Theatre Arts Study FAQ

ls3Theatre Arts Study FAQ

What kinds of design, production and stage management opportunities do theatre students have?

The Theatre Department has an ambitious, varied season and produces plays and musicals on four different stages. There are three levels of production work. First, there is an active 9-show main stage season guided by the faculty. Students work at all levels of production, but are generally assigned roles after participation in classes that prepare them for this work. The second level is the platform season, which supports smaller budget, cutting edge shows. All participation on these projects is open. Finally, there are a number of student productions either associated with the TMA Mask Club (436) that produces 5-10 one-act plays each season, or with the Experimental Theatre Company, a student-run association that produces its own season of plays and workshops. (For more information, ETC can be contacted at byuexperimentaltheatre@gmail.com).

Under the direction of faculty and professional artists, students are given opportunities to work back stage, in the shops, as designers, as technicians, as dramaturges, or as stage managers on all main stage productions. Students also work with Media Arts majors as designers and crew for film and television productions. All shows are cast from the student pool, and all are welcome to audition for main stage, arena, and platform seasons.

Students can check TMAccess and the bulletin board by the Nelke Theatre, and the bulletin board around the corner from D-581 for production opportunities. Students may also contact Jaynanne Meads (meadsjaynanne@hotmail.com) for stage management opportunities, Janine Sobeck (j9sobeck@gmail.com) for dramaturgy, and Jennifer Reed (Jennifer_reed@byu.edu) for production opportunities in TMA 260 and TMA 360.

Note: TMA 260 and TMA 360 are designed to give students an opportunity to develop skills and provide service on theatrical productions. TMA 260 allows students to choose scenic, costume or lighting work by building the arena theatre shows, or taking on a crew assignment. This assignment will be spread out over several weeks. Students in TMA 360 choose the show and assignment, if at all possible. Assignments include wardrobe supervisor, follow spot operator, sound board manager, etc., and will require many hours primarily during the run of the show.

Are apprenticeships and internships available?

Yes. Kyle Stapley (422-4576, D-581A HFAC, kyle_stapley@byu.edu) coordinates apprenticeship and internship opportunities both on and off campus. You can find more information about the internship process at our Internship page

Does the Theatre department have a career placement program?
  1. If you are a Theatre Education major, the Placement Center (2410 WSC, 801- 422-2072), will assist you in finding available teaching positions.
  2. If you are a BFA Acting or MDT major, placement is dependent upon auditions. Several professional performing companies hold auditions on campus, which are publicized in the student newsletter, TMAccess. In addition, each spring, seniors in the BFA majors are taken to New York and Los Angeles with the BFA Showcase to audition for agents and talent scouts in these areas.
  3. Theatre Arts Studies majors, or for those interested in stage management or design, are traditionally hired through the industry through recommendation. Getting a job after graduation depends largely on networking and your reputation of dependability and expertise, which can be facilitated by apprenticeships, internships, and collaboration on class projects. The department has placement relationships with several professional theatres in Utah, including the Utah Shakespearean Festival and Tuacahn. Graduate degrees in design improve employability.

Theatre Arts Studies majors who are interested in directing or dramaturgy are also usually hired through recommendation. Internships in dramaturgy are a plus. Graduate degrees in these fields improve employability as well.

Should I plan for graduate school after graduating in Theatre?

Many theatre students find value in graduate school. An MFA, PhD or MBA can provide advanced training in areas of interest and qualify you to teach on the college or university level.

How will I know if credits I have earned in theatre classes elsewhere will be accepted by BYU’s Theatre Program?

After acceptance into the university your advisor and Wade Hollingshaus will assess your transfer credits. Contact Professor Hollingshaus (F341 HFAC, wadeh@byu.edu) for an appointment. Bring your transcript of the desired courses you wish to substitute, and a copy of the “course substitution” form found at the TMA front desk to your interview.

Do transfer students have a disadvantage?

In some ways, yes. Students are encouraged to begin their education at BYU as early as possible to take advantage of the project and internship opportunities. This also helps students avoid problems with frequency of course offerings. However, if you are transferring, there are many people who will help you matriculate into the department.

Do the theatre programs require a foreign language?

No. However theatre students must fill all university requirements for graduation. CFAC Advisement (D-444 HFAC) can assist you in the selection of general education classes that compliment a theatre major.

BFA Acting FAQ

BFA Acting FAQ

How many students are accepted each year?

