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Strong Theater & Academics

isabella2002isabella2002 6 replies7 threads New Member
Hello!

I'm an IB Diploma Candidate at a top public high school with strong EC's, a 34 ACT, and a 4.7 weighted GPA. Although my main priority right now is finding academically rigorous universities with strong liberal arts (not exactly sure what I'll major in, but somewhere in the humanities area), I've been heavily involved in theater for a very long time and would love to pursue that as a double-major or minor. Do you know of any schools that have strong drama departments? Yale is one for sure and that's my dream school, but I'd like to look at some others considering it's a such a gamble for anyone to get in there.
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Replies to: Strong Theater & Academics

  • simba9simba9 3372 replies20 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    Carnegie-Mellon came to mind, but I don't know how good they are at liberal arts. USC. Both are tough to get into.
    edited June 2018
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10172 replies119 threads Senior Member
    For another reach, JHU
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30752 replies197 threads Senior Member
    Performance? Production? Design? Stage Management? Directing? Writng?

    Which aspect of theatre interests you? The advice can be very different depending on yout interests. Also, a fair number of places don't have much in the way of theatre departments, but do have extensive student-run theatre extracurriculars.

    Does Yale have undergraduate theatre? I thought their programs were only at the MFA level.
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  • KatMTKatMT College Rep 4176 replies71 threads Senior Member
    You may want to ask this question in the Theatre and Drama majors forum... here are a few off the top of my head to look at with various levels of academic selectivity...

    Williams
    Vassar
    Skidmore
    Kenyon
    Wesleyan
    Muhlenberg
    Connecticut College
    Northwestern
    Brown

    Carnegie Mellon's Drama School is a top conservatory where the students take very little outside of the major, so may not be a great fit for OP.

    Yale has active opportunities to participate in theatre, and has an undergraduate major. But it is important to note that the undergraduate program is not the same as the Yale Drama School graduate programs.

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  • CaMom13CaMom13 2381 replies15 threads Senior Member
    ^ great list, I might add Barnard and maybe LMU for a safety. I would personally say stay away from strong academic schools like CMU and U-Mich that offer a BFA - you will you'll have an easier time fitting in a double BA and have more of a cohort of fellow actor-scholars where the Theater dept's focus isn't on pre-professional training for the BFAs.
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  • ninakatarinaninakatarina 1619 replies44 threads Senior Member
    I would not choose JHU for theatre.
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  • isabella2002isabella2002 6 replies7 threads New Member
    I'd like to be on the performance side of things. Great student-run extracurricular options are fine as well!
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  • rosered55rosered55 4834 replies124 threads Senior Member
    UVM, if you can afford the tuition. A family member attends there and has been very involved in theater while majoring in environmental studies (or science, I can't remember which).
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  • aquaptaquapt 2438 replies51 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    In addition to the East Coast LAC's (Vassar/Skidmore/Wesleyan/etc) that have been mentioned, Lawrence University in Wisconsin might be worth a look. It's more known for its music conservatory than for theater, but it has great performing arts facilities because of the conservatory, and its theater program might fall in that sweet spot of being strong enough to be attractive, but not so elite as to be inaccessible to non-majors. Lawrence generally makes it very easy for students on the LAC side (which is great academically) to participate in performing arts as non-majors or to double-major or minor. https://www.lawrence.edu/academics/study/theatre_arts They give nice merit aid too.

    University of Richmond could be another to consider. https://theatredance.richmond.edu/major-minor/theatre.html

    and maybe Vanderbilt? https://as.vanderbilt.edu/theatre/curriculum/minor.php
    edited June 2018
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  • merc81merc81 11806 replies201 threads Senior Member
    Colleges along the Hudson tend to be excellent for theatre: Vassar, Skidmore, Sarah Lawrence, Barnard, Bard. Some NESCACs warrant strong consideration: Connecticut College, Middlebury; Hamilton's theatre facilities should be seen. Kenyon could be great. Several schools from the aforementioned offer academics across the humanities comparable to those of Yale.
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  • momrathmomrath 6022 replies39 threads Senior Member
    Williams has a small but vibrant theater program with enthusiastic support and beautiful facilities. The Williamstown Theater Festival is an outstanding summer event, and though it's not administered by the college, the energy and influence rubs off. During the school year there are plentiful performance opportunities, available to majors and non-majors and non-majors alike. Look at the Studio'62 Program: https://theatre.williams.edu/studio62/

    The academic strength of the English department is superb. Double majoring is common and interdisciplinary synergy is encouraged. In another thread you mentioned an interest in creative writing. Award winning fiction writers on Williams' faculty are Jim Shepard, Andrea Barrett and Karen Barrett, along with other visiting lecturers.
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 6891 replies171 threads Senior Member
    @merc81 I wouldn’t say West Point is known for great theatre. :)
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  • merc81merc81 11806 replies201 threads Senior Member
    With Skidmore as the exception, I'd meant the east side of the Hudson. The west side tends to be much weaker for theatre, @privatebanker.
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  • apple23apple23 541 replies16 threads Member
    Hamilton's theatre facilities should be seen.
    And, in the interim, read about: https://www.hamilton.edu/news/story/kennedy-center-center-for-theatre-and-the-studio-arts-nears-completion
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  • peyre1peyre1 26 replies5 threads Junior Member
    A good safety school for you could be Elon University (located in NC). The theater program there is awesome and all of the students love it!
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 6891 replies171 threads Senior Member
    @merc81. I agree. Just joking! when i read your post I thought of my brothers Hudson River school experience as a cadet. Made me laugh
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24801 replies20 threads Senior Member
    If you don't want to be a theater major, make sure you ask a lot of questions about the ability of non-majors to get roles in the productions. Many schools talk about being inclusive, but all the parts go to theater majors.
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  • merc81merc81 11806 replies201 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    I would not expect you to use a smiley emoticon in other than an honest way, @privatebanker, so I appreciated the humor! My reply was a joke of sorts as well, as in, would West Point be any more oriented towards theatre if were located on the opposite side of the river, or would Sarah Lawrence assume a miltary aspect if it were moved westward?
    edited June 2018
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  • SpringbirdSpringbird 149 replies9 threads Junior Member
    I think you'll find that most of the liberal arts colleges have some sort of theater productions as an EC. Think about what you are looking for.

    If you want a school with a strong major with an array of classes, and you want to major or minor in theater, then check out the great suggestions above. But if you just want to stay active in performing as an extra-curricular and you're pretty sure you won't take more than one or two theater classes, that's a different story. You might find that you can get better parts in a less competitive program (although keep in mind that the productions might not be of the same quality).

    I attended a LAC not known at all for theater, but our student led theater group was great. I got some good parts even though I was clearly not on the road to Broadway. Some of the productions were very well done, while some were of lesser quality, but it was all a lot of fun with wonderful people. Some students also got to write their own scripts and produce them, things like that. So be sure to think about your goals.
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  • CaMom13CaMom13 2381 replies15 threads Senior Member
    @peyre1 - so Elon is actually the kind of place I wouldn't want a kid double majoring in theater (acting) to end up. Why? Because their acting program is *so* good and they offer a highly-regarded BFA so the competition for priductions is at a level that pretty much excludes non-bfa students from participating fully. Not to pick on Elon, which is a wonderful place, but this article from one of their students was very influential on the plan for my D's applicaions. She applied to BA programs and BFA programs - but no BAs where a BFA is offered. Feeling like you got the second class track in a school you otherwise love isn't a happy place to be. .

    https://www.theodysseyonline.com/majoring-in-theatre-ruined-me
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