Theatre and Dance
Office: 212 Rockefeller Arts Center
Thomas Loughlin, Chairperson
It is the mission of the Department of Theatre and Dance to provide training for professional, community, and academic theatres and dance companies within the framework of a liberal arts education. To this end, the department offers the Bachelor of Arts degree, and the Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in several areas. All degrees offered by the department are fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST).
The Bachelor of Arts degree is one means of acquiring a liberal arts education. It is designed to be a general degree in Theatre Arts, covering all aspects of theatre arts and practice, including performance, design, technical production, theory, criticism, and history. Combined with the required minor, or with the choice of a second major, this degree gives student great flexibility in terms of career choice. Minors in Theatre or Dance are available as well, allowing a student to pursue a secondary interest in theatre or dance as support for a major area or for personal growth and satisfaction.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree programs are limited to those students who demonstrate excellence or the potential for excellence in Dance, Acting, Musical Theatre, or Theatrical Production and Design. Admission to these degree programs is by audition or portfolio interview only. They are designed for those students who enter the university with a firm idea of their professional goals. The BFA in Musical Theatre is offered in conjunction with the School of Music.
There are many opportunities for students to perform during the academic year. Theatre students may participate in the Walter Gloor Mainstage Series of departmental productions. The department presents five fully-mounted productions each year, including a dance concert performed by the Fredonia Dance Ensemble. The Performing Arts Company (PAC), a Student Association (SA)-supported theatre group at the university, presents two productions each semester and sponsors workshops and additional experimental theatre productions. Orchesis and the Fredonia Dance Club are two SA-supported dance organizations that produce a number of dance concerts each year. Students also participate in student improvisational groups, including Random Acts and the Improv Society. All shows produced on campus by any organization are open to participation by any and all students registered for classes during that semester.
Admission to the Department
Students should contact the Department of Theatre and Dance for information regarding auditions or portfolio reviews for all B.F.A. programs. Applications for an audition or portfolio review are submitted through an electronic audition request form. The department does not accept recorded auditions except for international students, or for unusual circumstances.
Bachelor of Arts - Theatre Arts
There is no audition process for the Bachelor of Arts degree. All students who indicate Theatre as their first major preference and are academically accepted by the university are automatically admitted to the Bachelor of Arts program. Students in the Bachelor of Art program are required to complete a minor. Recommended minors include Arts Administration (21 credit hours), Dance (27 credit hours; audition required), Business Administration (24 credit hours), Communication (18 credit hours), Film Studies (21 credit hours), English (21 credit hours), Writing (22 credit hours), and Music (30 credit hours).
Bachelor of Fine Arts – Acting
In addition to admittance to the university, students must audition during the year prior to entering Fredonia on one of the designated audition dates. Audition information and application forms are available on the department website. The B.F.A. Acting degree normally requires four years for completion. Students in the B.F.A. Acting program may choose to minor in an additional area, but it is not required for the degree.
Transfer students should audition for the B.F.A. Acting program during the semester before transferring.
Bachelor of Fine Arts - Musical Theatre
The Department of Theatre and Dance and School of Music jointly offer study leading to the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre degree. The program is limited to those students who demonstrate excellence in acting, dance and singing and who are firmly committed to professional careers in musical theatre performance. Students must audition during the year prior to entering Fredonia on designated audition dates. The auditions consist of acting, dance and singing. Audition information and application forms are available on the department website. The B.F.A. normally requires four years for completion. Students in the B.F.A. Musical Theatre program may choose to minor in an additional area, but it is not required for the degree.
Transfer students should audition for the Musical Theatre degree the semester before transferring.
Bachelor of Fine Arts – Theatrical Production and Design
In addition to admittance to the university, prospective students must interview with the production and design faculty for acceptance into the program. A portfolio of creative work should be part of this process. This may be done during the year prior to attending Fredonia, or Bachelor of Arts General Theatre Studies students may be admitted during their first year in residence. Portfolio review information and application forms are available on the department website. Students who are accepted into the B.F.A. Theatrical Production and Design program select a specific track of study from the following options: Costume Design, Lighting, Technical Production, or Scenic Design. Each track of study is outlined in the B.F.A. Theatrical Production and Design section.
Bachelor of Fine Arts – Dance
The B.F.A. in Dance provides training for dance professionals within a liberal arts education. In addition to intensive technical training in a variety of dance styles, additional studies in choreography, repertory, dance history, kinesiology, and musical training are required. The Dance program curriculum is consistent with the guidelines developed by The National Association of Schools of Dance. Acceptance to the Dance major is by audition only. Audition information and application forms are available on the department website.
Dance majors are required to audition for the Fredonia Dance Ensemble, the pre-professional training ensemble. Dance majors are expected to take at least one or two technique classes per semester. They are welcome to participate in the assorted dance clubs on campus. The dance program sponsors activities throughout the year including performances, master classes, and workshops with professional artists.
Dance majors are required to complete a minor, allowing the pursuit of a secondary interest or as support for professional career goals. Recommended minors include Arts Administration (21 credit hours), Theatre (22 credit hours), Business Administration (24 credit hours), Communication (18 credit hours), Film Studies (21 credit hours), or Sport and Exercise Sciences (22 credit hours).
