown work. Scene work consists of scenarios, texts, and lazzi from the 17th century, as well as the development of scenarios from present-day topics and texts. Parallel studies of the historical development of theatre and the visual arts in 17th-century Italy and how they influenced each other are integrated with the studio work, creating a larger perspective of the development of European theatre. The course involves students in the local festivals and carnivals and integrates mask makers and specialists from both Italy and Switzerland as it juxtaposes European styles of theatre with American sensibilities. 

Program Dates

Summer 2018 

Student Arrival: Sunday, May 27, 2018
Student Departure: Saturday, July 7, 2018



  • Tisch Drama Majors - Strongly encouraged to complete 4 semesters of Primary Studio Training before participating in this Advanced Studio option.
  • NYU and Visiting students - One year of college or professional training.

Summer 2018 Application Deadlines

Early Decision: Friday, December 8, 2018 at 5:00pm ET.
Regular Decision: Friday, March 2, 2018 at 5:00pm ET. 

Application: Please read the following admissions informatio

Application: Acceptance to the program is by audition/interview. Please read the following admissions information before starting your application.


  • Undergraduate summer 2018 tuition: $11,296
  • Registration and Services Fee: $948

Additional program fees for 2018 will be announced soon. The summer 2017 fees are below:

  • Program fee: $636
  • Lab Fee: $578
  • Housing: 
        Single on-campus villas w/ meal plan: $4,291
        Double on-campus villas w/meal plan: $3,532
        Triple on-campus villas w/meal plan: $3,227
        Quad on-campus villas w/meal plan: $3,120
  • Students are responsible for arranging their own transportation to/from the program.

Visit the NYU Office of the Bursar for additional information on tuition and fees.

Scholarship and Financial Aid

There are opportunities for financial assistance to study abroad.

Please review the Scholarships and Financial Aid for Study Abroad page for more information.


Visit the NYU Florence website for housing options and descriptions.