Acting (BFA)

emphasis in classical drama

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Undergraduate Admission

(440) 826-2222, (877) BW-APPLY, admission@bw.edu

OVERVIEW

Become a masterful storyteller whose artistic, aesthetic and classical training set you apart as an actor and prepare you for a career in the performing arts.

Baldwin Wallace’s new Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in acting is a rigorous, comprehensive program that melds the versatility, focus and poise of classical theatre training with the ingenuity and candor of contemporary theatrical techniques.

You'll receive intensive training in acting, voice, and physical process, as well as learn skills to create a strong on-camera presence.

Small class sizes, individual attention, professional mentoring and extensive performance opportunities are at the core of the program.

BW's partnership with Cleveland's acclaimed Great Lakes Theater at Playhouse Square provides you with professional opportunities to understudy roles and earn equity points.

A New York City showcase puts you front and center to national agents, casting directors and other industry professionals.

  • ENCHANTED APRIL

    ENCHANTED APRIL

    BW was transported to the 1920's Mediterranean in this amusing and wistful play.

  • BIG LOVE

    BIG LOVE by Charles Mee (based on Aeschylus's THE SUPPLIANTS)

    Twenty tons of sand and a working bathtub were required for BW's version of Mee's modern classic.  

  • THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN

    THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN by Shakespeare

    The least produced play by Shakespeare had a widely acclaimed staging at BW in 2015.

  • FYOO ZH EN

    FYOO ZH EN: NEW MUSIC + DANCE

    BW dance program teams up with the Conservatory of Music composition program and a different academic department each year to produce an astonishing evening of new modern dance and music.

  • ANGELS IN AMERICA PART ONE: MILLENNIUM APPROACHES

    ANGELS IN AMERICA PART ONE: MILLENNIUM APPROACHES

    BW is one of the few theatre producers to tackle both parts of Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize winning American classic.

Distinguished Program

BW’s BFA in acting is an exciting new program that offers a fresh approach to classical actor training. It is the only BFA in acting in Northeast Ohio and only BFA in classical acting in the Midwest.

Performing Partners

Baldwin Wallace's close proximity to Cleveland and its nationally ranked theatre and arts organizations offers outstanding learning and performing opportunities.

You’ll benefit from BW’s formal alliance with Cleveland's Great Lakes Theater (GLT), which is one of the few recognized, active partnerships between an equity theatre and undergraduate program in the US.

Also important will be audition opportunities with GLT's partner theatres — the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival and Idaho Shakespeare Festival.

BW faculty are practicing professionals with these companies as well as other leading Northeast Ohio organizations:

faculty mentoring student

One-On-One Coaching and Mentoring

BW offers extensive opportunities for one-on-one coaching and mentoring. Here, department chair Adam Heffernan works closely with a student on a research project analyzing Shakespeare's work.

Auditions

Auditions

Each year 17 students are accepted into the acting (BFA) major. Auditions are required for all students applying to the acting (BFA) major.

Audition Process

Learn about the audition process including audition dates, registration, fee, requirements and admission notification.

FAQs and Helpful Tips

First-Year Students Only

This major is currently open to first-year students only. Transfer students enrolling prior to fall 2018 will not be eligible to audition for the BFA program during the application and admission process. These students may have the opportunity to audition as a current student if they enroll at BW in an alternative major.

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Theatre Productions

Baldwin Wallace's theatre and dance department produces two main stage productions and a series of one-acts each semester. Productions include musicals, operas, plays and a dance concert.

Main Stage Season 2016-2017

QUALITY STREET
By J.M. Barrie
Directed by Adam Heffernan
October 5-9, 2016

WEST SIDE STORY
Book by Arthur Laurents 
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
A co-production with
The Conservatory of Music’s m
usic theatre program
Directed by Victoria Bussert
Choreography by Greg Daniels
Music direction by David Pepin
November 9-20, 2016

fyoo zh en 17:
new music + dance

Directed by Sara Whale
February 1-4, 2017

INTIMATE APPAREL
By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Shinnerrie Jackson
April 5-9, 2017

Studio Series 2016-2017

ANGELS IN AMERICA
PART TWO: PERESTROIKA
By Tony Kushner
Directed by Scott Plate
October 19-22, 2016

THE DIVINERS
By Jim Leonard, Jr.
Directed by Dr. Jack Winget
March 16-19, 2017

THE SANDALWOOD BOX
By Mac Wellman
A co-production with Playwrights Local 4181
Directed by Dr. Leslie Hunter
March 20-21 & 24-25, 2017

PERICLES
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Adam Heffernan
May 26-27, 2017

24-HOUR THEATRE PROJECT
September 16-17, 2016 

THE 10-MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL
November 29-30, 2016 and April 25-26, 2017

TESTING GROUND: DANCE WORKS IN PROGRESS
October 28, 2016 and
April 27, 2017

CURRICULUM

Strong academics, intensive hands-on learning opportunities, and personalized coaching and mentoring are inherent to the program.

You'll learn from award-winning, professionally active faculty with extensive experience in directing, acting, design and dance.

The BFA in acting builds on Baldwin Wallace's recognized strength in the theatre arts and includes a strong collaboration with BW's nationally acclaimed music theatre program in the Conservatory of Music, with faculty teaching across programs.

