Michigan State University
Michigan State University
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Department of Theatre
Department of Theatre

Admission to the Bachelor of Fine Arts

Michigan State University’s Department of Theatre offers BFA degrees in Acting, Design, Stage Management. On this page you will find information about how to audition/interview for the BFA in Acting, how to audition/interview for the Musical Theatre Immersion Program, and how to interview for the BFA in Design. For admission to the BFA in Stage Management, contact Tina Newhauser.

At the auditions and interviews, you will be considered for specific scholarships and entrance to the BFA program. In order to receive a scholarship you must have been accepted to MSU by the date outlined on your scholarship notification.

BFA Acting Audition Requirements and Procedures

Auditions are held in late-January and early-February for admittance to the BFA in Acting. The deadline for incoming freshmen to be considered for the BFA Acting program for the 2018-2019 academic year has passed. A small number of transfer students may audition at the end of August, 2018. Please contact Deric McNish over the summer if you wish to be considered for that. 

If you’re interested in enrolling in MSU as a freshman but you missed the auditions for the BFA Acting program, we recommend enrolling as a BA Theatre Major (no audition required) and auditioning in the next cycle. You can still begin taking acting classes and working on other university required courses, then audition later.

Michigan State University’s Department of Theatre looks for students that display potential for a professional acting career in theatre, film, and other media. The department prepares actors for a life of varying possibilities that include stage, screen, and other media outlets. It also prepares students for a life beyond traditional acting work as the department offers innovative and entrepreneurial opportunities different than most traditional acting programs.

Admission to the BFA Acting program is competitive and by audition only. The department accepts up to 20 people each year.

  1. Apply as early as possible to Michigan State University: apply to MSU

  2. Prepare a memorized monologue (no longer than 2 minutes) from a contemporary published play that shows off your strengths as an actor. The auditioning faculty may ask you to make changes and alterations to determine your ability to take direction.

Choose a monologue from characters similar to your age and experience with only one character speaking.

  1. Bring a current resume and headshot and prepare for a short informal interview.

  2. Memorize the lines for your appropriate character in the following scene:

    1. Click here for BFA Audition Scene - I and You

    2. You will be assigned to work with another actor at the audition to present this scene. Actors should display their ability to connect with their partner in the scene as well as their creativity and and versatility in both pieces. The point of this exercise is to see your initial choices, your relationship to another onstage, and to see how well you take direction.


BFA Theatre Design Application Procedures

The Department of Theatre design faculty are looking for students who display potential in Theatrical Design.

Applicants for the BFA in Theatre Design will present a portfolio in an interview session. If you have previous theatre design experience, you will want to include sample designs from these projects - sketches, drafting, renderings, light plot/hook-up, and photos of finished scenery, costumes, lighting, makeup, construction, props or scene painting.

Your portfolio may include examples of freehand drawing, sketches of still life objects, the human figure, animals, portraiture, painting, sculpture, architecture, print, poster and sign design, as well as computer graphic work. Class projects and photos of production work are also encouraged for submission.

Feel free to choose a format or a mix of formats that is convenient for you - digital files, photos, sketchbooks, scrapbooks, color photocopies, or slides.

Click here to sign up for your interview for the BFA in Design.


Musical Theatre Immersion Program: Assessment Audition

For those interested in the Musical Theatre Immersion program, please check the appropriate box when you sign up to audition for the BFA in Acting using the link above. This audition will give you an opportunity to meet and perform for the musical theatre faculty as well as discuss your overall experience with both music and dance. The audition will be used by the musical theatre faculty to aid in the student's placement in such classes.

  1. Prepare a 32 bar cut best shows off your vocal range, acting and singing type.

    1. If unaware of what constitutes 32 bars, simply prepare about 1 minute of singing.

  2. An accompanist will be provided

    1. Please bring sheet music in a binder for the accompanist.

    2. Have clearly marked beginning and end points to your 32 bars.

  3. The auditions for musical theatre actors will be held during the same time as the BFA Acting Auditions each year, either before or after your audition slot.

If you’d like to audition for the Musical Theatre Immersion Program, but not the BFA in Acting, contact Brad Willcuts to schedule an audition.



Who is eligible?

All incoming students as well as current freshman may audition. Transfer students and upperclassmen are also eligible for admittance on a case by case basis.           

What is so different about the BFA?

The BFA is designed to assist the Theatre student in a more concentrated and focused study of Theatre. Courses will build sequentially allowing for the student to follow a guided track to graduation. The BFA is a sixty (60) credit program which has many of the same University and College of Arts and Letters requirements. Two exceptions are that the BFA student is not required to take foreign language courses or complete a college cognate. The curriculum information is located here: BFA in Theatre.           

What if I don’t make it into the BFA program?

With a few exceptions, most courses are open to the Bachelor of Arts students. Students not selected may audition again in the Spring of the next year.           

I’m a transfer student. Can I interview/audition?

Transfer students may attend these auditions/interview, or they can audition/interview immediately prior to the start of classes in fall semester. Contact our theatre advisor, Amy Lampe to assist in the transition.

If I have two majors, is this program for me?

It is possible to graduate with another major and the BFA, but it will take careful planning, and may mean extra time at school.                                                 

What kind of a commitment does the BFA require?

This program is designed for the serious and devoted Theatre major. It is expected that the BFA student would become an integral part of the department either by auditioning for shows or assisting in the design, build, or construction process.           

Would a BFA look better on my resume?

A BFA implies more specific training in your area of choice.           

Will the BFAs be cast more than a BA in production?

Being on the BFA track does not guarantee a role in any production.

Can I take a tour? Can I visit a class? Can I meet current students?

Although at the time of auditions you will be given a tour of the department, we also welcome you to schedule a tour with the Department of Theatre to meet with faculty and current students, observe classes, or see a production for free. Once you experience firsthand the supportive and challenging work done in the classroom or onstage, we have no doubt that you will want to be part of the MSU Theatre family!


Contact Info

Program Director for the BFA in Acting: Deric McNish

Program Director for the BFA in Design: Shannon Schweitzer

Program Director for the Musical Theatre Immersion Program: Brad Willcuts

Program Director for the BFA in Stage Management:
Tina Newhauser

Program Director for the BA in Theatre: Ann Folino White

For questions about our various other programs, please view the Department of Theatre website or e-mail: Department of Theatre