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  • Locations: Santiago, Chile
  • Program Terms: Spring Break Travel
  • Restrictions: Montclair applicants only
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA: 2.5 Academic Area: Dance, English, Latin American and Latino Studies, Literature, Theatre
Program Type: Faculty-Led Program Language of Instruction: English, Spanish
Program Description:

Spring Break in Santiago, Chile:         

Devised Theater Project

Sept. 2017 – May, 2018

March 2 – 10, 2018

Program Closed for 2018
Meet the Faculty
Payment Deadlines and Costs
Program Forms
Contact Us

Program Overview

Participate in an artistic exchange with students and faculty from the Theater School at the Universidad Mayor and travel to Santiago, Chile, one of Latin America's most vibrant cultural cities. This creative exchange program will feature a collaborative, newly devised bi-lingual theatre piece to be created by the students themselves and a bilingual acting experience with students and faculty from the Universidad Mayor. The project seeks a diverse group of students with interests in performance (actors, musicians and dancers) playwriting, creative writing, directing, dramaturgy and production design. The online development of the bilingual piece and the rehearsal process, both online and live in the study abroad components of the program, will connect both student populations as an ensemble. Working together in Chile in March 2018 and in Montclair in September 2018, students will learn about each other’s vast cultural history and current position in the world.
There will be a “work-in-progress” performance of the piece in Chile in March 2018 and again in Montclair in September 2018. Participants will work with MSU professors Heather Benton and Debbie Saivetz and with Universidad Mayor professors Leonor Lopehandía and Carolina Larenas. All four faculty members are also working professional theatre artists.

map of chile
Teatro Mori
msu and mayor students
Itinerary Highlights: About Santiago, Chile

During the March 2018 trip, students will experience independent company-based Chilean Theater at multiple venues and visit the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (Museum of Memory and Human Rights) which commemorates the human rights violations committed during the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Participants will have an opportunity to be immersed in the language and culture of Chile with a full itinerary of activities in the capital city of Santiago, the surrounding wine country of the Maipo Valley and poet Pablo Neruda’s home in the beautiful seaside town of Isla Negra.

shot of chile
santiago chile 4k

Cultural experiences and day trips will include a walking tour of Santiago to historical sites such as Santa Lucia Hill, the foundational site of the city; the Palacio de la Moneda, the Presidential Palace; Casa Naranja a Gothic mansion of the 19th century, the Church of Saint Domingo, featuring the Bavarian Baroque style architecture; Santiago Municipal Cathedral, one of the largest and most impressive 18th C. churches in Chile; Estación Mapocho, a former railway station recently converted into a gorgeous cultural center and performance space; Mercado Central (the fish market) and La Vega (Santiago's bustling main market; spend an afternoon at Pueblitos los Dominicos, a crafts market with over 200 artisans specializing in traditional Chilean arts and crafts.
March falls nearing the end of the South American summer and is characterized by daily highs from 77°F  to 83°F.

Program Director Heather Benton is the Program Coordinator of the BFA Acting Program in the Department of Theatre and Dance and specializes in physical, integrated approaches to actor training. Benton has developed new work (as a director, movement artist, playwright and/or actor) for festivals and theatres in New York (underground zero festival, East River Commedia, Theatre Trouve, New York Fringe), regionally (THE COLONY, Ursa Major, Seattle Theatre Group, Annex Theatre, Village Theatre) and for universities and conservatory programs (American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Kenyon College, Montclair State). A member of Actor’s Equity Association, Benton has performed internationally (Moscow Art Theatre), in national tours (Montana Rep) and regional theatre (American Repertory Theatre, North Carolina Shakes, Sierra Rep, Luna Stage etc…). She is currently serving as devising chair for region II of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
professor benton - dance dept. saivetz
lopehandia santaigo brochure carolina santiago brochure

Program Co-Director Debbie Saivetz teaches acting and directing in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Montclair State.  She has directed and developed new plays at New York, regional and international theaters such as the Foundry, Fulcrum, Clubbed Thumb, Rattlestick, E.S.T., Working Theater, Voice & Vision, Red Bull, INTAR, American Lyric Theater, the Lark, the Playwrights' Center, Hartford Stage, the Goodman, the Guthrie, Long Wharf, Seattle Rep, Teatro Helénico (Mexico City), La Casa de los Teatros (Oaxaca) and Teatro La Llave (Santiago, Chile). She is a Drama League Directing Fellow, a New Georges Affiliate Artist, an alumna of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and was a resident director at New Dramatists.  

