Where to pursue the degree is
probably the most difficult
decision of all. Stay
near home? Go
Pay much higher out-of-state tuition?
Be with friends? Seek
a degree from a “prestigious”
institution? Find a
place where you can
become a generalist? You
had better plan
to spend some considerable time investigating the possibilities with
possibility of the need to visit alternative campuses: the only way
really going to get a sense of the people, facilities and atmosphere in
your work can thrive.
are available to you to begin a search. Check out the catalog
available in SPU’s career center.
Printed catalogs are still the best means to
“browse” through several
schools at a sitting. Increasingly,
Theatre programs have home pages on the WEB and searching there may be
exciting, because most of these presentations are oriented to
more than dry
recitation of courses offered and degree requirements.
The American Society for Theatre Research publishes an unrated directory of theatre graduate programs; your
faculty members may have a copy on hand. This database is also available online.
Send for information from any schools
that interest you as
soon as you suspect you may be interested.
Your general search should start at least a year in
advance. You may be
able to contact faculty in a
program, current, or former students via the WEB or e-mail. There are also theatre
list serves on the
Internet and a request from you for information will generate
Look for schools that are in good
geographic and theatre
locations and that offer some financial assistance.
You certainly want to reduce as much as
possible the heftiness of loans accumulated during grad
school—the prospects of
being immediately employed are not that wonderful.
The percentage of people who can support
themselves through professional theatre work remains minimal. You will be ahead of the
game if you don't
have a lot of loans on you back while climbing the ladder.
Whether or not you are looking for
scholarships, you may
want take advantage of the national University Resident Theatre
Association (U/RTA) auditions,
because they provide
access to the attention of several different institutional programs at
once. The U/RTA was
originally formed to
represent the interests of several large institutions, each of which
a professional or semi-professional production arm in residence on
the organization held
auditions only to fill professional performance positions, but now it
auditions to hopeful graduate students desiring to be involved in
are held annually in
several regional locations around the country.
It can be something of a cattle call, but is a less
than going to several campuses individually.
It is important to apply
to at least five schools and make an effort to plan
to visit them. As
narrow choices, keep in mind that it's good to have a wide range of
want to apply to, rather than just focusing on the top programs that
carefully at the
Is it rigid or flexible?
Does it have courses you need to
strengthen the skills you have and make up for deficiencies?
Would some private study in some
areas such as dance, voice, etc., benefit you before pursuing a
Are there opportunities for
professional internships or working in theatre in a community?
As a developing artist, you need to
look for the balance
between theory and practice in any program you research.
So, after gathering all your research
material, how do you
choose the program and time that's right for you?
Seek out some real live people who themselves
have had experience in the difficulties of the decision. Visiting with your Theatre
professors is an
important start. Many
of them have
contacts nationally and are certainly familiar with your work. Consult with
alumni—names available through
your advisor—who can share their search stories with you. Our alums are great
people; like you, but
maybe older. They
can be important
sounding boards as you think through the avenues you would like to
And don’t push aside the
power of prayer in this search and
seizure operation. These
decision are the points at which you need to put your faith to work in
practical way. It’s
the ultimate form of
worship: to await the infusing of God’s wisdom into your