The Bachelor of Theatre Arts (BTA) program in SMTD’s Department of Theatre & Drama gives independent-thinking, entrepreneurial theatre-makers and arts managers the ability to create a course of study supporting their unique interests. The program’s flexibility and interdisciplinarity makes the BTA particularly attractive to undergraduates wishing to pursue a minor or second major at the university. BTA students complete coursework and hands-on learning experiences in a wide range of areas, including performing arts management, playwriting, global theatre and ethnic studies, practice-as-research, producing, education, and stage management.
Read the BTA curriculum.
Welcome to the BTA Program!
Featuring greetings from Nya Johnson ’23, Sierra Miliziano ’21, and Dana Pierangeli ’22.
I chose the BTA program for its diverse theatre experience that allows me to choose my own adventure in my overall theatre education without limiting myself to only performing, directing, designing, etc.. I enrolled into U-M planning to pursue my degree in business administration and the flexibility of the degree program makes it possible for me to pursue these two degrees at once.
Cortez Hill, Class of 2024
Want to learn about the Bachelor of Theatre Arts (BTA) program from the student perspective? Listen to BTbAbes, a podcast created by and for BTA students! Hear current BTAs talk about designing their own curriculum, pursuing dual degrees at the university, participating in student organizations, transitioning to graduate study or careers after graduation, and more. Conceived, produced, and hosted by Sam Aupperlee ’24, Cortez Hill ’24, Jill Pierangeli ’24, and Paulina Titterington ’24.
Episode 1: An introduction to your hosts, the wonderful BTbAbes, and an overview of the BTA program and why we love it!
Episode 2: A discussion with the lovely Emily Erlich ’21 about stage management and student theatre organizations, followed by a wonderful conversation with MacKenzie Mollison ’22 about performance opportunities in student orgs!
Episode 3: Diving into the BTA as a dual degree option! An interview with Kaitlyn Tom ’22 discussing what it’s like to be a junior BTA double-majoring in Communications, followed by a discussion with Dylan Genouw ’21 about being both a BTA and STEM major!
I love the flexibility the BTA provides. In my time at Michigan, I have been able to thoroughly explore several interests within theatre in order to understand what works best for me and what I’m most passionate about. We interact with people of all theatrical disciplines, allowing us to effectively navigate those relationships and see the big picture of the theatrical world. The BTA program produces successful theatre professionals because we learn to fight for what we want to pursue and advocate for ourselves in order to get the quality education this University can provide.
Maija Veinbergs, Class of 2021
BTA and Beyond Podcast
BTA and Beyond highlights what current BTA students are doing, what they plan to do, and what alumni are doing beyond the program. In Episode 1, host Margaret McFadden ’22 discusses the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions in the theatre and how higher education, such as SMTD’s BTA program, can lead to greater support and recognition of women’s contributions to the field. The episode features interviews with BTA alumna Leia Squillace ’17 (Artistic Director, The Confined Arts) and two current students.
The thing I value most about the BTA program is the flexibility it offers me to lean into the parts of theatre that I am most passionate about as well as explore new areas that I am not as familiar with. Because our program allows us a lot of freedom of how we want to build our theatre education, I have learned a lot about being independent and self-sufficient. I think this is why so many BTA students have leadership positions in student organizations. This is not to say that we don’t have advisors and faculty members to help us when we get stuck, because we do, but I appreciate learning how to make my own path. When I first got to Michigan, I was slightly intimidated by SMTD, but being in the BTA and learning to advocate for myself and put myself out there for new opportunities has given me a lot more confidence in myself and my abilities.
Sam De Gyarfas, Class of 2023
The most common thing that you will hear about the BTA program is that it’s extremely versatile. A range of classes from some of the best professors in theatre gives you the opportunity to explore multiple facets within the profession. As a prospective student, I had no idea what I wanted to do in the future; all I knew was that I had a passion for the performing arts. The Bachelor of Theatre Arts program gave me the leverage to explore my interests, and ultimately settle on something I love…. I have been astounded by the opportunities given to me. There are so many clubs, mentorship programs, internships, and even jobs at my disposal through SMTD. The Bachelor of Theatre Arts program makes me, first and foremost, excited to go out into the world, but also extremely prepared.
Scotty Lockwood, Class of 2023
The BTA program is a good fit for me because it allows me to explore my many interests instead of being put into one box. I could explore acting, directing, stage management, arts administration, dramaturgy, and more. The BTA program showed me so many artistic paths I could take and opened my eyes at how large the theatre field really is. My goal was to learn and experience as much as I can before I graduate and the BTA program constantly provides me with new opportunities to learn and connect with theatre professionals.
Shannon Harper, Class of 2022
Lindsay Alexis Development Coordinator, Sugar23, Class of 2013
William DeCamp Development Coordinator, Comedy Central, Class of 2013
Aislinn Frantz Associate Producer, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Class of 2012
Rikki Gimelstob Casting Director, Telsey + Co., Class of 2010
Alison Hacker Researcher, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Class of 2017
Marc Kamler Partner, A3 Artists Agency, Class of 2000
Ryan Lucas United Talent Agency, Class of 2015
Mike Michelon Executive Director, Ann Arbor Summer Festival, Class of 2010
Leia Squillace Artistic Director, Confined Arts, Class of 2017
Adam Wachter Composer, lyricist, writer, and music director, Class of 2005
In addition to performance and production experiences through the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, students at the University of Michigan have the opportunity to be involved in a vast number of student organizations. Here is a sample list of BTA favorites.
Blank Space Workshop
The Michigan Daily
Wall-to-Wall Theatre Festival
Michigan Performance Outreach Workshop (MPOW)
Educational Theatre Company (ETC)