BWW College Guide - Everything You Need to Know About Western Connecticut State University in 2019/2020
We're taking a in-depth look at some of the country's most prestigious college theatre programs to help students learn all about the variety of options they have at their disposal to further their education. With the help of the schools' faculty, we're highlighting insights about everything from audition advice to real world experience and more. Today we're taking a look at Western Connecticut State University's Department of Theatre Arts, including its six productions per year, professional training workshops, and more. Find out info about the school and check out answers about their program below!
Western Connecticut State University's NAST-accredited Department of Theatre Arts provides a strong professional training approach to the study of the art and craft of theatre. Their program features six faculty or guest-directed main stage and studio stage productions per academic year, a yearly New York City Senior Showcase, and workshops with New York stage, TV, and film professionals. The department participates in The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival annually and has received top national awards from the festival every year since 2015.
What is the audition process for performing arts majors?
All audition information for our BFA in Musical Theatre can be found on our website at https://www.wcsu.edu/theatrearts/musical-theatre/. We require a prescreen, requesting option A as per the Papermill College Musical Theatre Prescreen, consisting of two songs and a monologue, after which a student may be invited to an on-site audition. If invited, to an on-site audition, we require two songs and a monologue, as well as a dance call. Currently, our BA in Theatre Arts Performance does not require an audition.
What tips can you offer to auditioning students?
One of the biggest mantras here at WCSU is to "be the best you." There's a lot of talent out there but there's only one you. Prospective students should show us what makes YOU great, and everything else will fall into place!
What is the approximate average class size within an arts major?
16 per performance class as per our NAST accreditation.
Any notable alumni you would like to mention?
Do you see more students interested in working on stage or off?
Definitely on stage. We also have strong programs in Theatre Design/Technology and Theatre Management, and many of our students start working professionally in these areas, however; the majority of the students look to our fantastic Musical Theatre and Theatre Performance programs, with the desire of performing on stage.
What kind of real world experience outside of the classroom do you offer students during their program?
Here at WCSU, we are extraordinarily proud of our productions (six a year) as they maintain a high level of professionalism and production quality in our new $98 million Visual and Performing Arts Center. We believe that those productions are some of the best ways to obtain real world experience. Additionally, we support our students in auditioning for summer stock work, and now many Equity and non-Equity regional and summer stock houses come directly to us to audition our students on-site. We also have a very successful Senior Showcase in NYC, where top NYC Casting Directors and Agents are invited to attend and help launch the careers of our talented seniors!
What kinds of things does your school do for students to help them succeed after graduation?
We have a very strong alumni network that keeps everyone as up to date as possible for opportunities in the business. Many members of our faculty have had and continue long careers in the Broadway industry. Our faculty mentors our students and helps launch their career with other industry professionals. Additionally, we have classes (such as our Transition Workshop/Senior Showcase) that specifically focus on post-graduation life, and how to be successful as a working actor.
How do you keep your program as relevant as possible to the current industry trends and how have you modernized it in recent years?
We are CONSTANTLY evolving our program, whether it be by moving into our new $98 million Visual and Performing Arts Center or by bringing on exciting new adjunct faculty. In addition, top Broadway performers have given master classes. In recent years, we have completely redesigned the BFA in Musical Theatre's curriculum to the greater benefit of our students.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your school and its programs?
Our NAST-accredited Department of Theatre Arts provides a strong professional training approach to the study of the art and craft of theatre. Students who major in theatre arts prepare for careers directly related to performance, design/technology, management and dramaturgy. Our Musical Theatre program now provides students with a BFA and requires intensive training, after the initial audition process for entry into the program.
Diverse theatrical performances presented at WCSU include musicals and traditional plays, ranging from classical to contemporary genres. Connections to the greater theatre community are promoted through sponsorship of professional training workshops and performances by guest artists. Our proximity to NYC (one hour to midtown Manhattan) gives us an opportunity to make excellent use of its vast resources, including hiring well-known casting directors & agents for our annual Senior Showcase, Broadway choreographers for our staged productions, and various guest artists for master classes. Many faculty members have worked extensively in the Broadway and TV community and have received Tony, Drama Desk and Emmy awards. The theatre faculty also maintains close ties with professional organizations, activities, and research facilities within the area. Opportunities are regularly planned to introduce students to the professional environment through the connections. Our Theatre Arts Department participates in The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival annually and has received top national awards from the festival every year since 2015. Design/Technology students also have the opportunity to attend the national USITT conference annually, gaining access to the latest technology being created for stage productions each year in this ever-growing art form.
Be sure to apply to Western Connecticut State University's Department of Theatre Arts here: https://www.wcsu.edu/theatrearts/