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Acting

Conservatory-style training in a liberal arts setting

Elon is recognized in the theatre industry as a proven training ground for mature, skilled and knowledgeable actors. The Elon Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program features an intensive course of study and performance designed to give you the knowledge, experience and professional exposure you need to build a successful career on stage, on camera or in graduate school.

At Elon, acting students receive conservatory-style training in a liberal arts setting. You will grow and develop with dynamic professors who will teach you to sharpen your acting technique and deepen your understanding of all aspects of theatre. And you won’t have to wait in line to perform on stage; beginning your first semester, you will have many opportunities to put your learning and talents into action by participating in a variety of stage productions. You will make valuable professional contacts by participating in sumemrstock theatre, festivals, conferences and conventions, and on-campus master classes. By the time you graduate, you will have all the tools you'll need to begin a successful performing career or pursue advanced studies in graduate school.

Elon’s performing arts alumni are employed nationwide on Broadway, national tours, regional companies, film, series television and national and regional commercials. By the time you graduate, you will have all the tools you’ll need to begin a successful performing career or pursue advanced studies in graduate school.

"The BFA acting program at Elon University changed my life, how I view theatre and my part in it, completely.  I discovered who I was, which allows me to find myself in each role I encounter.  I learned how to adapt to different styles and variations of theatre, be it with space, movement, voice and speech and dialect/accent work.  Not only did I learn so much from class and my own involvement with Elon's productions, but Elon is privileged enough to bring in major industry guests to hold workshops and master classes. Take every opportunity, but know that the right one won't pass you by."

Alyson McKenzie '12
 

Focused curriculum

Elon’s acting curriculum is a performance-based program designed to prepare students for careers in stage, film or television. You will learn the concepts and techniques of effective movement, vocal control, character development and scene work. You will study the literature and history of the theatre, makeup techniques, script analysis, play direction and theatre design. Along the way, you will receive expert guidance in preparing professional resumes, mastering auditions, making industry contacts and other skills necessary to translate your talent into professional contracts. You will leave Elon a mature, versatile actor experienced in a range of techniques, styles and genres. 

Experienced faculty

Elon’s acting faculty combine years of international professional experience with a passion for teaching. Our faculty are seasoned actors with numerous professional credits, including roles in the New York performance of “Fantasticks,” the international tours of “West Side Story,” “Annie,” “Kiss Me Kate” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” and television, film and commercial credits. They know what it takes to succeed in the industry and are committed to sharing that expertise with you. The mentoring relationships they build with students continue after graduation, and the professional contacts they maintain are invaluable in helping students move from the academic world into the profession.

Prestigious visiting performers conduct seminars, workshops, performances and master classes each year. Recent visiting performers include:

  • Olympia Dukakis, award-winning actress
  • Hal Prince, Broadway Producer/Director
  • Anthony Zerbe, award-winning actor
  • Scott Eck, NYC Improvisation Artist
  • Paul Russell, NYC Casting Director and Author
  • Meg Pantera, NYC talent agent
  • John Basil, renowned Shakespeare Director/Teacher
  • Leonard Petit, Internationally-known Chekhov Acting Teacher
  • The National Theater of the Deaf
  • Montana Repertory Theatre

Individual attention

Elon’s acting program accepts just 16 new students each year so that each one receives the kind of close, personal attention that is essential to growth and development. If you need help, advice or just a little encouragement, the faculty will be there for you. Small class size allows faculty to work one-on-one with you to help you realize your potential. 

"My time at Elon taught me some of life's greatest lessons. It taught me the value of hard work and perseverance. How to take this art form called acting, and make it into something that you can share with the world. I will never forget my time there."

                                                                                       Tristan Bailey '11

Stage time early and often

In an art such as acting, there is no substitute for getting experience on stage. Throughout your academic career, you will have the chance to participate in a variety of productions including comedies, dramas, musicals, student-directed one-act plays, ensembles and workshops. Recent on-campus productions include “You Can’t Take It With You,” “Into the Woods,” “Dancing at Lughnasa,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “The Crucible,” “Macbeth,” “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” “Noises Off,” “She Stoops to Conquer” and “Marisol” and “Sweeney Todd.” 

Outstanding facilities

The acting program, as part of Elon’s Department of Performing Arts, is housed in the Center for the Arts, a 75,000-square-foot facility specifically designed for teaching and performance. The centerpiece stage is McCrary Theatre, a fully equipped performance space that seats 575. The 125-seat Yeager Recital Hall offers a more intimate setting along with digital recording capabilities, and the center’s fully outfitted 100-seat Black Box Theatre can be configured to any arrangement from proscenium to arena.

Behind the scenes, the Center for the Arts includes modular practice rooms and studios, a design studio with smart board technology, modern rehearsal rooms, a complete scenery shop and costume shop, computer labs, classrooms and Steinway concert grand pianos. Three dance/rehearsal studios provide additional space for rehearsal and instruction. In addition, a specially equipped Acting Studio and Cabaret Performance Space is located in downtown Elon.

Auditions, scholarships and organizations

Admission to Elon’s Acting program is by audition. Annual talent-based scholarships are available based on the same audition used for the admission process. Audition dates are set annually in the fall and spring semesters. All offers of admission to the acting program are pending until a student is admitted to the university.

Admission to Elon’s Acting program is by audition. Audition dates are set annually in the fall and spring. View a list of upcoming audition dates.

Acting majors are eligible to participate in Alpha Psi Omega, the national theatre honor society and student production organization, and Technical Difficulties, a student-run Improv group.

Real-world experience

In addition to on-campus production experience, most students in the Performing Arts programs leave Elon with professional credits on their resumes. Through internships, summer theatre work and other opportunities, you will develop significant real-world experience before you graduate. Our students have worked at many exciting venues including:

  • The Guthrie
  • Santa Fe Opera
  • Seaside Music Theatre
  • Heritage Repertory Theatre
  • Florida Studio Theatre
  • The Lost Colony
  • Galveston Summer Theatre
  • Ringling Bros. Circus
  • Big Fork Summer Theatre
  • N.C. Shakespeare Festival
  • Lakes Region Summer Theatre
  • B Street Theatre

Study abroad opportunities

Acting majors, like other students in Performing Arts, are eligible to participate in Elon’s renowned study abroad programs. In recent years, Performing Arts students have completed courses such as classical studies in Greece, semester residencies in London and internships with professional London theatres.

After you graduate

Elon’s job placement rate among performing artists is excellent, and most Acting graduates move straight into performing careers. Recent graduates of our Performing Arts program have appeared in the national and international tours of “Chicago,” “The Sound of Music,” “Cabaret,” “Jekyll and Hyde,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Urinetown,” “Fosse” and “Fame.”

 Other graduates elect to continue their training in graduate school. Elon students have been accepted at prestigious institutions including:

  • Yale School of Drama
  • University of Cincinnati
  • Boston University
  • The Old Globe.

 

Visit the Department of Performing Arts Website.

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