Theater - Acting (BFA)

With a BFA in Acting from the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts, you’ll be prepared to take your professional artistry and career in any direction you choose.

While you’re here, you’ll be taught by working industry professionals, while attending classes on the Avenue of the Arts, one of the nation’s largest thriving artistic communities. You’ll be within easy reach of more than 100 professional theaters, not to mention Philadelphia’s art museums, Live Arts Festival, The Kimmel Center, and more.

You’ll also have the opportunity to hone your craft through the Brind School’s annual production season, which includes experience and exposure through a variety of performance opportunities, from intimate and experimental student-directed work to large Broadway-style productions led by award-winning faculty and guest artists from the national and local theater scene.

Whether your goal is the stage, film or TV, if you have a strong drive to perform, there are opportunities waiting for you at the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts at University of the Arts.

two student actors in period costumes stand on a stage of a checkered tiled floor and large windows, speaking at each other.

Why You Should Earn an Acting BFA at UArts 

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

In UArts’ Acting program, you’ll be taught by award-winning Equity actors and industry professionals. You’ll cultivate professional relationships by collaborating with other students on films and student-directed theater. You’ll have the chance to perform in our yearly production season. And once you graduate, you’ll join a vibrant community of UArts alumni working in Philadelphia’s vibrant theater scene, and working professionally in theater and film across the country.

There are ample study abroad opportunities, both in the US and abroad, for students who wish to extend their training beyond Philadelphia.

And there are endless opportunities for you to extend your artistry and performance in the direction you’d like to see it go: whether it’s extensive training in Shakespeare and Classical Performance, devising and creating original work, or preparing for a career in film, TV and voiceover.

Careers & Alumni

The Acting program sets UArts graduates up for success in the world of theater, film and TV, with a wide selection of possible career paths to pursue and a network of successful, experienced alumni to connect with.

Career Paths

A traditional performance path on stage or screen is only one of many career options that a BFA in Acting prepares you for, such as:

  • Performer (Theater, Film/TV, Voiceover)
  • Stage Combat & Movement Choreographer
  • Teaching Artist & Theater Educator
  • Voice/Dialect Coach
  • Casting Associate

Alumni Spotlight

UArts Acting alumni have starred in such hit TV shows as Private Practice, Law and Order, and Ugly Betty and can be seen in national and regional theater productions, including the National Black Theater Festival and the prestigious Williamstown Theater Festival.

Other Acting alumni have started their own local theater companies, like Philly’s award-winning 1812 Productions, co-founded by Jennifer Childs BFA ’90 (Acting), who serves as its artistic director.

Graduates from the Acting program at UArts go on to study at places like Yale School of Drama and are the recipients of such prestigious honors as the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship and George C. Wolfe Award in Theater.

Matteo Scammell head shot
Matteo Scammell

BFA '11

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Barrymore Award-winning actor, funk/R&B musician
Head shot image of Jennifer Childs with red hair in black shirt and purple jacket
Jennifer Childs

BFA '90

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Founder of 1812 Productions, Philadelphia's top comedy theater troupe
portrait of zoe nebraska feldman, pictured against a blank background and seated slightly on a stool. Zoe is wearing a black romper with a deep v neck with small pendants. zoe's hair is largely over the left side of her face and she has a serious expression with her mouth slightly open.
Zoe Nebraska Feldman

BFA '19

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Regional stage & film actor; credits include Wilma Theater and Playwrights' Horizons
headshot of frank jimenez. frank has a serious but warm look on his face with dark eyebrows and tightly cropped dark hair. frank is wearing a burgundy crewneck t shirt against a blank cream background
Frank Jimenez

BFA '19

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Recent Philadelphia credits include Arden Theater and Teatro Del Sol
headshot of anthony martinez-briggs. Anthony is show smiling against a blurred out of focus outdoor background. Anthony has curly black hair, a chinstrap bears, and is wearing a brown button down shirt with double breasted pockets.
Anthony Martinez-Briggs

BFA '13

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Barrymore-nominated actor, sound designer, & hip hop artist

Kate Flannery ’87 (Acting) recounts how attending UArts opened a world of creative potential.  

Venues, Learning and Practice Spaces 

The Brind School is primarily located in Terra Hall 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.

  • The Arts Bank Theater is a unique, state-of-the-art performance space on Philly’s famed South Street. The building houses a 220-seat main stage, a rehearsal and dance studio, and the intimate 60-seat Laurie Beechman Cabaret Theater on the first floor.
  • The Ellen and Ronald Caplan Center for the Performing Arts is located on the 16th and 17th floors of Terra Hall, overlooking the Avenue of the Arts. It includes the Caplan Recital Hall, a 200-seat space equipped with a green room and dressing room space and recording equipment, and the Caplan Studio Theater, a 90-seat black box theater.
  • The Elaine C. Levitt Auditorium is located in historic Gershman Hall. It houses 700 seats and is perfect for large concerts and performances.

