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BWW College Guide - 25 Major Universities Share How They Give Students Real World Experience

BWW College Guide - 25 Major Universities Share How They Give Students Real World Experience

With college theatre program auditions in full swing, we're delving into some of the country's most prestigious theatre programs to learn more about their audition processes to how they're preparing students for post-grad life, and more. Today we're chatting with twenty-five different major universities to find out how they help give their theatre students real world experiences. Check out answers from University of Michigan, Pace University, and many more below!

AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts

When students come to AMDA, they are immediately immersed in a culture that gives them access to the entertainment industry. Performance Opportunities with Top Industry Artists- AMDA students and alumni are often selected to perform alongside some of the industries most successful performing artists. Recent examples included the AMDA Choir performing with Kristin Chenoweth at the Hollywood Bowl and AMDA Dance Theatre students performing with Kanye West at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Proximity to the Action - With campuses located in the heart of Hollywood and minutes from Broadway, students are automatically linked to the communities they wish to work in. Students are often offered free or discount tickets to Broadway shows, film screenings and entertainment industry events. From historic theaters to film and TV studios to red-carpet events, AMDA students are where the action is! Industry Working Faculty - Most of our 300+ faculty are working professionals in their respective industries and regularly offer their real-world experience and insights to students. Through this dynamic, faculty serve as mentors and often use students and alumni in their own creative projects due to the cultivated relationship.a?? Production Experiences - From day one, students begin performing and have more than one hundred opportunities to do so throughout the year, equipping them with the skills and experience they need to be marketable when they graduate. AMDA utilizes professional directors, choreographers and production staff that are regularly producing work in Los Angeles and New York thereby providing students professional relationships they can continue to cultivate post-graduation. Access to Industry Representatives - At the culmination of the AMDA BFA degree experience, students are eligible to audition participate in a Spotlight Industry showcase, where they perform in front of agents, managers, and other industry representatives.

Auburn University

Students train with professors who are also all Equity actors with impressive professional credits. We also invite guest artists every year to work in the classroom and on productions with the students. So, there are many times when they would be working side by side with professionals who are active in the theatre world, today. Aside of this, we also help students attend conference around the country and obtain jobs, internships, or apprenticeships.

Baldwin Wallace University

We have professional partnerships with theatres all over the country. All faculty are all working professionals and we train our students so we can hire our students in the real world. We also bring 10 summer stock theatres to campus every spring to audition the students, giving a large majority of the program paying summer work each year.

Boston University

Students can perform professionally in Boston while they are students helping them work towards Equity candidacy and broadening their network; We host over 20+ guest artists, guest directors, and alumni a year, working with the students through our On Set professional artist series; we host a showcase in NYC and Boston each year; All students are required to do professional internships as part of their degree requirement; many act as apprentices to our faculty- all of whom are working professionals, as BU is a research university.

California Institute of the Arts

The CalArts Center for New Performance, the professional producing arm of CalArts, provides students with professional performance opportunities in collaboration with faculty, alumni, and exemplary artists from around the world.

Circle in the Square Theatre School

Fully mounted performance productions on our Broadway stage and performances in professional New York cabaret locales.

Eckerd College

Reflective Service Learning and audition opportunities with local theatre companies; attendance at the Southeastern Theatre Conference; professional internships with places like Disney, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Spoleto Festival USA; and study abroad opportunities to places like London, New York, and Dublin. Due to the smaller size of our program, students also have the opportunity to assist both directors and designers with both on-campus and off-campus productions, at times even taking on the positions on their own.

James Madison University

Students have the opportunity to work as paid assistants in the shops, in arts management, as well as to work on the production crew for the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. In the summer students have the opportunity to audition for paid performance opportunities in our summer Madison New Works Festival. We have relationships with professional companies, bring in guest artists to work with students, and often these connections lead to professional work.

Kean University

Professional theatre in residence at Kean, Premiere Stages, offers roles, understudy opportunities, internships. Guest Artists are regularly brought in for master classes. Recent guest artists have been Gavin Lee, Billy Porter, Laura Osnes. Theatre students have sung in concert with Kelli O'Hara and Patti LuPone. Musical theatre class spent three hours with Hal Prince in his office. Musical Parade was directed by Prince's associate, Dan Kutner. Teaching artists are brought in every semester. We have Cindi Rush of Cindi Rush Casting, internationally known fight director, Rick Sordelet

Loyola Marymount University

Most of our faculty continue as working professionally in film/TV and Theatre. Student are able to shadow and assist professors in various professional environments. Students also have the ability to do a wide range of internships from working with casting directors and agents on various film/TV projects to opportunities to work in the many professional theatre companies in Los Angeles. LMU also has an excellent career development center with a specific department dedicated to working with and mentoring students in all aspects of the performing arts.

