Two Baldwin Wallace acting students performing on stage

BW’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting is a rigorous program that melds classical theatre training with contemporary theatrical techniques.

Acting (BFA)

emphasis in classical drama

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Undergraduate Admission

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

 

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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.

  • QUALITY STREET by JM Barrie

    BW takes a fresh approach to the classics, as evidenced by this acclaimed staging of a neglected masterpiece.

  • PERICLES by Shakespeare

    BW's two annual Shakespeare productions feature live music performed by the casts.

  • INTIMATE APPAREL by Lynn Nottage

    BW produces a wide range of plays, including classics and new works.

  • 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.

  • THE DIVINERS by Jim Leonard Jr.

    A busy production schedule means there are many opportunities to perform on the BW stage beginning freshmen year.

  • 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.  

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

FAQs and helpful tips can help you choose the right program and prepare for your audition and the admission process.

TRANSFER STUDENTS

Starting fall 2018, this major is open to transfer students as well as first-year students. Transfer students enrolling prior to fall 2018 will have the opportunity to audition as a current student after they enroll at BW in an alternative major. 

Important Dates

View all admission dates >

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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.

Mainstage Series 2017 - 2018

OUR TOWN
By Thornton Wilder
Directed by Scott Plate
October 4-8

ANYTHING GOES
Co-production with BW Music Theatre
Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Guy Bolton and
PG Wodehouse

Directed by Jim Beaudry
November 8-19

fyoo zh en 18
new music + dance
Directed by Sara Whale
February 14-17

IL MATRIMONIO SEGRETO 
Co-production with BW Opera
By Cimarosa
Directed by Noa Naamat
March 22-25

A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
By Arthur Miller
Directed by Brennan Murphy
April 18-22

Studio Series 2017-2018

ROCK N ROLL
By Tom Stoppard
Directed by Adam Heffernan
October 18-22

WEIMAR
A New Play by Les Hunter
Directed by Anjanette Hall
April 4-7

HENRY VI
PARTS ONE AND TWO

By Shakespeare and Marlowe
Directed by Adam Heffernan
Part One: April 27-28
Part Two: May 25-26

TESTING GROUND
Dance Works in Progress

Directed by Sara Whale
October 27 and April 25

Lab Series 2017-2018

BREACH
By Egan Reich
Directed by Laura Berg
October 12-15

A DEVISED PRODUCTION
Directed by Pandora Robertson
March 15-18

STAGED READING SERIES
September and January 

24-HOUR THEATRE PROJECT
September 16

10-MINUTE PLAY FESTIVALS
December 5-6 and May 1-2

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 four track options — design and technical, dance and movementstage 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, Department of Theatre and Dance
Associate Professor
Acting, Shakespeare

Tesia Benson
Assistant Professor
Make-up, Costume Construction

Beth Burrier
Associate Professor
Music Director, Music Theatre Program
Music Theatre

Victoria Bussert
Director, Music Theatre Program 
Professor

Gregory Daniels
Dance Program Coordinator
Associate Professor
Jazz, Tap

Anjanette Hall
BA in Acting Program Coordinator
Assistant Professor 

Jeff Herrmann
Scenic, Lighting & Stage Management Program Coordinator
Professor

Les Hunter
Assistant Professor
Playwriting, Script Analysis, Screenwriting

Brennan Murphy
BFA Program Coordinator
Associate Professor
Acting, Voice

Scott Plate
Directing Program Coordinator
Associate Professor
Acting, Directing, On Camera

Annika Sheaff
Assistant Professor
Ballet, Modern Dance

Sara Whale
Assistant Professor
Ballet, Modern, Improv, Choreography

Charlotte Yetman
Costume Design Program Coordinator
Professor

Adjunct Faculty

Laura Welsh Berg
Lecturer
Acting

Melanie Boeman
Lecturer
Costume Shop Manager

Pamela Decker
Lecturer
Theatre History, Dramaturgy, Script Analysis

Martin Friedman
Lecturer
Script Analysis, Intro to Theatre

Dylan Fujimura
Lecturer
Technical Director

Fred Gloor
Lecturer
Improvisation, Intro to Theatre

Tracy Grady
Lecturer
Singing for Actors, Voice

Todd Krispinsky
Lecturer
Theatre Management

Lisa Ortenzi
Lecturer
Creative Dramatics

Corrie Purdum
Lecturer
Stage Management 

Pandora Robertson
Lecturer
Movement, Devised Theatre

Kelly Smith
Lecturer
Acting

Bob Taylor
Lecturer
Theatre Seminar in London

Dusten Welch
Lecturer
Resident Fight Director, Stage Combat

Staff

Yolanda Kennedy
Office Manager

Josh Padgett
Assistant Technical Director