UT's New Acting Program

<p>So the University of Texas has just instituted an audition-only "Actor Training Program" and claims they will have an Acting major (as opposed to their Theatre & Dance BA) by 2014.</p>

<p>Do you think this will put their program higher on the list of potential theatre majors? Will it improve their teaching? I tend to think of UT as easy to get into and not incredibly prestigious. Maybe this will change that.</p>


<p>Why do you consider it easy to get into? They only take 20 students? Is the teaching sub par?</p>

<p>When you say you think of UT as not being "not incredibly prestigious" -- is there some particular program you are referring to? I don't have any insight into UT when it comes to acting but I do know that there progams in other areas -- business, law, etc. -- are highly regarded. They don't tend to be a school that gets into an area just to have a program. It is a VERY WELL funded school so I could easily see them acquiring a very good factulty if they were serious about putting together a top BFA program.</p>

<p>Are you guys talking about University of Texas at Austin? I was reviewing their upcoming Actor Training Program on their website and it looks very interesting. My son loved the idea of having his training reach different outlets such as the video gaming industry, film and TV. Here is some of the info. </p>

<p>"This unique program will combine strong foundational training in stage acting with innovative training in devised work, gaming, film and television, and will include an option for a Los Angeles residency where the student actors will work in the profession."</p>

<p>Besides...Austin is a highly creative town, could really be a wonderful program.</p>

<p>Photomom5 have you looked at their website? My son reached out to the head of the acting program Lucien Douglas and he was very informative. I do want to ask him how much weight the auditions will have in terms of allowing kids into the acting BFA who might be on the lower side of the school's admitted stats. The school itself is very hard to get into. I think they look at class rank.</p>

<p>I just know how much kids love Austin...and these are not even theatre students. UT was not on my radar, I must admit (my son really wants to go North...tired of warm winters!).</p>

<p>How warm does Austin get?</p>

<p>Well, it is currently 52 degrees there...</p>

<p>I might want to move there with him.</p>

<p>I heard wonderful things about the program. They have put the MFA on hiatus and are concentrating in what will be their new BFA. The MFA was highly ranked so the BFA will probably be too.</p>

<p>First of all, compared to other state schools, just getting regular admission into UT itself is no walk in the park. Texas has a law that every student who graduates in the top ten percent of their school is guaranteed admission into any state school. (oos have no guarantees at all.) SO MANY THOUSANDS want to go to UT. My personal opinion is that it's because of the town - Austin has a way of making people, especially young people, fall in love with it, really hard. It's a wonderful town - if you don't like warm weather you won't like it there, but most people do.</p>

<p>Not that UT isn't a good school, it is a very good school, but it is a huge, land grant university, and they have every intention of getting rid of as many of the excess of freshmen that they are required to take on, as they can. The chances that you will have ANY freshmen classes that are not huge lecture classes taught by an English as a second language TA (especially in math and science) are very very small. The institution itself is not concerned about holding your hand in any way. When we visited U of Oklahoma, they made a very big deal to assure us that although they are a big land grant university, that they didn't want the kids to feel like a number and they were taking steps to get rid of so many of the auditorium style freshmen classes, and I felt they really were sincere about efforts to reach out. We also visited Texas Tech, the third of the big three in TX, and it similar had a small school we care about ya feel despite it's size. (no point in mentioning A&M. Do they have a theater? I hadn't heard.) UT makes no pretense that it is trying to have all the benefits of a small school as well as that of the large. It's UT. It thinks it's any Ivy League school at a fraction of the price and much better climate. It doesn't have to beg you to come and usually (except for athletes, and don't think otherwise) they won't.</p>

<p>The theater department from what I gather, though, is smaller and caring and more intimate and of course once you get past the freshman crap it's entirely different. But be warned - all the cliches about big impersonal bureaucratic nightmares are not just cliches at UT. Most of my family are alumni from there, but some of them went a long time ago and it has doubled since some of them went.</p>

<p>In fact, UT so desperately wants to stem the tide of freshmen coming in every year that they successfully petitioned the state of Texas to give them an exception to the ten percent rule. I think they got it reduced to something like 7 or 8 (as in, they only have to accept kids in the top 7 percentile, not top ten.)</p>

<p>Not only is student housing not required, they only have capacity for about 80 percent (this number varies from year to year of course) of students so you may have to scramble for off campus. I realize to some kids this sounds like a huge plus. :D can't say I can argue with that entirely. Jester, the largest dorm on campus, has it's own zip code.</p>

<p>This new program is a huge buzz here in Texas. Most of us think it's in response to all the hoo haw about the revamp of the BFA program there right down the road at Texas State in San Marcos - which definitely has been the shiniest new thing in this state since it happened JUST RIGHT BEFORE my daughter could get in. Had she been one year older she'd have been able to get in and then been there when it became audition only and capped! We've always had crap timing.</p>

<p>I would expect that it's a quality program. I have never heard of any of the programs at UT not being a quality program. It's new of course so like their competition down the road, it will take a while before there are any alumni success stories to judge it by, but new programs have some advantages, too.</p>

<p>UT is the most expensive state school in Texas. Still cheaper than a private school. Unless you play football don't expect much or any scholarship was the distinct impression we got when we looked at what there might be.</p>

<p>Personally my D preferred a small program where she is on intimate, almost one on one basis with her professors from day one. But that is not everyone's cup of tea either.</p>

