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Non acting Mom needs Help!

actressmom2actressmom2 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
edited November 2010 in Theater/Drama Majors
So, I jsut joined, and cruised around all over reading lots of threads, and got even more confused!!! So, I hope that some of the very nice people that seem to post regularly here will help out!

My D is a "senior", although she's had a very alternative education road. She is 17, was homeschooled from 11-16, and now is in an alternative high school without grades. She's highly kinesthetic, very ADHD, and has the special somtehing that makes you want to watch her on stage :) She is smart, just not book smart. She has extnesive experience with Shakespeare (Young Shakespeare Players in Madison, WI), but not much else in acting experience. She knows she wants to be an actress, and probalbly isn't strong enough in singing/dancing to do MT.

So, she probalbly won't graduate on time. She is thinking of taking a super senior year at high school, and then taking a year to get an acting coach and working in local productions.

My questions are
1) Are there BFA programs that take kids that are not right out of high school?

2) Any advice on excellent conservatory programs, so she can skip the academic piece that she isn't interested in anyway?

3) How do you find an acting coach in a smallish midwestern city?

I know I'll come up with more, but for right now, that's what I can think of!

Thanks in advance for any advice and help offered, you all seem like such an amazing community, and very supportive! I am so happy to have found this forum!
Post edited by actressmom2 on

Replies to: Non acting Mom needs Help!

  • austinmtmomaustinmtmom Registered User Posts: 2,358 Senior Member
    Hi actressmom2 - welcome!!

    1) My D has at least 2 friends who took gap years and then got into auditioned BFA programs. I honestly don't of any reason a school would hold a gap year against someone. The issue you may be thinking about is kids who are enrolled in other schools who want to enter a BFA program having to start over as a freshman because of the sequencing of the classes in many BFA programs.

    2) You may want to read through this listing. It lists NYC and LA programs. I'm sure there are others out there but here's a place to start. My D looked closely at Stella Adler in NYC before deciding to go to the "more traditional" college route. I would include Circle in the Square, Atlantic and Neighborhood Playhouse on any list I was putting together as well. As with anything, just my personal opinion there :)
    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/theater-drama-majors/950803-non-scholastic-training-la-nyc.html?highlight=adler

    3) Not knowing what city I don't know what resources might be there. But universities with theatre programs and regional theatres are often great places to start. There are programs and individual coaches that offer intense college audition prep out there too. I have seen several workshop listing on Playbill recently. I am happy to share who my D used if you want to PM (private message) me for details.

    Just curious - any reason she can't audition for and try and work in local productions now? My D went to a charter school with no theatre program. So all her experience came from community/regional work. She got to work with lots of directors and learned so much along the way. Most community theatres rehearse evenings and weekends so the hours are perfect for students. There may be other reasons she can't do that now but just thought I would throw that out there.

    You'll find so many wonderful and helpful people on this thread. So don't be afraid to ask questions! I have no idea how many I asked last year when my D was a senior but I got lots of help here and so will you. Best of luck to you and Break a Leg to your D!!
  • MichaelNKatMichaelNKat Registered User Posts: 4,297 Senior Member
    austinmtmom has given you some great advice and leads. I can reiterate, based on my daughter's own experience, that local and regional theaters can be great sources for coaches. Also look at any local or regional theater alliances in your area. Very often, members list themselves as available for coaching. There are also summer intensive programs that last anywhere from 2-6 weeks that are performance based. Another great source for training. Some are run through colleges and others are in a camp like setting. Do a search for summer programs on this forum and the musical theater forum and you will find loads of discussion about summer acting programs.

    Also, don't allow your concerns about academics to per se rule out a college BFA program. There is a very broad spectrum among colleges with regard to the level of academics needed for admissions purposes as well as the extent to which academics play a role in the curriculum. There are some schools with excellent BFA programs where the academic criteria for admissions to the BFA program are very relaxed and schools where a student may take all of 3 classes outside of the department over the course of 4 years.

    Take the time to do searches on this and the MT forum (acting is discussed a lot on the MT forum). And ask questions, lots of them. As austinmtmom says, there are a lot of very knowledgeable people on these forums who are glad to share their knowledge.
  • ccsmomccsmom Registered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    You might want to check out this theatre as I believe they have summer programs for young actors.
  • EmmyBetEmmyBet Registered User Posts: 2,934 Senior Member
    You're looking in the right directions, and in many ways your questions answer themselves.

    Like any school, people of all kinds of ages and backgrounds apply to and get accepted at acting programs. Your daughter will have a lot of options as she moves from one step to the other. Perhaps the "gap" year at the HS will give her some of the practical supports she'll want in the application process (so it isn't all on you).

    A girl from our HS is currently at AMDA in NYC. She loves it there. It has virtually no academic coursework - its 2-year program is basically a performance certificate, although there are options for a more standard BFA. There are other schools like this. And definitely there are schools where the artistic coursework far overshadows the academics, in the way you describe your daughter may need. I would look through some of the lists you can get through this website (I believe page 8 of the archived thread at the top of this forum) and also through the college board website (put in "theater/acting/drama" as preferred major). That will give you a start on some choices.

    Just like everyone, she needs to be thinking about what kind of "place" she wants to be: urban, rural, large, small, high/low cost, etc. That will narrow down the daunting list significantly, or at least give you a starting point.

    I also agree that lots and lots of community experience of all kinds will be helpful. I live near you, and there are many musical and non-musical productions that kids or anyone can be involved in. Are you familiar with the website "mad stage dot com" (no spaces and a real dot). It lists auditions for numerous productions in the area. Crewing on anything also will get her out meeting people and exploring experiences, so she can get past the Shakespeare single focus.

    Acting coaches are a little hard to find in Madison, but I'd just say go to shows or call the contacts on mad stage and see who's out there. Vocal and singing coaches are a great resource, too, whether you are a musical theatre person or not.

    Training is helpful, but I think for kids this age experience is invaluable, and it's not that hard to get. There are so many great pathways to an education in theatre - I'm sure your D will find the right one(s) for her. Good luck!
  • maggie3maggie3 Registered User Posts: 109 Junior Member
    Actress mom, CC is wonderful! I read your thread and the responses given. They are all so informative and great suggestions. We are fortunate to have such kind people who offer their experiences and input. My D is a senior applying and I wish she would take a gap year. I think it would help her future endeavors. Good Luck!
  • eimc2010eimc2010 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    Actressmom, I'm SURE your daughter will be fine. I am a BFA Acting major at Suny purchase, which is a conservatory style program. There are several transfer students at every level in the BFA program. There are even a few people in the upwards of their 20s and early 30s. Talented people, not just talented kids, get in here. As for an acting coach, I would be hesitant about it when living in the midwest. Get her involved in any plays that she can. I won't speak for everywhere, but I have realized that conservatories are often looking for kids with raw talent, which doesn't necessarily mean kids with the polish of an acting coach. Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions.
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