Marymount Manhattan College

With New York City as our campus our students have the advantage of beginning to work in professional spaces from day one including the York Theatre, New York Live Arts, and National Dance Institute - along with taking classes at offsite locations such as Pearl Studios, Ballet Hispanico, and MMAC. Our location in NYC allows us to engage guest directors from the professional world work with our students. Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Patricia Birch, Larry Fuller, Josh Bergasse, David Loud and Stephen Oremus have worked on our musicals. Our students learn how to navigate a career in the arts while also learning how to take advantage of the perks of NYC. Our faculty bring their professional theatre to assist our students to gain internships and other career opportunities in Directing, Producing and Management, Theatre Design & Technology, Theatre and New Media, and Writing for the Stage. Our students have the opportunity to intern with professional theatres, arts organizations, and production offices in NYC including The Public Theatre, TCG, The Flea, Primary Stages, Signature Theatre, La Mama, Second Stage Theatre, Soho Rep, Metropolitan Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, TDF, HERE Arts Center, Women's Project, and BAM, all while attending MMC, and students often complete several internships during their course of study.

Middlebury College

Summer theatre in NYC: off Broadway, PTP/NYC; week long pre-semester workshop, PlayLab taught by alumni

Millikin University

Entrepreneurial thinking is a valued component of the educational process at Millikin and is incorporated into nearly every major on campus. Students learn about entrepreneurship and engage in professional development projects designed to help them transition from their academic training to the professional marketplace. Performance majors also engage in a professional development experience (an alternative showcase) designed to facilitate introductions with key players in the New York and Chicago markets which lead to the building of professional relationships and real-world outcomes.

Pace University

We're a industry-focused program and being in NYC, that means that from day one our students are exposed to faculty and mentors that are working professionals. In addition to master classes, artists-in-residence, allowed professional work, we also take some of our programs to Los Angeles and Barcelona, Spain. We believe your career begins the day you enter, not the day you graduate.

Point Park University

Our students work with a lot of industry people over four years, guest directors, masterclasses and junior study abroad in fall semester of junior year (MT training at University of West London)

Rider University

There are performance, management and technical opportunities at regional and summer stock theaters as well as arts internships in Princeton, New York and Philadelphia that engage students in professional experiences while at Rider.

Roosevelt University

Beginning Junior year, students in good academic standing can audition for professional productions throughout the city of Chicago. In addition, students in all 4 years of the program take advantage of summer opportunities including professional theatre work and internships in Chicago and beyond!

Shenandoah Conservatory

Every year we bring 12-14 NYC Industry based professionals to campus to work with the Seniors. They get quality one-on-one time with Talent Agents and Casting Directors, as well as Broadway Directors, Choreographers and Actors. We have a faculty with 4 Broadway Veterans with close ties to the Industry who provide mentorship. We encourage our students to work professionally in the summer. Shenandoah has its own resident summer theatre company - Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre. Finally, a Senior Showcase is presented for Industry Professionals.

University of Alabama at Birmingham

We offer multiple workshops with guest artists each year, we encourage all of our students to audition for professional companies (through UPTA, SETC, A-1, etc.) and we have a touring season, where our students experience what it is to take a show on the road.


Students have the opportunity to participate in our work-study program which offers paid positions in our shops. Students may also work on our production crews and in arts management positions to support our season of performances. Often the connections our students make with the professional artists whom they encounter in our program, leads to professional work. The UCLA Theater Internship Program is also open to juniors and seniors eager for industry experience in a range of settings.

University of Cincinnati

We have our students work with industry professionals throughout the year, with guest directors and masterclasses.

University of Michigan

Students participate in productions, summer stock, Philharmonic concerts and some have ongoing professional performance employment concurrent with their studies.

The University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Performance opportunities at the Guthrie Theater, Jungle Theater and other major companies in the Twin Cities

University of North Carolina

Students do at least one play every semester of the third and fourth year. Also, we share the School of the Arts campus with a nationally ranked Film School, and an overwhelming majority of our students appear in a one or more student films during their four years here

University of Southern California

Our program exists in a research University that pairs a students interest in their professional training with a very traditional college experience. This, along with our location in Los Angeles, offers students a unique and exciting experience to gain real world experience.

University of Texas at Arlington

Located in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, many of our student work in area professional theatres before, during, and after graduation. Area professionals frequently visit for masterclasses. Our students participate in trips to NYC, Chicago, London and Paris for masterclasses, intensives, and auditions.

University of Oklahoma

With three musicals per season, plus a variety of new works and cabaret performances, students get many performance opportunities at OUMT. Inn addition, students work professionally in summer stock, and many secure shows during the year with professional companies in the area. Many faculty work professionally year-round, often hiring and working alongside our students.

Viterbo University

We have professional companies audition on-campus, connections with regional theatres, and internship possibilites.

Wright State University

All students work with professional casting directors, agents and guest artists every year. Students are prepared for and audition at all the major national Summer auditions - working across the nation

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