At first, I was certain I wanted a BFA when looking at colleges. I was convinced that if I did not audition and then attend a BFA, then I would not be able to compete with all the performers out there when entering the “real world,” that would have received a more comprehensive theatre performance education then me for the past four years. I ended up applying to only 5 BFA programs- not really enough to give myself a fair shot at getting into one. I came to the realization midway through my small audition circuit that what I was looking for was a BA program.
A BA program allows you to explore the many other aspects of theatre. I went to college convinced that all I ever wanted to do was act. I quickly learned that acting would not always be an option. My first semester after not getting into any shows- I assistant stage managed a beautiful children’s show which taught me what goes on behind the scenes of a production.
I now am leaning more towards the directing/playwriting/teaching side of theatre and the opportunities to explore all of these sectors are at my school with directing opportunities, playwriting classes and events like the New Play Reading Series, and community outreach theatre programs in local schools. I am able to do more than one concentration within the major- acting and directing among the many other choices. We do have to take a lot of theatre history type courses, but these are so exciting and relevant to the changing scope of theatre (for example, devising class). The theatre community is huge at my school- we have well over 300 theatre majors. This does make it difficult regarding casting, but it certainly feels even better when something does end up working out. The ability to double major or have minors outside of theatre is a tremendous upside to the BA. You do not have to choose between studying theatre and something else. I know people who are even doing Neuroscience and Theatre, but common doubles are English, Business, and Education.
BA’s produce intelligent students who notice and question the world around them. And really, isn’t that precisely what theatre is- becoming someone who notices will only add to artistic visions, characters, and anything else that one wants to create. In my BA program, I am not just learning what theatre is and how to create it, but also what art is and how it pertains to the world around us.