four Acting students performing on stage.

Theater - Acting (BFA)

Whether your goal is the stage, film or television, if you have a strong drive to perform, the best place to start is the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts at the University of the Arts.

With a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from the Brind School of Theater Arts, you'll be taught by professional, working actors. You'll attend classes in the middle of one of the nation's largest thriving artistic communities–Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts–steps away from the Kimmel Center, Merriam Theater and the Academy of Music, and within easy reach of more than 100 theater and performing arts companies.

In 2021, UArts was named one of the top performing arts colleges in the US by the College Gazette.

In the Acting program, you'll collaborate with other UArts students on projects like films and student-directed theater. And you’ll have a chance to gain international inspiration through our student exchange program with the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in England. Acting majors get both experience and exposure through a variety of performance opportunities–from UArts productions and audition showcases to small, experimental theater and huge Broadway-style productions.

Student Spotlight

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Frank Jimenez

'19

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Hometown: West New York, New Jersey
Nina Rivera Headshot
Nina Rivera

'21

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Hmetown: Leesburg, Virginia
Shaun Morgan Headshot
Shaun Morgan

'20

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
My freshman year, I did a voice-over for an animation student, sophomore year I got to direct a show and this year, I'm going to take master classes at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
— Lani Skelley BFA ’18 (Acting)

Experience the passion and creativity of young artists on the threshold of professional success. See this season's lineup of shows.

On Stage

Faculty Spotlight

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Justin Lujan

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Program Director; professional actor and professor of acting, movement, voice & speech
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Krista Apple

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Barrymore Award-winner, contributing writer for "American Theatre" magazine
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Alex Bechtel

BFA '08

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Barrymore Award Winner, The Light Princess 2017
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Bill Buddendorf

BFA '98

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Freelance director, sound designer, singer-songwriter/recording artist

Curriculum

Sample Courses in the Acting Major

The Acting Program prepares our students for professional careers in theater and film/TV, as well as for continued study at the graduate level. And most importantly the training offers breadth and depth in a variety of studies and practices, which enables students to function successfully as active and productive members of society at large.

Graduates of the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in Acting are expected to:

  • Demonstrate a capacity for creative risk-taking, engaging their unique imaginative impulses and contributing strong generative proposals in both devised and scripted work with trust in themselves and the ensemble;

  • Fully integrate an active imagination with an active and dynamically aligned body, and a strong, supported voice, all capable of meeting the demands of text, character and given circumstances;

  • Effectively analyze scene and play structure, identify dramatic conflict, and shape specific choices of objective, obstacle and tactic that serve both the needs of the script and the artist’s imaginative impulse.

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First Year

Acting Studio I/II
Movement for Actors I/II
Voice and Speech for Actors I/II
Stage Combat I
Neutral Mask
Scenery & Prop Tech
Script Analysis

Second Year

Acting Studio: Technique I/II
Movement for Actors III/IV
Voice and Speech for Actors III/IV
Voice Lab for Actors
Theater History I/II
Crew

Third Year

Acting Studio: Poetic Realism
Acting Studio: Verse Drama
Movement for Actors V/VI
Voice and Speech for Actors V
Acting on Camera
Directing I
Audition Techniques

Fourth Year

Business of Theater
Electives: Contemporary Scene Study, Voice Acting, Acting on Camera II, Film Forum
Theater Internship

Explore the Full Curriculum

Alumni & Careers

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Aimé Donna Kelly

BFA '09

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Barrymore Award winner for Disgraced, TV appearances Iron Fist, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
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Matteo Scammell

BFA '11

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Barrymore Award-winning actor, funk/R&B musician
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Jennifer Childs

BFA '90

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Founder of 1812 Productions, Philadelphia's top comedy theater troupe
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A Little More Spring

 

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Folk Wandering
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Folk Wandering
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Mr. Marmalade
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About the Brind School

The Ira Brind School of Theater Arts is committed to developing the individual artistic voice of each student: You will develop both skills and an expanded point of view. Further, you’ll graduate a fearless, innovative and adaptable creator, ready to engage the medium and the world with a strong sense of yourself as a citizen artist.

The Brind School is tailored for those who want to head to Broadway and those who are intent on challenging the status quo. Our faculty includes 60 instructors, the majority of which are current theater professionals. Additionally, alumni regularly return to UArts as educators and hold central positions in Philadelphia’s theater culture, extending your creative community far beyond campus. 

We celebrate acting instruction as the focal point of training in both the Acting and Musical Theater programs, and emphasize vocal and physical training as principal support areas. Our Theater Design and Technology and Directing, Playwriting and Production programs also focus on technique supported by extended collaborative learning opportunities in production. Opportunities abound for master classes, guest speakers, internships and apprenticeships with both nationally prominent guest artists and Philadelphia’s many professional companies.

Through its dozens of performances each year–including the annual Polyphone Festival of New and Emerging Musicals–the Brind School is both a school and a producing company. We present an annual season of work which includes projects led by students, faculty and renowned guest artists from the national and local theater scenes. Auditions are open to all Brind School students.

Venues and Learning and Practice Spaces 

The Brind School is primarily located in the Terra Building at 211 S. Broad St. Spaces include seminar rooms and classrooms, as well as studios for individual voice, speech, dance, movement and acting instruction. 

We also utilize five public performance venues.

  • ArtsBank Theater: 230 seats

  • Laurie Beechman Cabaret Theater: 60 seats

  • Caplan Recital Hall: 200 seats

  • Caplan Studio Theater: 90 seats

  • Levitt Auditorium: 700 seats

A production shop, a costume shop, a design studio, a lighting lab, areas for both property and costume stock, and a fully equipped video editing studio round out the comprehensive theater experience Brind provides.

How to Apply

UArts offers recommended priority deadlines; students who apply and submit all required materials by the priority deadline will receive first consideration for scholarship aid from UArts. Applications received after the priority deadline will be reviewed on a rolling, space-available basis. 

International students requiring an F-1 visa for study in the U.S. might be subject to earlier deadlines to provide time for completion of the visa process. Contact Admissions for guidance if you are an international student who wishes to apply after the priority deadline.

Spring 2022 priority deadline: Dec. 4, 2021

Fall 2022 priority deadline: Feb. 15, 2022

We cannot accept spring 2022 applications after Jan. 10, 2022, and cannot accept fall 2022 applications after Aug. 12, 2022.

The following materials are required for your application.

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A completed application for admission

Start or resume your application. 

  • The application includes two required short-answer questions: What excites you about UArts? What inspires you?

A nonrefundable $60 application fee
  • If you qualify for a fee waiver from NACAC, CollegeBoard, UArts or another source, indicate that on your application. If the cost of the application fee is a barrier, contact Admissions to request a fee waiver code.

Official high school transcript

  • Official transcripts must be sent directly from your school by mail, email or a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

  • International transcript requirements 

  • Transfer student transcript requirements

    • High school transcripts may be waived for transfer applicants who have completed a minimum of 24 credits of college-level coursework, including a minimum of 18 academic, non-studio credits.

    • Official college(s)

      • Official transcripts must be sent directly from all the colleges you have attended by mail, email or a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

      • If you’ve attended college outside the U.S., you are required to have an official course-by-course evaluation of your college coursework sent to UArts. Additional guidelines for international transcripts are available

Your audition/interview
International applicants must submit proof of English proficiency.
Optional letters of recommendation
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors are optional and may be submitted by the recommender via email to undergradcredentials@uarts.edu or by your high school through a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

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