Overview of the Major

The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in Acting is the first actor training program of its kind in Colorado, founded in 1978.  Our alumni have performed on regional and Broadway stages, appeared on network television and in feature films, been admitted to prestigious MFA programs, founded their own theatre companies, and created innovative work around the world.  We are Colorado’s original BFA.

The BFA in Acting major offers conservatory-style actor training to a limited number of highly motivated and talented students within a liberal arts education on the CU campus.  Our students’ individual passions are supported by a rigorous sequence of acting, voice, and movement courses across a range of styles, from the classics to the contemporary.  

The course sequence is outlined in the Undergraduate Major Requirement Tracking Sheets.  The sequence ends with a self-devised project, pre-professional preparation, and an opportunity for exposure to industry professionals in New York or LA.  Students may also elect to take courses for camera work, musical theatre, dance, and singing. BFA Acting students are expected to audition for the Theatre program’s season productions in order to consolidate and apply their training.

The Colorado Shakespeare Festival, a professional theatre company in residence at CU Boulder and the second oldest Shakespeare festival in America, hires four Theatre & Dance Department students every summer as acting interns, through the support of the Dorothy & Carl Nelson Shakespeare Acting Intern Endowed Scholarship Fund.  Students are cast in multiple productions alongside professional actors from all over the world. This is an auditioned, paid internship with Equity Membership Candidate points available for all non-Equity actors, and an excellent opportunity to boost a young actor’s professional development.

Progress Through the Major

In order to audition for the BFA in Acting major, students must be enrolled in or have passed Acting 1 (THTR 1003).  Typically, students take Acting 1 and audition for the Acting major during their freshman year, then begin the BFA in their sophomore year.

Students may be admitted to the major after a competitive audition and application.  Admission is based upon talent, academic record, motivation, and demonstration of suitability in the auditions for the major, which are held during the spring semester.  If admitted to the major, continued enrollment is permitted on the basis of an ongoing demonstration of satisfactory progress, as determined by the Acting faculty.  

Follow the instructions below to reserve your audition slot and start your application.  If you have questions, please contact the head of the BFA Acting major or the department academic advisor.

6 individuals wearing various costumes emoting

Applying to the Major

The next annual auditions for the BFA Acting major will be held on Saturday, March 14, 2020 in the University Theatre of the CU Theatre Building.

10:00 to 11:00 am – Mandatory ensemble workshop audition for all applicants

  • Wear clothes that you can move freely in.
  • ​No prepared material is required.

11:00 am to 2:00 pm – Individual auditions and interviews

  • Prepare two contrasting monologues, less than three minutes combined.
  • ​You will then be interviewed by the faculty.

To apply, please complete the following three steps before Friday, March 13, 2020.

  1. Sign up online for an audition and interview appointment.
    • Please sign up in the earliest slot available.  Otherwise, the empty appointment before yours will be skipped, and you might miss your audition.
    • You must also attend the ensemble workshop audition on Saturday, March 14, at 10:00 am, but you do not need to sign up for this workshop.
  2. Submit the online application preferably by Friday, March 6, 2020.  This is because the student portion must be completed first, so that your referee can then complete the reference portion before the auditions.  Required materials include your:
    • acting instructor’s name and email address, so that they can provide your reference.  You must confirm this with them in advance.
    • cumulative GPA, found on myCUinfo (students must maintain at least a 1.7 or C-).
    • statement of intention (250 words maximum) describing a significant moment in your life that led you to pursue acting, and your goals for your acting training.
    • resume of acting training and experience, no longer than one page.
    • headshot (full-page photograph of your face), no larger than 1 MB (Try PicResize.com > Quick Resize > Max Filesize: 1000 Kilobytes).
  3. You must have passed or be enrolled in Acting 1 (THTR 1003).  Transfer students who have taken this course at their prior institution should consult the head of the Acting major.

Peer student coaching for the auditions is available.  For information, e-mail coloradobfa@gmail.com.

Acting FAQs

No. Anyone who is enrolled at CU or on the faculty or staff of the university may audition. We certainly look closely at our majors and yes, they do get cast more than non-majors, but mostly because we work with them day in and day out, and are more familiar with their capabilities. Quite frequently non-majors are cast in departmental productions.

We will cast the right person for the right role. All BFA students are expected to audition for the season, but that does not guarantee casting. All students must earn the right to be in a show.

Yes. Any student is eligible to enroll in Acting 1 (THTR 1003). With certain prerequisites, non-majors may also take Acting 2 (THTR 3053) and other courses. However, the BFA Acting courses (Studios 1-5) are open only to BFA Acting majors.

Regardless of your major at CU, we support your enthusiasm for the performing arts, and encourage you to pursue performance training and opportunities on campus.  For example...

We offer a wide range of productions. We train our students in genres from classical Greek to Shakespeare to contemporary and everything in between. Check out our current season and past seasons.

We average one or two musicals every other year in the Theatre & Dance Department. If you like to sing, you should also audition for productions presented by the College of Music, as well as the numerous choirs that are on campus.

We have around 200 theatre majors. Theatre is family here. If you wish to participate in theatre production, we need you and want you. The key to happiness in our program is to get involved. Come see us. We will put you to work.

We do not offer an MFA degree in Acting.  Our graduate theatre students are pursuing MA and PhD degrees.  You may have the opportunity to work alongside our graduate students, just as you would work alongside a variety of colleagues in the real world.  A graduate student may direct, design, or audition for a show, but most of our graduate students don’t often compete with undergraduates for acting opportunities.