An actor onstage in a play.

B.F.A. in Acting

B.F.A. Acting majors at Western take the stage on day one. Our B.F.A. in Acting offers conservatory-style training focused on helping you master the techniques, skills and mindset you need to create a meaningful career in the industry. Our training program is comprehensive, with flexibility that allows you to focus on your own artistic development and professional goals. Our impressive roster of guest artists and performance opportunities, intimate student-to-faculty ratio and extensive core curriculum are exceptional. Create, perform and explore with us.

Pride points

What will I do in the B.F.A. Acting degree program at Western?

Get meaningful conservatory-style training in a variety of areas in the industry: film and media acting; ensemble-based devising; new play development; content creation; exceptional vocal and physical work; professional preparation for stage and film; audition techniques; improv; and challenging scene work from various genres.

This stimulating curriculum provides the flexibility for the B.F.A. Acting major to focus on the areas of training that most cater to their goals and sets our students up for designing the careers they want.

Recent WMU graduates with degrees in acting are working as:

  • Actors and musical theatre performers
  • Directors
  • Voice-over artists
  • Casting directors
  • Stage managers
  • Agents
  • Producers
  • Movement and voice specialists
  • Professional dancers

Here are some of the organizations they work for:

  • Marvel Studios
  • Dreamworks
  • Disney Corporation
  • Broadway
  • New York City off-Broadway productions
  • National Tours
  • Broadway in Chicago
  • Chicago Shakespeare Theater
  • Seattle Repertory Theatre
  • Oregon Shakespeare Festival
  • Various film and television productions


  • I am extremely impressed with the level of talent, preparedness and professional behavior that I find in every student I audition from Western Michigan's theatre program—amazing young students.

    Ron Wilson, director, Case Western Reserve University-Cleveland Play House M.F.A. Acting Program

What will I learn in my B.F.A. Acting classes?

The B.F.A. in Acting builds your creative foundation for work grounded in truth, connection, imagination and craft. The B.F.A. Acting sequence for both stage and camerawork includes moment-to-moment work, script analysis and preparation, voice work, intimacy direction and the physical training necessary for the stillness of film and the freedom of stage.

Our faculty and world-class guest artists continue to work in their respective areas of specialty to provide cutting-edge training as the industry evolves. Students will strengthen their performance skills, develop meaningful relationships with their mentors, gain broad knowledge of their future industry and have ample opportunities to perform. We prepare our students for success.

  • Video of Western Michigan University's Department of Theatre


Are scholarships available for acting students?

Yes, the Department of Theatre makes annual awards of scholarships in several categories and for varying amounts. We award talents in performance, design, technical, stage management and arts management. Awards are based on academic achievement, experience, accomplishments and service, as well as financial need.

How do I audition for the theatre program?

After you complete your application for the B.F.A. in acting program, you will have the choice of auditioning in person or virtually. The guidelines for each audition format are detailed here:

  • Audition process

    To complete your application for the B.F.A. Acting program, you will need to : 

    • Upload a current digital photo and acting resume 

    • Provide email addresses for two references (teachers, directors) who know your work 

    • Know your current grade point average (GPA) 

    You may audition virtually or in person.

    In-person audition process 

    What you will need for the audition:  

    1. Each auditionee is expected to prepare two monologues, each about a minute in length. (For more tips, please see the "Tips on preparation and selection of material" tab below). 

    1. Bring two sets of clothing to the audition day.  You will wear one set of clothing for the monologue audition and one set of movement clothes for the callback. You may wear your movement clothing to the interview—no need to change. 

     First round: Monologue audition 

    The first part of the audition process is a traditional monologue audition. Introduce yourself with:

    1. Your name

    1. The title of the play your monologue is from 

    1. The name of the playwright

    1. Perform one of your two prepared monologues for the panel of performance faculty. There will be a timer—don’t worry if you get cut off! 

    Following your monologue audition, you will be informed if you have been called back or not. If you are called back, you will be scheduled for a second group movement audition later in the day. If you are not called back, you are free to leave at that time.  

    Second round: Group Movement Callback 

    You will change into your movement clothes (clothing that is nonbinding, allows free movement and in which you are comfortable rolling around on the floor) for this round. 

    Be prepared to “play.” This means you are fully available, physically and mentally, to explore the creative possibilities of performance.  

