The Stage is Yours: Exploring Theatre Degrees in the USA
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 specialization 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.
Undergraduate degree courses are generally for four years and postgraduate courses range from two to 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 the SAT (for undergraduate 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, resumes, 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 postgraduate 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 its 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
Frequently Asked Questions related to Theatre Degrees in the USA:
Q1: What are Theatre Degrees, and why pursue them in the USA?
A1: Theatre Degrees encompass various programs that focus on the art and craft of theater, including acting, directing, production, and design. Pursuing them in the USA offers access to renowned institutions, diverse theater scenes, and professional opportunities.
Q2: What are the different types of Theatre Degrees available in the USA?
A2: Theatre Degrees include Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Arts (BA), Master of Fine Arts (MFA), and Doctor of Fine Arts (DFA) programs, each offering different levels of specialization and training.
Q3: What career opportunities can Theatre Degree graduates explore in the USA?
A3: Graduates can pursue careers in acting, directing, stage management, production design, lighting design, costume design, and various behind-the-scenes roles in theaters, film, television, and more.
Q4: How do I prepare for auditions or portfolio submissions for Theatre Degree programs in the USA?
A4: Preparation involves selecting and rehearsing monologues, preparing audition materials, and presenting a strong portfolio showcasing your work if applying for design or production programs.
Q5: Are scholarships and financial aid available for Theatre Degree students in the USA?
A5: Yes, many universities and institutions offer scholarships, grants, and financial aid options to help students pursue Theatre Degrees.
Q6: Can international students apply for Theatre Degree programs in the USA?
A6: Yes, international students are welcome to apply, but they may need to meet specific visa and language proficiency requirements.
Q7: Are there renowned theater schools and programs in the USA?
A7: Yes, there are prestigious institutions known for their theater programs, including The Juilliard School, Tisch School of the Arts (NYU), and Yale School of Drama, among others.
Q8: How does the audition process work for Theatre Degree programs?
A8: The audition process typically involves performing monologues, participating in interviews, and showcasing your talent to a panel of faculty members.
Q9: What should I consider when choosing a Theatre Degree program in the USA?
A9: Factors to consider include the program’s curriculum, faculty expertise, location, theater facilities, industry connections, and available opportunities for practical experience.
Q10: Can Theatre Degree graduates find success in fields other than acting and directing?
A10: Absolutely! Theatre graduates often possess valuable skills in communication, collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving that are sought after in various professions, including education, arts administration, and public relations.
Q11: How can I build a professional network in the theater industry while pursuing a Theatre Degree in the USA?
A11: Networking opportunities include participating in productions, internships, attending theater festivals, and connecting with alumni and industry professionals.
Q12: What resources are available for aspiring playwrights and scriptwriters in Theatre Degree programs?
A12: Many programs offer courses, workshops, and opportunities for aspiring playwrights to develop their scripts and gain valuable feedback.
Q13: How does the theater scene vary across different regions in the USA?
A13: The theater scene varies greatly, with prominent scenes in cities like New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and regional theaters throughout the country, each offering unique experiences and opportunities.
Q14: Are there Theater Degree programs that focus on specific areas like musical theater or experimental theater?
A14: Yes, specialized programs exist, allowing students to focus on areas such as musical theater, experimental theater, theater technology, and more.
Q15: What is the importance of internships and practical experience in Theatre Degree programs?
A15: Internships and practical experience provide hands-on learning, industry exposure, and the opportunity to build a professional portfolio, enhancing career prospects.
Also Read: Study In USA