The Theatre School’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in theatre arts is our most flexible program and allows students to study and experience a variety of theatrical disciplines. The program is tailored toward students interested in pursuing careers in areas as diverse as directing, arts writing, educational outreach, literary management, or arts administration.
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While students major in theatre arts, they can choose from three concentrations of study:
Standard Concentration - Includes coursework in a variety of theatrical areas as designed by the student and his or her advisor.
Directing - Includes expanded coursework in directing and assistant directing opportunities in our production season, as well as directing assignments in the annual Wrights of Spring Festival, Theatre Studies Lab series, and other independent projects.
Theatre for Young Audiences - Includes the study of dramatic literature for young audiences, educational outreach, artists as teachers, and educational practice. This concentration prepares students for working in education departments of theatres and in social institutions/programs.
Students learn from a distinguished and award-winning faculty of professional directors, arts administrators, playwrights, and arts writers both in the classroom and through individual guidance and advising. Students receive formal and informal feedback from faculty through continual evaluation of their work both in the classroom and in response to their production work.
The first-year curriculum is taken in collaboration with other theatre studies students and is an immersion into the culture of theatrical production and literature. Coursework includes script analysis, theatre history, and performance to facilitate critical thinking and an experiential understanding of the theatrical process. Students also participate in three crew assignments in various areas of production.
In the second year, students continue their core theatre studies coursework including workshop courses in performance, design and technical areas, and dramatic theory. In collaboration with their advisor, students also identify their concentration and begin coursework in that area. Students take elective coursework in theatrical and other areas of study to support their own educational goals. Production assignments are arranged in consultation with the student’s advisor and are in support of the concentration.
Third-year students continue their literary and communication studies with coursework in dramatic criticism and cultural and media studies. Further coursework is defined by the student’s concentration and elective studies. Production assignments are arranged in consultation with the student’s advisor and are in support of the concentration.
The fourth year is a transition year, further developing students’ abilities and preparing students to enter the profession. Coursework includes continued elective studies and a capstone course designed to prepare students to enter the profession in their chosen field. Students receive experience and exposure to their profession though a professional internship of their choosing.
At the end of each year, The Theatre School hosts a Graduate Showcase event to showcase the work of our graduating design students. Under the guidance of the faculty, graduating designers prepare a showcase exhibit of their portfolio – which is presented in Chicago for artistic directors, alumni, and other members of the theatre, film, and television industries.
In addition to the theatre training curriculum, students complete 52 quarterly credit hours (13 courses) in the university's Liberal Studies Program. Courses are taken in theatre history, writing, quantitative reasoning and technological literacy, philosophical inquiry, religious dimensions, scientific inquiry, understanding the past, multiculturalism in the United States, and electives. These liberal studies courses are scheduled during the first three years of the program.
Every student receives quarterly evaluation and feedback from the faculty. Evaluations are based on discipline, collaboration, professional potential, and progress in the program.