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The Top 30 College Acting/Performing Arts Programs for 2019-2020


At the beginning of each new school year, we here at OnStage Blog like to announce what we feel are the best performing arts for the coming year. For those of you wondering how we select these schools, it starts in the previous spring.

Starting in April, we duty a committee of just over 20 people to research these programs. They is comprised of theatre professors, students, alumni, and parents. We wanted people who knew how to evaluate a performing arts program and what questions to ask. This is what we feel separates us from every other college ranking clause, these tribes know what’s important in theater education.

This year we based our criteria on a number of factors including Cost vs. Scholarships, Quality of Facility, Performance/ Production Opportunities, and Post-Graduate Support. We likewise asked questions about the variety of students as well as the faculty.

Each year, we also like to include a new category that factor into our rankings – on/ off-campus safety. We feel this is a factor that is often not made a priority. So in addition to cold-calling the schools, we also took a look at their Clery Reports and asked questions about how proactive these schools are when it comes to safety.

This year we also decided not to rank the schools 1-30. When looking at the scores, often these schools were separated by one to two points. So rather, this year we’re simply naming who we feel are the best, in no particular order.

We must also preface this by saying that while these are some great schools to start your search with, ultimately the best college theatre program out there is the one you feel most confident and comfortable attending.


When it comes to the craft of acting, students today have slew of options for the type of way they want to be trained. Some opt the conservatory-style of training while others are looking for something a bit more flexible. It’s great to see so many performing arts/ act programs that are not only focuses on stage behaving techniques but also acting in front of the camera, which merely is in addition to a performer’s versatility.

Here are 30 college programs that we feel should be top destinations for any performing/ acting student.

SUNY Purchase College – Purchase, NY


Why we desire it: The acting BFA program is one of five in the nation that satisfies the circumstances of the Consortium of Conservatory Theatre Training Programs. In the fourth year, graduating seniors is submitted to an invited audience of agents, producers, and casting directors in New York City and Los Angeles.

Muhlenberg College – Allentown, PA

Why we enjoy it: The Acting Concentration makes students opportunities to practice their craft every day, alongside talented, suffered working professionals. Coursework, in both the classroom and the studio, are complementary to an extensive and acclaimed Mainstage production season, with ample every opportunity to set belief into practice.

UNC School of the Arts – Winston-Salem, NC


Why we desire it: During the fourth time, students take part in a year-long project, Keys to the Kingdom, in which the class presents a season of independent task alongside the main-stage productions to encourage and explore artistic entrepreneurship.

Northwestern University – Evanston, IL


Why we adore it: The senior time focus is spread across a variety of topics including slapstick, mode, contemporary panorama study, and professional aspects of being an actor as well as the opportunity to take a class with a different action faculty member for a one-quarter. In the Acting for Screen Module, students have the opportunity to learn the skills necessary for effective concert in TV and film.

The Juilliard School – New York, NY

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Why we adoration it: Students do not audition for roles; all casting is done by the faculty. In the first two years, roles are designated primarily to serve the needs of an individual student’s training rather than the demands of the play-act. In the third and fourth times, we seek to serve both the play-act and the needs of the ensemble. In addition to formal productions, actors originate personas in brand-new operate by Juilliard playwrights in twice-monthly Playwrights Labs and in more informal PlayTime readings.

SMU – Dallas, TX


Why we adore it: Tracks include Business and Professional Characteristic of Theatre. This region features the context of the preparations for graduating performers that includes compiling resumes, photographs, cold readings, monologues, and scene work with a variety of scripts for repertory or summer theatre casting.

Brenau University – Gainsville, GA


Why we adore it: Brenau University, with the mixed support of the University of North Georgia, Theatre Wings, and the Professional Company, has on of the top-ranked theatre program in the state of Georgia. This dynamic collaboration is the Gainesville Theatre Alliance( GTA ).

UCONN – Storrs, CT


Why we enjoy it: BFA Acting majors also threw their studio training into practice through the many performance opportunities available at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre. Although first-semester freshmen are not eligible for casting in CRT products, from their second semester on, acting majors must audition for all CRT indicates. There are also many casting opportunities available to undergraduate actors in the two CRT Studio Works productions that are done every year in our smaller Studio Theatre. In addition, the Department of Dramatic artistries generally renders two or three student-directed “D-Series” productions each year, with undergraduate act majors performing most of the roles.

DePaul University – Chicago, IL


Why we adoration it: Learning does not stop in the classroom. Each year The Theatre School produces more than 30 public makes of varying shapes and sizes to give students ample opportunity to synthesize what they are learning in the classroom.

SCAD – Savannah, GA

Why we adoration it: Increase your exposure and experience at auditions hosted by the SCAD Casting Office, the only on-site, professionally led casting office in higher education. In recent years, SCAD students have won the Kennedy Center Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship, the most prestigious performing arts competition and acting prize in higher education.

Emerson College – Boston, MA

(Craig Hayes)

( Craig Hayes)

Why we desire it: The Big Li’l E Mentorship Program( with the “E” standing for “Emersonian”) is the first resource offered to incoming Performing Arts students. Current Performing Arts student mentors( Big E’s) are selected to mentor incoming undergraduate and graduate Performing Arts students( Li’l E’s) as they begin their degree program at Emerson. The aim of the program is to guide incoming Performing Arts students through their first Academic Year, and beyond.

Drew University – Madison, NJ


Why we adoration it: Courses include “The Actor’s Voice”. Here, students of acting will explore techniques to free and enhance the natural speaking voice for performance in a full range of classical and modern drama. Grades will apply a rigorous technique such as the Linklater system to promote relaxation, breather power, make, articulation, and emotional connectedness.

