School of Music, Theatre and Dance at the University of Michigan
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Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance: Acting

Designed to train talented and purposeful students for the physical and mental demands of theatre, the program focuses on developing acting, voice, movement, and stage combat skills while also providing a solid liberal arts education.

Curriculum

The Bachelor in Fine Arts in Theatre Performance: Acting requires a minimum of 122 credits: coursework is 67% within SMTD and 33% within the liberal arts. Performance training focuses on basic action/objective principles, improvisation, classical and contemporary theatre, collaboration and ensemble.

Courses

SMTD offers a wide variety of courses across all disciplines.

Silent Advisor

Degree requirements and term-by-term layout for current students.

The BFA: Acting Experience

Alumni

Alumni provide a strong network across the country in a variety of performing arts organizations and adjacent fields. From Broadway to Disney World, from the Spoleto Festival to Jacob’s Pillow, and from cruise ships to regional theatres, Wolverines can be found “in the wings” creating and supporting live performance in every venue imaginable.

Guest Artists & Masterclasses

Visiting artists interact with students as resident teaching artists in the classroom and as guest designers and stage managers on MainStage season creative teams. They zoom in to chat with students at our weekly seminar or as guests in our classes providing a strong connection to current industry practices.

Industry Showcase

Senior BFA acting students take part in an industry showcase each spring, where they present highlights of their work in front of agents and casting directors in Los Angeles.

Performance Venues

Faculty- and guest-directed plays take place in the Arthur Miller Theatre, the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, and the Power Center for the Performing Arts.

Faculty studios, Directing Theses, and the student-led Basement Arts productions are produced in the Newman Studio.

How to Prepare Your Portfolio

We want to get to know YOU! Show work that demonstrates your curiosity, creativity, artistry, organization, flexibility, or storytelling skills.

In the end, remember we are interviewing you, not your portfolio.

Faculty


Daniel Cantor

Associate Professor of Theatre & Drama
Acting, Directing

José Casas

Associate Professor of Theatre & Drama
Playwriting

Antonio Disla

Clinical Assistant Professor of Theatre & Drama
Acting, African-American Drama

Patrick Drone

Technical Manager - Properties Shop Manager and Adjunct Lecturer in Theatre & Drama

Jungah Han

Assistant Professor of Theatre & Drama
Scenic Design

Jake Hooker

Lecturer
Community Engagement, Theatre History

Amy E. Hughes

Professor of Theatre & Drama, Head of Theatre Studies
Dramatic Literature, Theatre History

Kevin Judge

Associate Professor of Theatre & Drama
Scenic Design

Richard Lindsay

Supervisor Scenery and Construction, University Productions and Adjunct Lecturer in Theatre and Drama, School of Music, Theatre & Dance

Ashley E. Lucas

Professor of Theatre & Drama and LS&A Residential College
Atonement Project, Theatre for Social Change

Henry P. Reynolds

Information Systems Administrator University Productions and Assistant Professor of Theatre

 

Performance, Production, and Engagement Opportunities

Students in the Department of Theatre & Drama have a wide range of opportunities available to them outside of the classroom, both on and off the stage–depending on your major.

Several female actors on stage, dressed in period greek costumes.
Performance Opportunities

Performance Opportunities
The Department of Theatre & Drama, in collaboration with University Productions (the producing arm of SMTD), presents four to five fully-mounted mainstage shows each year, with casts comprised entirely of acting majors.

Extracurricular performance opportunities are also available through a variety of student-run groups, as well as local professional theatres.

A female student with chin-length hair, wearing a headset, observes a production
Production Opportunities

Design & Production Opportunities
Theatre Design & Production and BTA majors work as stage managers, dramaturgs, shop assistants, and technicians for each mainstage production, and advanced D&P students may be selected to design costumes, sets, or lighting for these productions. Theatre students from all majors also crew for the School of Music, Theatre & Dance opera, musical theatre, and dance productions.

Additional design & production opportunities are available though campus groups, as well as local theaters like Ann Arbor Civic Theatre.

a male student works in a shop staining a piece of wood
Directing Opportunities

Directing Opportunities
Directing majors may act as assistant directors to guest and faculty directors in all mainstage productions. They also direct class projects, a senior project, and plays for the student-run Basement Arts organization.

a male student works in a shop staining a piece of wood
Engagement Opportunities

Engagement Opportunities
The BTA program supports students’ professional development from the very first semester, connecting them with mentors pursuing rewarding and impactful careers in the theatre and adjacent fields. A centerpiece of the program is the BTA Immersion Trip, when students visit a major city to see shows, visit theatres, and participate in Q&As and speed-networking sessions with professionals.

BTA students also participate with community organizations like the Prison Creative Arts Project through LSA.

Interarts Opportunities

Interarts Opportunities
Interarts students have several opportunities available to them in their joint relationship with Stamps School of Art & Design, including The Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series, a one-credit class that takes place once a week at the Michigan Theater in downtown Ann Arbor.

The Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series brings respected leaders and innovators from a broad spectrum of creative fields to Ann Arbor's historic Michigan Theater for weekly in-person events — and to your screen of choice with the support of our partners, Detroit Public Television and PBS Books.

a male student works in a shop staining a piece of wood
The Performing Arts Management & Entrepreneurship Minor

The Performing Arts Management & Entrepreneurship Minor
The SMTD minor in Performing Arts Management and Entrepreneurship (PAME) invites exceptional students to add arts management and entrepreneurship training to their academic portfolio. Such training is intended to amplify the careers of students engaged with the performing arts through knowledge, skills, and hands-on experiences to increase and broaden the impact of their creative talents.

a male student works in a shop staining a piece of wood
Extra Curricular Opportunities

Extracurricular Opportunities
The student run theatre organization Basement Arts presents a variety of work – from late night stand-up, to new work, to plays – completely produced by students.

Theatre students also produce, direct, design and perform in plays produced by various university groups such as the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, MUSKET, the Rude Mechanicals, and others.

The logo for a local theatre
Local Theatres

Local Theatres
A number of our faculty and students work with the local professional theatres, Tipping Point Theatre in Northville, Michigan, and The Encore Musical Theatre Company in nearby Dexter, Michigan.

In addition, students often work with community and high school theatres in the area, or with the local community theatre, Ann Arbor Civic Theatre.

Questions?