Theatre Training: Knowledge, Education, and Making the Grade

Working hard on academics is important if you want to study theatre.
Working hard on academics is important if you want to study theatre.

How important are grades when it comes to getting into a college or university in order to pursue theatre training? If you’re a high school student who is a C-minus student but amazingly talented will there be a lot of schools trying to recruit you? And what about once you’re in college. How important are your grades then? Here’s a look at how making the grade can determine your future when it comes to theatre training.

Grades Are a Barometer

For many schools and theatre programs, your grades are more than letters. They tell those who are in charge of accepting you how hard you are willing to work. Good theatre programs want students who are willing to put in the effort and who want to learn. Let’s face it, the theatre is not an easy place to make a living and if you’re not going to work hard, it will be very difficult for you to survive professionally. Schools and theatre programs consider grades heavily.

Grades Can Make or Break You

Classroom work can be intensive. Dedication to learning is essential.
Classroom work can be intensive. Dedication to learning is essential.

Sometimes a very talented student will make a huge mistake. They think their talent will get them into a college. The fact is that if you’re applying to a university, it won’t matter how much the theatre program wants you to be in their program due to your stellar audition and impressive resume. If you don’t meet the academic standards of the university and admissions turns you down, you won’t be able to get into the theatre program. Grades really can make or break your next step towards theatre training.

3.0 or Better for Graduate School

Graduate school, why would you need that if you were going to work in the theatre? You don’t need to go to graduate school to work in the theatre. In fact, you don’t need to go to college or even high school to have a theatre career. But each level of education and training makes you more employable and says something about your commitment to the art form in general.

Many theatre artists, actors, directors, playwrights, designers, etc., go on to graduate school after getting their undergraduate degree to earn a M.F.A. or Master of Fine Arts. The M.F.A. is the highest degree you can get in the theatre as a performing artist. It is the theatre artist’s equivalent to a scholarly Ph.D. To get into a M.F.A. program, you’ll need a 3.0 grade point average or higher. That’s all there is to it. So, it is important to be academically sound as an undergraduate because that will help you secure further training later in life.

The person who designed the beautiful set and lighting for As You Like It has a M.F.A.
The person who designed the beautiful set and lighting for As You Like It has a M.F.A.

By the way, a M.F.A., along with giving you a lot more training, will qualify you for full time teaching positions at universities. Also, it’s important to realize that those who accomplish a lot in their undergraduate training and get great grades often get to go to a M.F.A. program for free or at a greatly reduced cost.

An Education is for a Lifetime

The education you receive will last you a lifetime. It’s important to take your education seriously and to do well. First of all, if you do so, you’re gaining important knowledge that will help you and that you can use in the future. Also, a solid G.P.A. will get your foot in the door in many M.F.A. programs and those programs are often the key to professional success. Of course, along with great grades, you’ll need to have a topnotch audition or portfolio. Effort in school often equals an A-plus career.

  • Author Spotlight

    Paul Mroczka

    Paul Mroczka has served Theatre By the Sea as associate director and playwright-in-residence. He has directed for companies including North Country Center for the Arts, Pontine Movement Theatre, The Theatre of Newburyport and the Palace Theatre. A former National Endowment for the Arts fellow in playwriting, he has also garnered a Shubert Fellowship, the Jason Miller Award and has received grants from the New Hampshire Council for the Humanities. His plays have been performed at New York’s La MaMa La Galleria, Nat Horne Theatre, and Manhattan Punchline Theatre, among others. His interactive planetarium show, Pathfinders, is running at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium in Concord, NH. Recent directorial assignments include Good People, Steel Magnolias, and The Complete World of Sports (Abridged) at The Barnstormers Playhouse in New Hampshire, and Rumors, Orpheus in the Underworld, and The Glass Menagerie at PSU. This summer Paul finished an initial draft of his new play, Smart Money and is working on numerous other projects. Read Full
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