BFA Acting is a very competitive program. Only 8-10 students are accepted each year.

Can I take acting classes without being formally admitted into the BFA Acting Program?

Yes, you can be placed in acting classes based on your audition in proficiencies at the end of each semester.

Can I participate in acting performances if I am not accepted in the BFA Acting Program?

Yes, most auditions for acting parts in BYU Theatre productions are open. Pre-cast parts are designated. There are many performance opportunities for non-BFA Acting students.

Theatre Education FAQ

Theatre Education FAQ

Do I have to get an FBI background check like other education majors?

Yes. You are required to get FBI clearance for a number of theatre education classes because you will be periodically working with K-12 students in outside schools settings. For questions, contact Shawnda Moss (shawnda_moss@byu.edu), or go to the Education advisement office (120 MCKB) to receive information and instruction about this process.

Media Arts FAQ
Students out on a film shoot.

Students out on a film shoot.

Media Arts FAQ

How can I find information on film opportunities or upcoming events?

Film.byu.edu is the Media Arts blog that is updated daily with new job opportunities and internships. It has links to the Media Arts Program applications, the Student Film Association site, and displays upcoming events.

Does the Media Arts Program require a foreign language?

No. However, Media Arts students must fill all university requirements for graduation. CFAC Advisement (D-444 HFAC) can assist you in the selection of general education classes that compliment a Media Arts major or minor.

Are apprenticeships and internships available?

Yes. Kyle Stapley (801-422-4576, D-581A HFAC, kyle_stapley@byu.edu) coordinates apprenticeships and internship opportunities both on and off campus. Please e-mail for an appointment). There are also some websites available for additional information:

Does the TMA Department have a career placement program?

BYU offers a terrific career placement program located in the Wilkinson Student Center (Placement Center, 2410 WSC, 801-422-2072). The Placement Center will assist in finding future employment.

The film industry traditionally hires through recommendations so getting a job after graduation depends largely on networking and your reputation of dependability and expertise, which can be facilitated by apprenticeships, internships, and collaboration on class projects. Graduate degrees may improve employability.

Should I plan for graduate school after graduating in Media Arts?

We do not offer a graduate program in Media Arts Studies, however, many film students find value in graduate school. A graduate degree can provide advanced training in areas of interest and qualify you to teach on the college or university level.

How will I know if credits I have earned in film classes elsewhere will be accepted by BYU’s Media Arts Program?

After acceptance into BYU, contact our transfer credit instructor, Professor Sharon Swenson (801-422-6648, F540 HFAC, sharon_swenson@byu.edu) to schedule an appointment regarding transfer credits. Sharon will assess the ability to have transfer credits count towards graduation and will help with the credit transfer process.

Willem Kampenhout, Media Arts student.

Willem Kampenhout, Media Arts student. Photo by Nathalie Van Empel.

Do transfer students have a disadvantage?

In some ways, yes. Students are encouraged to begin their education at BYU as early as possible to take advantage of the project and internship opportunities. This also helps students avoid problems with frequency of course offerings. However, if you are transferring, there are many people who will help you matriculate into the department.

How do I apply for scholarships in Media Arts?

The Theatre and Media Arts department provides a variety of financial aid opportunities for its students. Merit scholarships are available for both incoming and continuing students. Groups or individuals within the program may apply for the Fulton grant. Students in their senior year qualify to apply for the Outstanding Student award. There are additional funding opportunities available through the college and university.

Visit http://tma.byu.edu/admissions-and-aid/ for additional information, or contact the TMA office (801-422-6645, D581 HFAC, tma_secretary@byu.edu).

What is the probability that I will be accepted?

Only 50 to 60 percent of applicants are accepted into the program (major and minor) each year. Applicants are accepted twice a year. Applications are judged by:

  • The applicant’s abilities, interests, expectations, and preparation
  • A creative sample submitted by the applicant
  • The Media Arts criteria/requirements, namely proof that the applicant is analytical, creative, teachable, responsible, and able to work collaboratively with others (see application online at film.byu.edu/application)
  • The applicant’s adherence to outlined application procedures, guidelines, and deadlines.
  • A grade of B- or higher in the prerequisite course TMA 102.

If you are not accepted the first time that you submit your application, you have the opportunity to apply a maximum of one additional time. Many students improve their ability to be accepted the second time they apply.

Questions regarding the application process may be directed to faculty advisors or Kyle Stapley (801-422-4576, D581A HFAC, kyle_stapley@byu.edu).

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