Brind School facilities include

  • six full-sized acting studios;
  • four dedicated private voice studios;
  • several spacious dance studios;
  • one full-sized rehearsal and dance studio in the Arts Bank building, as well as a cabaret-style space;
  • a costume shop with state-of-the-art equipment;
  • a lighting lab; and
  • a fully equipped video editing studio.

Sample Curriculum

The Acting program prepares our students for a wide variety of professional careers in theater, film and TV, as well as for continued study at the graduate level.

The first two years of training are dedicated to foundational practice and technique, rooted in a contemporary approach to performance that translates to any medium. This includes courses every semester in Acting Technique, Voice/Speech, and Movement.

Year three completes the advanced aspects of this training, and also provides many opportunities for elective courses to match your artistic interests and career goals.

The final year continues your artistic training while also focusing on industry preparation, including courses on Audition Techniques, the Business of Theater, and preparation for an industry showcase for agents and casting directors in multiple US markets and cities. (View our most recent showcase.)

Graduates of the BFA 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.

Sample Curriculum
Duration: Four years, full time
Credits: 120
Major requirements: 69 credits
Discipline history: 9 credits
Critical Studies: 33 credits
Free electives: 9 credits

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First Year

Fall semester: 15 credits 
Survey of Theater Arts (3 credits) 
Movement for Actors I (2 credits) 
Stage Combat I (2 credits)
Acting Studio (3 credits)
Voice & Speech for Actors I (2 credits)
Writing I Placement (3 credits)

Spring semester: 15 credits 
Movement for Actors II (2 credits)
Neutral Mask (1 credit)
Scenery & Prop Tech or Costume Tech (1 credit)
Acting Studio II (3 credits)
Voice & Speech for Actors II (2 credits)
Script Analysis (3 credits)
Writing II Placement (3 credits)

Second Year

Fall semester: 16.5 credits 
Movement for Actors III (2 credits)
Movement for Actors Lab (1 credit)
Crew (1 credit)
Acting Studio Technique I (3 credits)
Lab Hours (1 credit)
Voice & Speech for Actors III (2 credits)
Voice for Actors Lab (0.5 credits)
Theater History (3 credits)
Thinking Through Science (3 credits)

Spring Semester: 16.5 credits 
Applied Major Instruction (2 credits)
Movement for Actors Lab (1 credit)
Crew (1 credit)
Acting Studio Technique II (3 credits)
Lab Hours (1 credit)
Voice & Speech for Actors IV 2
Voice for Actors Lab (0.5 credits)
Theater History II (3 credits)
Critical Studies (your choice) (3 credits)

Third Year

Fall Semester: 17 credits 
Movement for Actors V (2 credits)
Acting Studio: Poetic Realism (3 credits)
Acting on Camera (1 credit)
Directing I (3 credits)
Voice & Speech for Actors V (2 credits)
Critical Studies (your choice) (3 credits)
Critical Studies (your choice) (3 credits)

Spring semester: 16 credits 
Movement for Actors VI (2 credits)
Audition Techniques (2 credits)
Acting Studio: Verse Drama  (3 credits)
Acting on Camera II (1 credit)
Voice & Speech for Actors VI (2 credits)
Critical Studies (your choice)  (3 credits)
Critical Studies (your choice)  (3 credits)

Fourth Year

Fall Semester: 12 credits 
Business of Theater (1 credit)
Production Hours (your choice) (1 credit)
Critical Studies (your choice)  (3 credits)
Critical Studies (your choice)  (3 credits)
Free elective (your choice) (4 credits)

Spring Semester: 12 credits
Theater, Movement, Studio or Voice & Speech  (3 credits)
Production Hours (your choice) (1 credit)
Critical Studies (your choice)  (3 credits)
Free electives (your choice) (5 credits)

Explore the Full Curriculum

Clubs and Organizations 

UArts is home to nearly 25 clubs and organizations that are just as creative as UArts students. There’s something for everyone, including visual arts, music, performing arts, advocacy and much more. Our performing arts organizations include

  • UProgress is a student run theater club that seeks to create performance opportunities for Brind School students, primarily for the students of color, and to give them a voice and the necessary space to create art that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
  • The Coffee Cup Cabaret, a cabaret troupe dedicated to putting on musical theater cabarets and coffeehouses in a safe and supportive space that is open to students of all majors.
  • The Ignite Dance Collective, which emphasizes the importance of versatility for working artists. By training in commercial dance form, their members focus on authentic expression, accountability and creating a loving and supportive community. The Royals Band Dance Line, which is dedicated to embodying and continuing the principles, traditions and culture of historically Black college and university marching bands.
  • The UArts Ballet Ensemble, which offers open membership to all students who are willing to further their experience in the art of ballet.
  • The UArts Gospel Choir, which aims to foster love and compassion through ministry while maintaining an atmosphere that celebrates diversity.
  • The Unicorn Ball Club, which provides an open and safe space for community members to participate in ball culture, an artform devised by Black queer artists.

