The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is a program specifically designed for students whose certain interests and abilities strongly suggest the potential for pursuing careers as artists in the resident, professional, community, or academic theatre.
To expand the student’s creative powers and deepen the commitment to a vocation in the theatre, the B.F.A. program offers the student (1) a basic probing of all the arts and crafts of the theatre and dance; (2) an exploration in depth of one area of special interest; (3) the opportunity to participate creatively as a theatre or dance artist through extensive production experience.
Five concentrations are offered: (1) Performance, (2) Musical Theatre, (3) Dance, (4) Dance Science, (5) Design and Technical Production. Students entering the B.F.A. program will elect one of these four concentrations. The University of Memphis is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST).
Admission and Retention Criteria: Admission to the concentration in Performance or Musical Theatre is by audition. Admission to the concentration in Dance and Dance Science is by application only. Admission to the concentration in Design and Technical Production is by interview. Admission to the concentration in Performance with an emphasis in dance is by application only. To remain in good standing as a major in Theatre and Dance, the student must be evaluated through the evaluation and interview, or portfolio and interview process. Following their examination and interview, or portfolio and interview, applicants will be notified as to whether they have been accepted into the program, accepted for one more semester on a probationary basis, or advised to pursue another degree.
- Performance: Retention in the Performance concentration is based on a required annual examination and interview. In addition to the interview, the student is expected to present an audition package consisting of two contrasting monologues from plays of distinctly different styles or periods, and depending on the student’s preference, 16-32 bars of a song. The duration of material to be presented willl vary based on the student’s standing in the program and is at the discretion of the faculty.
- Musical Theatre: Retention in the Musical Theatre concentration is based on a required annual examination and interview. In addition to the interview, the student is expected to present an audition package consisting of monologues from plays, songs from the musical theatre canon, and a demonstration of dance styles specific to the genre. The duration of material to be presented will vary based on the student’s standing in the program and is at the discretion of the faculty.
- Dance: Retention is based on recommendation of dance faculty.
- Dance Science: Retention is based on recommendation of dance and ESMS faculty.
- Design and Technical Production: Retention in the Design and Technical Production concentration is based on an annual required portfolio review and interview. In addition to the interview, the student is expected to present a portfolio of artistic and production work. This may consist of items including photographs, sketches, costume plates, elevations, lighting plots, ground plans, and audio designs.
The fact must be emphasized that admission to the B.F.A curriculum does not imply a student’s permanent tenure in the program. Beyond the audition interview or portfolio review, the student’s active participation in the co-curricular activities of the department will be assessed by the theatre and dance faculty. Artistic growth, development of technical facility, and continuing commitment to creative excellence on the part of the student will be evaluated. Permission to continue in the program will be based on this evaluation.
Former B.F.A. students who have left the program for a fall or spring term must apply for readmission to the department. A new audition or interview may be required at the discretion of the faculty. The readmission process is not required if the absence is approved by the area coordinator and the department chair in advance.
Internship (THEA 4541 or ESMS 4541): The intent of this requirement and course is to provide the student experience in a full-time theatre or dance related production situation. Off-campus participation (usually following the junior year) is an essential element of the B.F.A. program. Details are to be planned in advance in conference with the student’s advisor.
Transfer of Credit: In certain cases students may be admitted to an advanced level of the B.F.A. program. Such admission will be based upon a departmental advisor’s evaluation of previous course work and theatre experience. Even if admitted to an advanced standing, the student will be required to remedy previous course deficiencies.
Advising: Upon application to the B.F.A. program, each student will be assigned a faculty advisor. For this degree, 120 semester hours are required for graduation. A minimum grade of “C-” is required in all departmental courses applicable to the major. The student must maintain an overall grade point average of 2.0. A 2.0 cumulative GPA is required for all courses completed in the major.