<p>I have a little personal anecdote about the theater program. My d's junior year in high school, the judge at the UIL design contest who critiqued her entry (which did win first place, excitingly) was one of the department heads at UT. Shortly after, my aunt was at an alumni function and was talking about her niece winning at UIL and the person she was talking to turned out to be that professor, which was funny! She told my aunt, that although UT is a big school, that it's not a big department, and was very gracious. Later we visited there, and D got an interview with her, and she was absolutely <em>wonderful</em> and helpful and gracious and while I still, personally, do not care for UT much for undergrads, I think the grad program would be wonderful. Amazing facilities. Sounds like this new program is trying to address that issue, that UT is where you go to grad school but not undergrad. </p>

<p>I believe quite often that is the case with huge schools -you get a lot more for your money at the grad school level.</p>

<p>Possibly this new program is also their answer to that program at San Marcos, in response to the demand for more spots in acting programs in this state, and also our film industry is expanding.</p>

<p>I would definitely want anyone to visit UT and investigate beyond the superficial student guided tour before making a decision, although most of us theatre parents and kids skip that whole part half the time and just go straight for the department! But more than most schools, the size of UT is going to impact your overall educational experience. </p>

<p>I don't mean to sound as if UT is a bad choice. It was not the choice for my daughter. It would be a great choice for many kids. It's going to be an individual decision, as are most things. Many of my daughter's professors went there and we think they are pretty much top notch professors. :)</p>

<p>a final little coda, about one more thing that students love about living in Austin: SXSW.</p>

<p>My son, out of state, absolutely loved it. He Didn't mind the large school feel and select that the drama department was very intimate. He also got into some top notch BFA programs. Texas, thanks to scholarship, is extremely tempting. I'm just concerned about whether the program is as good since it is new. He lives ut and I think he will go. I'm just nervous about the program.</p>

<p>Muttle - The degree plan may be new but the theatre program at UT is certainly not new. I really have no doubt that this program will offer exceptional training. Austin is a great place to live. There's a reason why so many want to come here to go to UT and then don't want to leave once they graduate.</p>

<p>Thanks for the input. He narrowed his choice down to UT and Northwestern. I think he is going to go to Texas for several reasons. He loved the way the faculty treated not only him but all of the applicants. They had a full panel of professors and administrators at the audition. They are starting a new program and in my mind they mean business. He loved all of the students he met and he said the city of Austin is fabulous. Then there is the weather. Then FOOTBALL...And then the price...affordable. Also a nice cultural change for a kid from the northeast.</p>

<p>Muttle1, I think your son will like UT. As you can tell from my screen name, we live in Maine now, but my son started at UT in 2010. He couldn't believe how friendly people were - "Mom, people actually come up to me and TALK to me!" Ha, one day he headed out for class and couldn't figure out where everybody is. It turns out school was called off because they got about a half inch of snow! He loved that.</p>

<p>I attended UT when there were 48,000 students, just a couple of thousand fewer than now. I tell people that it's like living in a big city with lots of small neighborhoods. It's not like you see all 50,000 students at once, except on football game days, which are out of this world! I was a civil engineering student, so I hung out in ECJ most days, where I had a small group of friends and knew most of the profs. </p>

<p>My FAVORITE class at UT, no joking, was US History with over 300 students. George Forgie was a wonderful teacher - such a good storyteller! He always had time for me when I went to his office. He assigned us long, excellent books, such as "The Path between the Seas," by David McCullough, about the building of the Panama Canal. I kept that book, I liked it so much, and got to see the Canal last month while on a cruise. Anyway, I'm saying that just because a class is big doesn't mean it's poor.</p>

<p>snapdragonfly is right - it's not for everybody. I tell students that the opportunities there are amazing - for example, my son got to do research, as a freshman, in the biomedical engineering lab. But you have to LOOK for those situations - people aren't going to spoonfeed you.</p>

<p>Sounds like 2 amazing options Muttle! One of the things I love about Austin is the vibrant theatre community. If he is interested in film, there are always terrific opportunities in the UT student films. My D did a number of those when she was here. Plus there is a lot of tv and film work here. Extras work when your schedule allows is a fun way to pick up some extra money. I am pretty linked in to the theatre community here, and do some extras work myself, so feel free to contact me if you want info. Hook 'em! (That hurt my poor Aggie fingers to type lol!)</p>

<p>PS - Hi ML!</p>

<p>You have made me feel much more confidant about Texas. He loved the whole feel of it. He wouldn't be intimidated by large class sizes and would live to take some film courses if he has the opportunity. Friends of ours in NY took a trip to Austin just for fun this year. Both are involved in the arts and film production. Their text to my son. "Go here, this place is awesome". So that's it then. Hook em Horns! Did I say that right? It sounded funny with my NY accent!!! Thanks all!
On another note...Maine, my family loves your state! We used to spend a week in Maine every summer when our kids were little. In fact we were just talking about The Scoop Deck last night (our favorite ice cream parlor well worth the 8 hour drive)</p>

<p>I agree with everyone above. Austin is wonderful and U.T. is a Great School! Something I would like to suggest for any student thinking of U.T. for either Acting or Musical Theatre, is to attend the Texas Musical Theatre Workshop. It is a wonderful way become familiar with U.T. and train for College Auditions. My D went this past summer and Loved it! And as a footnote, she stayed in Jester Dorms. She really got a feel for all of it.</p>

<p>@Muttle1 Hey, I tried 2 times to send you a private message. I can't tell, but, I think neither one got sent. Can you please let me know when you get time? Thank you.</p>