The competitive BFA Acting Program is considered one of the best university acting programs in the country due to its intensive class time devoted to acting training.
Freshman and sophomore students receive six hours of acting per week. Beginning in the sophomore year, students also receive an additional four hours per week of movement or voice/speech. These first two years are set against the backdrop of a rigorous and wide range of liberal arts course work. In the junior and senior year BFA acting students become members of the Studio Acting Program, where twenty hours a week are dedicated to performance training in movement, voice/speech, scene study, and acting. The Junior year is grounded in contemporary American realism and early modern realistic and non-real European drama. The senior year is dedicated to work in Shakespeare and other period styles including Restoration comedy and comedy of manners, as well as acting for film and television, voice-overs, and musical theatre. Other topics covered in the Studio Acting Program include singing, Suzuki, movement composition, stage combat, audition technique, masks, improvisation, make-up, psychiatry for the actor, dialects, and fencing.
The BFA acting students are the core of the casting pool for five to six main stage productions as well as up to twenty workshop and second stage productions per year. A typical BFA student will perform in as many as 15 productions in their time at WVU.
Upon graduation from our program students either enter into the profession immediately or are admitted to a high caliber, graduate training program. Throughout the four years students progress through a well coordinated series of core theatre studies coursework covering dramatic theory, text analysis, theatre history, dramatic literature, directing and special topics studies. The faculty is dedicated to preparing our students to work in the profession. We ourselves are working professionals who understand the needs of the actor.
At the center of all training is the belief that an authentic and truthful identification with the wants and needs of the character will lead to compelling communication and dynamic theatre. Through training, the actor’s imagination and creative abilities find freedom and the actor’s technical physical and vocal skills respond to the demands of style and genre and both flourish in the expression of the play.
Training in the junior and senior year is known as the Studio Acting Program and continues intensive work in the movement, voice/speech, and acting. The senior year is dedicated to work in Shakespeare and other period styles, as well as acting for film, television commercials, and voice-overs.
Continuation in the BFA Acting program beyond the sophomore year is by audition only. All BFA acting students must successfully pass an audition at the end of their sophomore year. For students that do not pass the audition, students may continue their theatre studies in the BA Theatre program.