When BFA Plans Fall Through: Finding Your Place In The College Theatre Scene

  • Emma Roney

Loving theatre has always been the easiest thing for me to do. Just like thousands of other little girls, I grew up with dreams to be star, with cast albums forever echoing through my house, and Christmas gifts in envelopes with Broadway tickets were always the most anticipated.

By the time the word “college” was being thrown around, I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to study but theatre. It seemed obvious that it was my clear choice. I immediately threw myself into audition prep, which, if you’ve been through college auditions, you’ll know is grueling. I had taken a safe path, applying for both BFA and BA programs.   Throughout the process, the doubt began to creep into my mind. In a moment not unlike Cathy from the Last Five Years, I began to lose the strong intensity that I had began my college audition process with. I started seeing girls who were just like me. Or worse, just like me and could really dance. Audition season came and went, and the rejections came in. A no from Syracuse, a no from Ithaca, a small flirtation with the possibility of getting off of the Tisch waitlist, and then my final and most hurtful no. This left me with my non-audition BA options, and I felt lost. Was there a point to a theatre education if it was only a BA? The process had left me beaten down, and unsure of where to go.  

I ended up making the best decision of my life. I am currently a student at Boston College, and I just finished my freshman year, currently pursuing a double major in Theatre and Communications. I initially struggled to understand my place in their community. I arrived not wanting to perform anymore. I still had such a love for theatre, but my heart wasn’t in performance. I felt as though I was letting myself down, or giving up on my dreams. What I now understand is that a love of theatre and performance can shine in other places. Allow your dreams to expand, and understand that a bump in the road, a small setback, or a change in direction are not necessarily bad things. I perform with an on campus a cappella group, and have rediscovered my passion for singing.

Although I can’t be involved in many productions with the theatre department, I am taking theatre classes I am interested in, and getting involved when I can. I learned that my love for theatre can be channeled into so many different avenues that I haven’t explored yet. You don’t need to be working towards a BFA to feel proud of the hard work you are dedicating to a theatre education. Theatre is so open and inviting, and at its core will always be welcoming and ready for you to jump back into, even if your life takes you on a different path than you expected.