Learn more about UArts’ clubs and organizations.

Student Spotlight

In the Acting program, our students’ interests and artistic pursuits are as varied as the opportunities and curriculum we offer. They thrive in collaborative spaces, and often express their artistry not only through theater but by pursuing training in one of the many additional arts programs offered by the Brind School of Theater and by the University at large.

headshot of  Ella Kahan against a blank white background. Ella has long brown hair, is wearing a deep V orange sweater, has a golden ring on a subtle chain and is smiling warmly at the viewer
Ella Kahan

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Class of 2025
headshot of Kyle Edens. Kyle has medium length brown hair parted in the center and has a confident smile, wearing a blue denim jacket over a black shirt against ablurred out of focus background.
Kyle Edens

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Class of 2025
headshot of Katy Robinson. Katy is wearing a green button down shortsleeved shirt with a few pendant poking through at the collar. Katy's hair is pulled back and Katy's eyebrows have notches in the edges. A variety of piercings adorn Katy's ears and nose and a big smile is on Katy's face.
Katy Robinson

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Class of 2025

Faculty Spotlight

UArts Acting faculty are talented working artists who are dedicated to working closely with students, honing their craft and forming long-term mentoring relationships with Brind School students. Further, our faculty will connect you with the theater community in greater Philadelphia, as well as in New York City and beyond.

A headshot of Krista Apple, wearing a black shirt and against a gray, textured background.
Krista Apple

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Program Director; Barrymore Award-winner, contributing writer for "American Theatre" magazine
Isaac Byrne standing in front of a gray backdrop and wearing a black shirt
Isaac Byrne

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Two-time New York Innovative Theatre Award–winner for Outstanding Direction with 30 years of experiuence in theater and film
headshot of J Alex Cordaro. J is seen against a a background of a pier over choppy waves. J is bald and has a short grey bushy beard while wearing a blue short v neck t shirt.
J. Alex Cordaro

Theater - Acting (BFA)
Director, Stage Combat Instructor and Fight Director

Spotlight: I Want A Country

Shifting the theater experience for actors and audiences and setting the stage for future technologically forward endeavors

Get to know the graduates of the Acting and Musical Theater programs by visiting the virtual student showcase.

Explore the Acting and Musical Theater graduate showcase

Ira Brind School of Theater Arts Productions

Check out the Brind School's current season of theater production.

Explore the current season

About the Brind School

The Ira Brind School of Theater Arts is primed to nourish the individual artistic voice of each student, encouraging the development of advanced skills and an expanded point of view. Graduates of the Brind School can count on their practical experience in a thoroughly equipped and well-connected theater ecosystem to pursue careers in theater as fearless, innovative and adaptable creators. The Brind School imbues students with strong identities as innovators and citizen artists.

The Brind School is tailored for those who want to achieve and excel in performance and stagecraft. The Brind School’s faculty includes 60 instructors, the majority of which are current theater professionals. Alumni regularly return to UArts as educators and hold central positions in Philadelphia’s theater culture, creating a powerful home base for extending students’ creative community far beyond campus.

Learn more about The Brind School of Theater Arts

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 2024 priority deadline: Oct. 15, 2023

Fall 2024 priority deadline: Feb. 15, 2024

We cannot accept spring 2024 applications after Jan. 8, 2024, and cannot accept fall 2024 applications after Aug. 16, 2024.

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 portfolio
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 or by your high school through a secure electronic document-delivery service.

Apply now

Scholarships and Financial Aid

UArts recognizes the extraordinary talent of our students through a range of merit-based scholarships. All applicants are automatically considered for such scholarships—no special application is necessary.

Nearly 98 percent of UArts’ undergraduate students enrolled on a full-time basis are eligible for some type of need-based aid. Additionally, some scholarship opportunities take need-based criteria into account. All students who are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens and are enrolled in a degree program are encouraged to apply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

We encourage students to complete the FAFSA by March 15, if possible.

Many students and families have encountered technical challenges while trying to complete the FAFSA this year. If this is the case for you, continue to utilize the FAFSA support resources until your issue is resolved. UArts will ensure that all admitted students who file the FAFSA are eligible for the same institutional funding to support your costs.

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About the Brind School of Theater Arts

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320 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102

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