“…I am extremely impressed with the level of talent, preparedness, and professional behavior that I find in every student I audition from Western Michigan’s Theatre Program — amazing young students.”
- Ron Wilson, Director, Case Western Reserve University-Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program
Students entering the Acting (Theatre Performance) program will be working toward a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. The BFA program in Acting offers a wide range of opportunities with focus on vocal & physical development, script analysis and acting theory. This intense curriculum is designed to give students a broad study of the theatre arts and develop strong performance skills while providing numerous opportunities for onstage experience.
Courses offered include camera & voice over work, directing, and concentrated studio work in movement, voice, and speech. The acting classes cover all genres of theatre and are designed with a personalized focus in mind. An impressive student to faculty ratio makes this very personalized training a key component of our success. Master classes with nationally recognized, professional artists are also provided to expand the academic experience beyond the classroom.
Students receive varied performance opportunities in the Department’s nine-show season, offering experiences in three different theatre spaces. Onstage experience is also provided through department-supported, student-directed Footlight productions, directing classes, as well as the New Play Project offered each summer. Several professional and summer stock companies audition our students on campus and students also have the chance to showcase their talent for industry agents and casting directors from New York and Chicago.
The Audition Format:
Prepare an audition of two contrasting one-minute monologues. You will be stopped after two minutes. Please be sure both pieces are completed within the designated time. Your introduction should include your name, the name of your characters, and the plays those characters are from. The clock begins after your introduction.
After your audition you will be informed if you have been called back or not within one half hour or so. If you are called back you are then scheduled for a second interview/audition in the early afternoon of the same day. If you are not passed on you are free to leave at that time.
The interview/audition callback is a 5 minute scheduled time slot where the student will be interviewed and/or asked to work one or two of their pieces with members of the Performance faculty. This is a hands on opportunity for the faculty to get to know the potential students better and for the student to ask questions of the faculty.
If needed, there is the option for a third callback session which would be scheduled in the late afternoon the same day. This will be another 2 minute time slot in which the student will present their two prepared audition pieces again.
When preparing your audition, be sure to use material that is relatively within your age range and understanding. It is always advised that you seek out coaching and work extensively on your audition. Wear clothing that is simple, professional, and comfortable. Do not use costumes, dialects, or props. A chair will be provided for you.
A monologue should show off who you are and the best work always comes from the actor’s ability to personalize the material. Be careful that your performance does not become too intimate, low energy or passive. Equally important is that a high energy piece not become about shouting. We encourage you to engage your body – feel free to move as appropriate to the material. Be clear in the differences between your two pieces so that they are distinguishable from each other. Make sure your introduction is also clear. We suggest that you focus on contemporary, realistic scripts in selecting monologues. Choosing the perfect monologue takes work. This is your calling card and should be done with diligence and care.
Some Useful Books:
The Perfect Monologue by Ginger Friedman – a guide to preparing this most important actor tool.
Audition by Michael Shurtleff – a fantastic and comprehensive audition tool.
For further information on Department of Theatre majors or the minor, contact Debra Gambino, Academic Advisor, at email@example.com.