    The Group Movement Callback is an opportunity for you to work directly with performance faculty who will be leading you and your group through a series of exercises exploring your physical and creative capabilities. This is not about “acting” or “putting on an act” but about you as an individual exploring the range of imagination and creativity you bring to your work. There is no right or wrong way to do these activities. What matters is willing and authentic participation.   

    This callback is not a test, an improvisation or a performance. It is more like playing games, with performance faculty as the leaders. It is a chance for us all to get to know each other a little better as creative and enthusiastic artists.  

    Third round: Interview 

    After the Group Movement Callback, you may be invited to an interview. An invitation to an interview does not necessarily mean you will or will not be admitted.  

    The panel of performance faculty will meet with each individual student. The content of your interview may vary according to the monologue audition, your performance in the group movement callback or the details of your academic record or performance experience.  

    For example, you may be asked to work on one specific thing from the monologue you did in the morning. You may be asked to do your second monologue. You may be asked specific questions about the Group Movement Callback or about your education or experience.

    You will also have the opportunity to ask the faculty any questions you may have. 

    Our goal in the audition process is to get to know each auditionee’s personality and potential, as well as share the strengths and opportunities available in our program.  

    We want the best possible match, for us and for you, so that you may select the program best suited to develop your individual artistic voice.

    Virtual audition process 

    First round: 

    You’ll prepare two video submissions for your first-round virtual audition. 

    First: Prepare and submit a video monologue audition of two contrasting pieces (see below for guidance on selection and preparation). Your video should allow you to be clearly seen and heard and be no longer than two minutes total. Film in landscape mode with your frame capturing you from the waist up. 

    Second: Submit a video of yourself telling us something you feel we should know about YOU! This video should be no longer than one minute. 

    Submit these videos through the Acceptd portal

    Second round: 

    We will hold virtual callbacks via Zoom. This is an opportunity for us to work with you on your material, get to know your artistry better and for you to have a clearer sense of how we work. On your callback day, you will have the opportunity to speak to some of our current students and attend a "virtual tour" of our facilities. You will also have the opportunity to ask the faculty any questions you may have. 

    Our goal is to nurture each student's personality and potential, as well as share the strengths and opportunities of our program. We want the best possible match, so that you may select the program best suited to develop your individual voice.  

  • What happens after the audition?

    After all the auditions are completed, the faculty meets to review the admissions files and audition data for the applicants. We have many talented, qualified applicants. We practice rolling admission, which means while it is possible that an offer could be made within two weeks of your audition, it is not likely. Since we have multiple audition events, the majority of the offers will be made later in the audition season, which lasts until March.

    Please ensure that we have accurate contact information for you so that an offer will not be delayed. Please acknowledge receipt of the offer, so we know you received it. At the time we make an offer, we will tell you the acceptance deadline. Please ask questions, tour the campus and the building, talk with our students and sit in on classes if you can. If at all possible, see a show—call or email the box office and let them know you’ve received an offer and they will do their best to accommodate you. We want you to feel confident in your choice and will do our best to help you get the information you need.

  • Tips on preparation and selection of material
    • Choosing the perfect monologue takes work.
    • There is no shortcut to a great audition. We encourage you to seek out coaching and rehearse your audition in playful and imaginative ways. A monologue should show off who you are and the best work always comes from the actor’s ability to personalize the material. Be sure to use material that is relatively within your age range and understanding. We suggest that you focus on contemporary, realistic scripts.
    • Each monologue should be no longer than one minute, but 45 seconds is ideal.
    • Your monologue should be one in which you are actively working to impact the character to whom you are speaking. Monologues are most effective when you are actively and immediately trying to change or get something from your unseen scene partner and they matter to you tremendously.
    • Wear clothing that is simple, professional and comfortable. Do not use costumes, dialects or props.
    • Your intro is called a "slate." Keep this warm and welcoming. Tell us your name and the names of the plays from which you are doing material.
    • We want three-dimensional characters even though video is a two-dimensional medium. Find JOY in what you have to share. We can’t wait to see your work.

    Preparing your audition

    Sample resume

What have other acting students achieved?

  • Crystal Lucas-Perry stands in a crosswalk in front of a Broadway theatre wearing a red dress. Photo courtesy: Valerie Terranova.

    The Western alumna starred in two Broadway productions within a month—first as John Adams in a groundbreaking reboot of the Tony Award-winning musical "1776" and then reprising her Lucille Lortel Award-winning role as Passenger 5 when hit comedy "Ain't No Mo'" made its debut Broadway run in November.

Other programs of interest