The B.F.A. in acting makes full use of the resources provided by the Department of Drama and its relationship with Syracuse Stage to provide emerging theater artists with rigorous training in performance technique, text analysis, creative improvisation, voice, speech, and movement.
You will be immediately immersed in a program of pre-professional study in your first year, devoting as many as 18 hours of class time per week to various theater arts. Courses in theater history, directing, voice/verse, playwriting, and technical theater broaden your studies. In the B.F.A. program, you may also select courses in design, stage lighting, costume history, dramatic literature, and stage management. Although first-year students are not permitted to perform on stage for the public, you will have the opportunity to work on productions behind the scenes in a wide variety of jobs, ranging from running crews to assistant stage managing.
Following this first year of building fundamental skills, you will have many opportunities to audition for roles in department productions, co-productions with Syracuse Stage, numerous student- and faculty-sponsored productions, films produced by VPA film students, and Syracuse Stage productions (when age-appropriate roles are available). Equity points may be earned through work with Syracuse Stage.
The Actor-Singer Track
Beginning in Fall 2019, the Department of Drama will offer a concentration in musical performance within the B.F.A. acting degree. The number of spaces available in this track is quite limited; interested students must prescreen for both the musical theater and acting programs.
What is the track?
The actor-singer track is an expansion of our rigorous B.F.A. acting program. It offers talented actor-singers the opportunity to work on musical skills, song analysis, vocal production, and acting in song. Students in the track take a set of prescribed musical courses in their first and sophomore years and then have the opportunity to choose from some of the upper-level musical theater courses in their junior and senior years. Meanwhile, students take full advantage of a three-year course sequence in both movement and spoken voice, in addition to their acting coursework.
How do I get into the track?
Students who are interested in the track should prescreen for both acting and musical theater. Students being considered for the track will be invited for the musical theater audition. Those with very strong scores in both singing and acting and who lack appropriate dance background or ability may be right for the emphasis. These students will be admitted to the University as acting majors, and then shortly after receiving their admissions letter, they will be contacted by the Department of Drama with further details. Students will be advised into two courses for the fall of their first year, Foundations of Musical Theater I and Vocal Technique (private voice lessons). Upon successful completion of their fall coursework, they may be officially admitted into the track. Successful completion of these courses in the fall semester of the first year of study is also necessary for timely completion (within eight semesters) of the track.
What if I am admitted into the acting B.F.A. but not invited into the track?
All acting majors are eligible to take voice lessons and dance classes on a space-available basis. Classes and masterclasses are occasionally opened for actors who wish to work on their singing, and all performance majors are eligible for all plays and musicals produced by the department.