- Students who are not accepted academically by the university will not be admitted to any B.F.A. program regardless of the results of their audition or portfolio review. Students must be academically accepted by the university AND pass their audition or interview for acceptance into any B.F.A. degree program.
- Audition or interview results are not released to a potential student unless and until they are admitted as a major in the Theatre and Dance department.
- Students who do not succeed in gaining admittance into one of the B.F.A. degree programs may choose to attend SUNY Fredonia as a B.A. Theatre Arts major and audition or interview a second time for their desired program. However, students who attempt a second audition should realize that the department makes every attempt to limit the number of B.F.A. students in those programs based on available resources, so as to insure a high level of quality training based on national standards of teacher-student ratios in the classroom. Admission to the B.F.A. program through a second audition is contingent upon space availability in the program. Students who audition a second time may not be admitted into the program if the department determines that there is no space available for additional students in the program or its classes. Under no circumstances may a student audition or interview more than twice for any program. Students who have completed 60 credit hours or more as a B.A. Theatre Arts major at SUNY Fredonia may no longer audition for the B.F.A. programs. Students who transfer from another institution into the department as B.A. Theatre Arts major and wish to audition or interview for a B.F.A. program must do so within the first two semesters of their arrival.
All Theatre and Dance majors and minors are required to complete the Theatre and Dance Production course sequence. These are practical extensions of the classroom and vary in accordance with the specific programs. The Theatre and Dance Production commitment requires approximately eight (8) clock hours per week but may, in certain cases, require significantly more time. Theatre and Dance Production credit does not count toward the total number of credits required in the B.F.A. Musical Theatre degree program.
- In addition to the specific and individual courses, there are periodic assessments of achievement/improvement for the B.F.A. Acting, B.F.A. Musical Theatre, B.F.A. Dance, and B.F.A. Production and Design students, with the purpose of determining advancement/retention. Students in the B.F.A. degree programs are initially accepted on a probationary basis. They are then assessed through a jury process at the conclusion of each semester in which they are enrolled in the program. Generally speaking, at the conclusion of the fourth semester, the performance, dance or design faculty assesses the student’s progress through a "barrier jury," and a determination is made for continuance in the program. Students who do not demonstrate sufficient growth and improvement will not be permitted to continue study in the B.F.A., but may continue in the B.A. Theatre Arts program or select another major.
- Transfer students admitted into B.F.A. degree programs must spend a minimum of two semesters in the program before undergoing a barrier jury. Generally speaking, transfers should expect to spend a minimum of three years on the SUNY Fredonia campus.
- Students in the B.F.A. Acting and Musical Theatre programs must present acting juries at the conclusion of each semester, and must perform a senior recital or a leading role in a departmental production during their fourth year.
- B.F.A. Musical Theatre students must also present vocal juries at the conclusion of each semester, and must perform a senior recital consisting of acting, singing and dancing components, or perform a lead role in a musical.
- B.F.A. Acting and Musical Theatre majors are required to audition for all Department of Theatre and Dance productions, and to perform as cast. B.F.A. Dance majors are required to audition for the Fredonia Dance Ensemble and perform as cast.
- B.F.A. Theatrical Production and Design students, prior to graduation, must formally present portfolios to the faculty, and may participate in a senior design exhibit.
All department majors must successfully complete a minimum of 30 upper-level credit hours and appropriate supporting courses as determined by faculty advisement.
- Students who are on academic probation will not be permitted to participate in public performances, nor will major technical production crew assignments be permitted.
- Transfer students in the B.A. General Theatre Studies degree program must complete at least 60 percent (27 credit hours) of their major at Fredonia.
- Further department policies and procedures are outlined in the department Student Handbook. Student majors in Theatre and Dance agree to be bound by these policies as a condition of being a major in one of the department’s degree programs.
- Juniors and seniors who contribute significantly to the theatre program and who attain a grade point average of 3.25 in their major may be eligible for initiation into Alpha Psi Omega, the national honorary dramatic society.
Awards and Scholarships
The department offers students numerous opportunities to earn awards and scholarships across their four years. The following is a list of the awards and scholarships available to student majors:
The Jack Cogdill Scholarship
The President’s Award for Excellence in Theatre
The Mary Joyce Schaefer Scholarship
The Theatre Arts Outstanding Senior Award
Jurgen P. Banse-Fay Production Management Internship
The Alice E. Bartlett: Excellence in Theatre Arts
The Howard E. Marsh: Excellence in Musical Theatre
The Bea Ullman Award for Excellence in Theatre Arts
The Artist of Dionysus Award
The Golden Batocio Award
The Gary Eckhart Award for Excellence in Theatre
The Harry John Brown & Paul Mockovak Award in Musical Theatre
Theatre and Dance Award for Excellence in Stage Management
The Trent Illig Memorial Award for Dance
The Carol Prevet Award for Dance
The John S. Mintum Outstanding Performance Scholarship
The Georgiana von Tornow Scholarship
The Michael J. Loughlin Award for Creative Uniqueness
The Bruce Walford Award
The Mary and Steve Rees Rising Junior Award
The Keith Cronin Memorial Award: Excellence in Production and Design
The NY State Federation of Home Bureaus/Sally Bulger Award
The 1929 Graduate Ballet Fund