Theatre at UBC
Degree Programs: Admissions
Theatre at UBC offers a comprehensive range of degrees in the study of Theatre and includes the option to study in an interdisciplinary environment with Film, Creative Writing and other university disciplines. Please visit our individual Program pages listed below for specific program requirements and admissions information.
Undergraduate and graduate degrees in Theatre include:
- BA in Theatre
- BFA in Design/Production
- BFA in Acting
- MA in Theatre
- MFA in Design
- MFA in Directing
- MFA in Theatre/Creative Writing
- Certificate in Theatre Design and Technology
- PhD in Theatre
- Summer Session
The Bachelor of Arts (Major in Theatre) is a four-year programme,which includes introductory courses in the areas of Theatre Studies,Acting, Theatre Production and Design, as well as practical participation in the department’s production. Subsequent years require a strong focus on Theatre Studies, as well as the history, dramaturgy and methods of theatre practice.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Acting offers professional actor training supplemented by a solid grounding in the history of theatre and the benefits of a liberal arts education. The beginning year of the BFA focuses on the development of the actor through scene study ,improvisation, storytelling, movement and voice. The Intermediate year includes the study of styles, heightened language, and individual artistic development through scene study and monologues. The final year includes screen acting, audition, voice and movement tutorials, creating solo pieces, singing, and stage combat.
Courses are fully integrated with Theatre at UBC productions. Students work on shows in cooperation with the faculty and professional staff, and have frequent opportunities to work closely with top industry professionals. The three-year programme usually begins in the student’s second year of post-secondary study. Admission to the programme is by audition, held annually in February.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Design and Production prepares students for entry-level jobs in professional and commercial theatre or for more advanced training in graduate school. Course work is offered in design, construction, scenic art, stage lighting, properties, and stage management.
The programme normally begins in the student’s second year of university and takes three years to complete. During the first year, students are expected to crew shows and explore the alternatives available in backstage work. During the second and third years students are expected to specialize more intensively in their areas of interest.
The Bachelor of Arts in Drama (Integrated Drama Program or IDP) offers a set of courses that lead to a Bachelor of Arts in Drama.The program is designed to serve a multiplicity of purposes: it provides students with a survey of all forms and periods of drama; it enables them to compare drama to related disciplines such as film, dance and opera; it introduces them to performative elements that correlate page and stage;and it persuades them to discover the intellectual wealth of drama and theatre studies in all its cross-disciplinary potential.The program offers both a Major and a Minor. Students will be required to seek advising and approval before embarking in the program.
The Master of Arts in Theatre is administered by Theatre Professors Kirsty Johnston (Graduate Advisor), Ernest Mathijs and Jerry Wasserman The programme is able to admit only as many students as can reasonably be supported, which means that the numbers vary from year to year. Our optimal enrolment is four students annually.
We are a small Graduate Program, and expect that applicants will be able to match their research interests to those of the Graduate Committee: Canadian Studies, Dramaturgy, Post-Colonial Theatre, and some aspects of 19th Century European and Modern British, American and Canadian Theatre.
Graduate students who are accepted in the Programme may have the opportunity to be supported by part-time Teaching and Research Assistantships, and other forms of part-time employment (editing the Theatre at UBC Study Guides, for example). Students with competitive grade-point averages may be recommended for entry-level awards; and all students in the Graduate program are expected to apply for University Graduate Fellowships and SSHRC awards to support their studies.
The Master of Fine Arts in Design for Theatre is an intensive graduate program intended to prepare students for professional design careers.
Designers are responsible for working with a stage director to create the physical environment (setting, costumes, lighting,sound, etc.) for a theatrical event, and for working with actors, technicians and crafts-people to realize the construction and production of this environment. Designers need a broad range of artistic skills, expertise in the history of the visual arts and the history of the theatre, and considerable management and collaborative abilities.
The MFA Design Programme admits 1 to 4 students each year, with applicants from all over the world. Instruction centers on a core of studio classes emphasizing development of the designers’ graphic, conceptual, and research skills. In addition, MFA design students undertake considerable practical work, including assisting faculty and other practicing designers on projects outside the University, designing theatre productions at UBC and elsewhere, and working in film. The programme generally takes two or three years to complete, and culminates in a thesis design or designs, usually for one of the Theatre at UBC venues.
The Master of Fine Arts in Directing for Theatre is professionally oriented and intended for those who wish to extend and enhance their directing practice. The programme is highly sought after by theatre artists, and the entrance process is competitive; only one or two students a year are admitted. Typically, entrants arrive with at least five years, usually more, professional theatre experience.
These theatre artists have an opportunity to dive deeply into the intellectual and practical world of theatre. Students spend a year investigating a variety of preparation and rehearsal techniques and the demands of various theatrical performance styles. In their second year they may join forces with a Creative Writing/Theatre MFA student and workshop a new play, and they direct two full-length productions. One of these is the student’s thesis where, in addition to preparing a fully realized production of a challenging play, MFA candidates conduct extensive research and write about the style, the playwright, the context and the intentions of the play; they record and analyze their directorial process, and they defend their analysis as well as their artistic choices.
Directing for the theatre is about vision and leadership. Directors provide the focus for a huge team of artists, managers and technicians to come together, in order to creatively ‘solve the problem’ of a play. Directing is to discover a production of a play that will have an impact on an audience in a specific place at a specific time. The art of directing is, on one hand, to envision those ‘solutions’ but, perhaps more importantly, to create a space where the actors,designers, dramaturges, craftspeople, and technicians, have room to offer their expertise, their creativity, their insights, their skills, and their visions to create one coherent whole. That is the goal.
The Ph.D. in Theatre is administered by the Graduate Committee in Theatre Studies. The programme is only able to admit as many students as we can reasonably hope to support. Our optimal enrolment is one student every second year in the Ph.D. Programme.
The Certificate in Theatre Design and Technology offers specialized and intensive professionally-oriented study. Instruction is given on a variety of levels, concentrating on the practical aspects of theatre. The Technology Certificate allows beginning students to take introductory level courses before moving on to more specific areas of practical study and entry-level professional development.
The Advanced Technology Certificate allows more experienced students to develop additional skills while encouraging a broader understanding of theatre history and dramaturgy.
The Design Certificate is intended for experienced students or professionals who wish to extend their study at the senior undergraduate and graduate levels. Courses may be taken individually, or full time students may complete the certificate as a two-year intensive programme.
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