THE RIGHT STAGE: Yale is popular with students for its drama studies
Theatre or theater is a combined form of fine arts where performers present a real or fictional event before a live audience. The performers may communicate to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music, and dance. Elements of design and stagecraft are used to improve the performance and to enhance the audience’s experience.
Modern Western theatre is derived largely from ancient Greek drama. It borrows technical terms, genre categorization, themes, characters, and plot elements from the Greek theatrical culture. Plays, musicals, ballets and operas come under the umbrella of theatre. Many aspiring actors go to the US to get a degree in theatre. Here’s some more info.
Many colleges in the US offer various courses in this field. Students can apply for an undergraduate Certificate/Diploma or a Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) degree and a post-graduate Master of Fine Art (MFA) or Doctor of Fine Arts (DFA) degree, with a specialization in either theatre or drama.
Other areas of specializations include Sound Design, Stage Management, Dramaturgy, Dramatic Criticism, Playwriting, Technical Design and Production, Directing and Theatre Management. These courses train a student in acting, movement, voice, and other aspects of the profession. Under-graduate degree courses are generally for four years and postgraduate courses range from two-four years. The duration of the diploma or certificate courses may be between two and three years.
Some basic admission needs are standardized test scores, like SAT (for under-graduate degrees) or GRE (for post-graduate studies). These may not be mandatory for art courses, but they will certainly be encouraged. Admission panels will prefer to take in applicants with a background in performing arts.
International students will also be asked to provide proof of English proficiency in the form of TOEFL or IELTS scores. Apart from that, students will also be expected to send official transcripts, essays (on topics specified by the Admissions Board), Statement of Purpose or Personal Statement, letters of reference, resume and photographs.
Additionally, since acting, theatre and drama are purely performance-oriented subjects, applicants will also be asked to audition for admission. Since it may not be possible for international students to audition live, many institutes allow students to send pre – screening videos. It is always best to check this with the college that one is applying to. The college will also specify what kind of a performance piece is required for audition purposes. Applicants may be invited for live auditions based on their pre-screening video.
Fees and scholarships
Tuition fees range approximately between $27000 to 30000 per year for undergraduate degrees and between $35000 to 40000 for post graduate courses. There are several scholarship awards, grants and financial aid opportunities available to students. Scholarships are competitive and based on merit and sometimes, audition results. They may range from several hundred dollars to full tuition and fees. These can be renewed, based on academic performance. Every college or University will have their own eligibility criteria for granting scholarships. Students applying for scholarships/aid may be asked to provide additional documents as part of their application.
Best of the best
The finest drama degrees not only offer training in technical skills, but also the opportunity to rehearse, prepare and perform in public, and the chance to learn in classes or workshops run by professionals. Some esteemed institutions offering training and degrees to aspiring actors are The Juilliard School in New York, The Yale School of Drama, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, The New School for Drama in New York, The Actors Studio in Pace University New York, Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and The American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.
Drama school teaches a student to become accomplished, imaginative, inventive and expressive. It is not an easy task to become a part of the performing arts world, but choosing the right course and college can pave the way for passionate, enthusiastic and dedicated actors to enjoy successful professional careers.
Source: This article was originally published in Mid-Day newspaper – PDF File: Theatre Degrees In USA