Azusa Pacific University – Azusa, CA


Why we enjoy it: In the fourth time of training programs, seniors act in a high-quality film with a professional director and make crew. The students then participate in an industry screening in Los Angeles, gave an assurance that they graduate the BFA program with relevant suffer, connects, and a professional reel.

University of Miami – Coral Gables, FL


Why we adoration it: Faculty include Jennifer Burke. Ms. Burke’s recent programmes include performing at the Kennedy Center in the prize-winning, Jasper Lake by John Kuntz and serving as voice/ accent coach for the New England premiere of David Hare’s Stuff Happens.

Webster University – St. Louis, MO


Why we desire it: The third time of Conservatory is about application. The work in contrasting styles becomes even more ambitious. Skills acquired in the previous two years are applied to Shakespeare, Restoration’ and Edwardian drama. Voice and move classes develop even more specific skills in languages, period movement, and stage fighting. A directing class is added to the basic core.

Nebraska Wesleyan University – Lincoln, NE


Why we enjoy it: Nebraska Wesleyan has hired HDR, an international architecture firm based in Omaha, to renovate McDonald Theatre. The job concentrate on brand-new benches, a new stage, and a brand-new lobby.

Pace University – New York, NY

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Why we love it: Coursework includes “The Industry for the BFA Actor”. This track cooks students for the business side of the entertainment industry and what it takes to be a working performer in New York. Students learn how to prepare for auditions as well as general gratifies with agents and casting directors and how to effectively market themselves.

Wright State University – Dayton, OH


Why we love it: The Honors program in Acting supplies superior students with further opportunity to demonstrate excellence and receive special acknowledgment in their senior year. Honors students create a capstone project, such as a self-written monodrama, a solo recital, sending a production, or other projects that are mutually agreed upon with the student’s advisor.

UCLA – Los Angeles, CA


Why we enjoy it: Coursework includes Articulation, Pitch, and Vocal Alternative. Focus on diction: employment consonants, nasal continuants, plosives, fricatives, continuants, laterals, and slips, as well as pitch and safest expanding vocal range and tone. Exploration likewise of warm-ups, actions with vocal selects, and workouts with monologues.

High Point University – High Point, NC


Why we enjoy it: The Theatre Department offers a Maymester named “Shakespeare in Performance” that incorporates a semester’s classroom study of Shakespeare and his works with a two-week study abroad to London and Stratford-on-Avon. The escapade begins with travel to London, England to deliver theater to life. The course will include travel to Stratford-upon- Avon, and at least five-play performances in some of the most famous theaters in the world including the Royal Shakespeare Company Theater and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. Along the path, ascertain the websites in London and visit Shakespeare’s birthplace.

CalArts – Valencia, CA


Why we desire it: The Actors Showcase is an annual program of graduating actor concerts for theater, cinema and television industry professionals. Developed through a course in their final semester, the showcase is a vital bridge for graduates participating the professional field. Presented in Los Angeles and New York.

Rutgers University – New Brunswick, NJ


Why we adoration it: A faculty of outstanding lord teachers and professional artists track each student’s progress. Acting, Voice, Speech, and Movement constitute the program’s integrated core, augmented by courses in Clown, Script Analyses, Performance Ensemble, Dialects and Acting for the Camera.

Ball State University – Muncie, IN

Gabi Glass,Photo

Gabi Glass, Photo

Why we love it: Professors will assist in finding internships, professional study, and summer training opportunities all over the globe. Recent placements include Performers Theatre of Louisville, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Drury Lane Theatre, Mind the Gap in the U.K ., Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and Williamstown Theatre Festival, among many others.

Boston University – Boston, MA


Why we love it: Guaranteed casting in the School of Theatre’s 35+ Products each season, twice a semester starting in the sophomore year. These rehearsal and concert possibilities provide students the opportunity to apply the dynamic work of their classes in practice.

Ithaca College – Ithaca, NY


Why we adoration it: Many students take advantage of Ithaca College’s London Center and spend the fall semester of their junior year studying British drama and culture. In the senior time, opportunities include workshops and masterclasses that is facilitated by the transition to the profession.

NYU Tisch – New York, NY


Why we adore it: Tisch Drama has 10 professional training studios. Each studio teaches a unique approaching to creative work–encouraging students to explore and develop a technique based on their individual needs and aspirations.

Milikin University – Decatur, IL


Why we enjoy it: Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre is an exciting notion in undergraduate education. In partnership with the Millikin Center for Entrepreneurship, the School of Theatre and Dance has created a laboratory environment where students can “play, experimentation, and explore.” Through course work and practical application, students’ knowledge are put to the test in this student-run business venture. From selecting a season to directing, designing, and performing, from marketing and audience development to managing financial responsibilities, students engage in all aspects of running a small theatre company.

Fordham University – New York, NY


Why we adore it: The concert trail is centered in Stanisklavski’s late working in collaboration with physical actions. The instruct also includes voice work with Linklater and Fitzmaurice techniques, and motion work in self-disciplines such as Alexander, Feldenkrais, and Butoh.

Bennington College – Bennington, VT


Why we adore it: Faculty include Dina Janis, a lifetime member of the famed Actors Studio, currently led by Ellen Burstyn, Al Pacino, and Harvey Keitel. As an actor, she instructed directly with Kim Stanley, Uta Hagen, Stella Adler, and Sanford Meisner.

Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH


Why we adore it: The Irene and Alan Wurtzel Theater is an accessible and highly adaptable concert room that can accommodate up to 300 benches. This medium-sized theater is the third performance space for Oberlin’s dance, theater, and vocal studies programs. Faculty and students alike will be able to present student-produced, experimental, and small- and full-scale plays and operas.

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