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BFA in Perfomance: Your Path to the Footlights

Our Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance offers two different concentrations: a BFA in Acting and a BFA in Directing. The first-year curriculum is nearly the same for both. Beginning in the second year, Acting and Directing students begin specialized training in their own disciplines. You'll enjoy many performance and production opportunities during your academic career at Michigan, as well as non-School of Music, Theatre & Dance required academic courses.

What is the Acting Concentration?

The BFA in Acting trains talented and purposeful students for the physical and mental demands of theatre. Our actor training focuses on developing your acting, voice, movement and stage combat skills, while providing a solid liberal arts education.

U-M Theatre faculty are all working professionals within their various disciplines: actors, directors, designers, technicians and published scholars.

Performance training focuses on basic action/objective principles, improvisation, classical and contemporary theatre, collaboration and ensemble. The core curriculum includes acting, voice and speech, dialects, movement and stage combat classes. Combat II classes allow students the opportunity to test for Society of American Fight Directors adjudicated skills proficiency. In their second year, acting majors complete a sophomore review by the performance faculty.

The 4-year curriculum is a balance of performance and academic classes. You'll take courses in theatre studies, foreign language, English, writing and a good number of elective subjects. These may include musical theatre, dance and music classes, in addition to a great many liberal arts classes available within the broad range of U-M course offerings.

The BFA in Performance requires a total of 122 credit hours. Students with a serious interest in a second field of study may earn a dual degree, both of which usually can be completed within five years.

U-M Theatre classes are held in the fall (September-December) and winter (January-April) terms. During the summer months, many students hone their talents working in summer stock or theatre festivals.

Degree Requirements for Acting Concentration

Theatre Course List

What is the Directing Concentration?

The BFA in Directing is designed for those who seek directing as a career and may wish to pursue graduate study. Directing majors learn the craft of directing stage productions; the function of a director; and the relationships between a director and designers, stage managers and actors. You'll direct class projects, a senior project and plays for the student-run Basement Arts organization. You might also do an internship with a professional theater in your senior year or after graduation.

Besides directing classes, you'll take movement, voice and acting classes, a film and video class, theatre studies, technical theatre and design classes. In addition, you'll take a significant number of liberal arts classes, such as foreign language and writing courses, plus your choice of classes in the arts, sciences, humanities, psychology, communications and more.

U-M directing faculty are working professionals who continue to direct in major regional theatres across the country. All directing students undergo a third-year review with the performance faculty.

The Directing Concentration requires a total of 122 credit hours. Students with a serious interest in another field of study may earn a dual degree, both of which usually can be completed within five years.

U-M Theatre classes are held in the fall (September-December) and winter (January-April) terms. During the summer months, many students hone their talents working in summer stock and theatre festivals

Degree Requirements for Directing Concentration

Theatre Course List

What performance and directing opportunities are available for BFA in performance majors?

University Productions:

The U-M Theatre Department presents five mainstage productions each year in three different theatres. The casts are comprised primarily of acting majors, but occasionally include faculty. Shows are directed by faculty and guests, such as Hal Cooper, Michele Shay and Robert Woodruff. Recent productions have featured the works of Harper Lee, Arthur Miller, Molière, Shakespeare, Wilder and Shepard, as well as many contemporary ethnic works by such playwrights as Brian Friel, Wole Soyinka and U-M Theatre's own professional playwright, OyamO.

Basement Arts:

The student-run Basement Arts company presents 25 or 30 studio productions each year. Students produce the plays. Performances are presented on weekends, generally in Studio One.

Other University of Michigan Productions:

Majors also design various plays produced by such university groups as the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, MUSKET, the Rude Mechanicals, and others.

Local theatre groups:

A number of our faculty and students work with two local Equity theatres, the Performance Network and the Purple Rose Theater, founded by actor Jeff Daniels, Arbor Opera Theatre, Burns Park Players, Ann Arbor Civic Theatre, as well as a number of traditional and non-traditional theatre companies in the area. In addition students often work with high school theatres in the area. The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, located in Jackson, MI, runs mid-July through August.

What are my career options?

 

Who can I talk to about the BFA in Performance?

Call the U-M Theatre Department at: (734)764-5350.
Ask to speak with an advisor in the Performance program.

How do I apply to the BFA in Performance degree program?

The easiest way is to apply online.  Upload all the additional documents you can (essays and resumé) with the online application. 

Send your SAT or ACT test scores, academic recommendations, and your transcripts to the U-M Undergraduate Admissions Office.

Send your performing arts recommendation, resumé and photo to the School of Music, Theatre & Dance Office of Admissions.

The application review is a three-step process:

  • The School's Admissions Office will screen your application for academic eligibility (including grade point average and ACT or SAT scores).
  • If you are academically eligible for consideration, you'll be contacted by the Theatre Department to confirm an audition (Acting Concentration) or interview (Directing Concentration) with the Theatre Performance faculty. Please go to the Auditions & Interviews page for more detailed information.
  • After your audition or interview, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance Admissions Office will make the final determination regarding acceptance. A decision letter is sent as soon as that decision has been made.
PENTECOST THE CRUCIBLE

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