The comprehensive curriculum prepares you for success. You'll gain the vocal, analytical and movement skills needed to excel. It includes eight semesters of acting; a wide range of movement training, including dance and stage combat; and multiple approaches to text analysis. View the program sequence of classes and activities.

The importance of mastering dramatic verse is a priority, and emphasis will be given to its foundation in helping you develop as an actor for classic and contemporary roles. You'll learn a wide range of techniques including scansion, Folio Technique, Linklater, Fitzmaurice, Alexander, Meisner, Stanislavsky and others.

In addition to the BFA in acting, BW offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in theatre with three track options — design and technical, stage management and acting and directing.

Master Classes

BW brings to campus guest industry professionals to teach students. These include agents, graduate school representatives and directors, all of whom can help students understand what it means to work as professionals in the field.

British theatre

Study in London

Heighten your understanding and appreciation of British theatre through a study abroad experience led by BW theatre faculty. The optional three-week, credit-earning immersion course in British theatre includes a nine-day trip to London.

STUDENT EXPERIENCES

Acting students are encouraged to participate in a variety of cultural, professional and educational theatre and dance programs both nationally and internationally. These opportunities, in conjunction with theatre productions and student organizations, will help you network, advance your skills and build an impressive resume and portfolio.

Theatre Productions

Performance opportunities begin early and continue through senior year, culminating in the New York City showcase.

You can audition for BW main stage and studio series plays, musicals, operas, two 10-minute play festivals, dance concerts and many student-led projects.

Within the BFA program, you are guaranteed classical performance opportunities:

  • sophomore class Shakespeare production
  • junior class outdoor Shakespeare production
  • understudy for a Great Lakes Theater production during senior year

Facilities

The Department of Theatre and Dance is located in Kleist Center for Art & Drama. It houses two theatres: John Patrick Theatre and William A. Allman Theatre.

The John Patrick Theatre is a large 500-seat proscenium theatre. The William A. Allman Theatre is a smaller, flexible theatre with seating between 100-250. This unique studio space is intended to provide a variety of seating arrangements, including proscenium, three-quarter-thrust and in-the-round.

There also are two dance studios and an acting studio, which operates as a small 30-seat performance space for rehearsal projects.

Student Organizations

Theatre Arts and Performance

This organization supports student theatre artists and those interested in theatre on campus. It informs students of events and opportunities in theatre, maintains an open forum for student ideas and projects, and raises awareness of on- and off-campus theatrical events.

Arts House

This campus-based, living-learning residence site is home to six to eight theatre and arts students. It hosts popular events like Diva Night and Jams & Java (a monthly coffee house concert series held in its basement theatre).

Faces for Radio

BW’s improv comedy troupe holds bi-weekly workshops and performs on campus.

ALUMNI SUCCESS

Baldwin Wallace alumni can be found working as actors, directors, stage managers, artistic directors and more in performing-arts and entertainment venues across the nation. Career areas include theatre, film, television and other performing arts media. BW's outstanding reputation in the arts and longstanding networking channels benefit students in securing professional representation.

FACULTY

THEATRE AND DANCE DEPARTMENT

(440) 826-2239, theatre@bw.edu

Full-Time Faculty

Adam Heffernan
Chair, Theatre and Dance Department
Associate Professor
M.F.A., The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Victoria Bussert
Director, Music Theatre Program 
Professor
M.F.A., M.A., Northwestern University

Gregory Daniels
Associate Professor
A.A.S., Onondaga Community College

Anjanette Hall
Assistant Professor 
M.F.A., Rugers University Mason Gross School of the Arts

Jeff Herrmann
Professor
M.F.A., Southern Illinois University

Les Hunter
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Stony Brook University

Brennan Murphy
Associate Professor
M.F.A., Yale University

Scott Plate
Area Coordinator, Music Theatre Program
Associate Professor
M.F.A., The Florida State University

Sara Whale
Instructor
B.F.A., Pacific Northwest College of Art

Jack B. Winget
Professor
Ph.D., Kent State University

Charlotte Yetman
Professor
M.F.A., New York University

Adjunct Faculty

Tesia Benson
Lecturer
Costume Draper
M.F.A., The Univeristy of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Melanie Boeman
Lecturer
Costume Shop Manager
B.A., Cleveland State University

Pamela Decker
Lecturer
Ph.D., The Ohio State University

Martin Friedman
Lecture
Ph.D., University of Michigan

Dylan Fujimura
Lecturer
Technical Director

Fred Gloor
Lecturer
B.A., Kent State University

Todd Krispinsky
Lecturer
B.F.A., Youngstown State University

Rebecca Leuszler
Lecturer
B.F.A., Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts

Lisa Ortenzi
Lecturer
M.A., Roosevelt University Chicago College of Performing Arts

Rachael K. Palermo
Lecturer
M.A., New York University

Corrie Purdum
Lecturer
B.A., Baldwin Wallace University

Bob Taylor
Lecturer
MBA, Case Western University

Dusten Welch
Lecturer
B.A., Ashland University

Alyssa Lee Wilmot
Lecturer
M.F.A., Mills College, Calif.

Staff

Yolanda Kennedy
Office Manager