Program Directors in Chile:

Leonor Lopehandia is a Professor of Voice and Coordinator of General Training at the Universidad Mayor's School of Theater.

Carolina Larenas is a Professor of Voice at the Universidad Mayor's and the Universidad de Chile's Schools of Theater.


Students register for one of the following courses for Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 semesters, with classes meeting on campus from September to December and from January until the spring break trip and then again on campus through to the end of the semester in May. Courses are variable credit and may be taken for 1-3 credits each but all participants must register for both a Fall 2017 course and a Spring 2018 course.
MSU and Mayor Students Group
Students/Instructors/Rene Lara
  • THTR 432 Devised Theater Project I (Fall 2017) 1-3 credits
  • THTR 432 Devised Theater Project II (Spring 2018) 1-3 credits
  • THTR 599 Independent Study: Devised Theater Project I and II 1-3 credits
Alternate course credit options to be confirmed: (all 3 credits each)
  • LALS 290: Special Topics: Devised Theater Project I and II
  • SPAN 373: Special Topics: Devised Theater Project I and II
  • SPAN 560: Special Topics: Devised Theater Project I and II
Check with the Office of International Education & Global Engagement to confirm that SPAN and LALS course options are being offered.

Estimated Program Costs:
approximately $2,000

The program costs include:

  • Roundtrip airfare                       
  • Apartment-style hotel, double occupancy rooms               
  • Transfers                            
  • Theatre tickets                 
  • All lectures, workshops, and tours

Program costs are based on 10 participants and current exchange rates and are subject to change.
Participants should expect out of pocket expenses for food, personal expenses, etc.

Payments are made through the Office of International Education & Global Engagement (not the Bursar) and can be in the form of checks, money orders or credit card forms (not payable electronically or online).

Payment Schedule:
The payment schedule for program costs is as follows:

Application Fee by Sept. 1:


First Deposit by Nov. 1:    


Second Deposit by Dec. 1:    


Final Payment by Feb.1    

$500 (to be confirmed)

Make checks payable to “Montclair State University.”

Accommodations and Meals:

7 nights lodging at an apartment style hotel in the heart of Santiago. Three and four-person occupancy suites include kitchenettes and a daily breakfast buffet. Two group meals are included.

Application Procedure

Participants should have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and be in good standing.
All students should complete the International Engagement Center online application form by August 1, which includes:

  • A reference form to be submitted by any MSU faculty member OTHER THAN Prof. Benton or Prof. Saivetz.
  • A personal statement explaining why you are interested in the devised theater project.
  • A sample of recent creative work (in written or video format):
    • If in written format, please submit a sample of 3-4 pages of original text (ie: plays, short stories, poems etc...). 
    • If in video format, please submit a sample of performed work, 3-4 minutes in length (monologues, songs [sung or instruments, or both], dance, movement, special skills etc...).
    • The application deadline is August 1, 2017.
    • Each applicant will then be contacted by the Faculty Directors for an interview via phone or skype.

Pre-Enrollment Form  - this form will be filled out and submitted by Prof. Benton or Prof. Saivetz to the Global Education Center after the interview is complete.

Space is limited, and selections will be announced by September 1 to enable registration for the Fall 2017 course. Program cost payments will be in installments, due November 1, December 1 and February 1. Photocopies of a valid passport are required by December 1.



For further information:

Contact Wendy Gilbert-Simon at the Office of International  Engagement at 973-655-4185 or email

Contact Heather Benton at 973-655-7000 or Debbie Saivetz at 973-655-3353 or
Or visit us on the web at

U.S. Department of State Grant Supports International Theater Exchange Program

MSU Students Participate in Interactive workshops with Chilean students


Office of International Engagement
Student Center Annex Rm. 207,
Montclair State University
Montclair, NJ 07043

Tel: 973 655-4185
Fax: 973 655-7654

This program is a Grant Program funded in part by the U.S. Department of State, administered by Partners of the Americas.

partners of the americas logo
USA Study Abroad Logo
Department of State Seal


Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.