Northern Michigan University Theatre and Dance is offering a new bachelor of fine arts (BFA) degree in acting, beginning in fall 2022. The acting major offers students traditional and specialized training, including acting for film, Shakespeare and commercials, as well as voice acting and pantomime.
Co-Director of Theatre and Dance Bill Digneit said that the addition of the acting BFA and other specialized programs is a result of student feedback, along with his and his colleagues' experiences at conventions and in high school settings. He noted that it is also based on “seeing where the industry is heading.”
“We are focused on cultivating academic programs for students to find their artistic voice at NMU, so they can leave here with tons of career options,” said Digneit. “Some students enter our program not knowing exactly what they want, and if we don't have options that meet their needs, they leave. We have also found that there are students coming from amazing high school programs who are seeking specialized training, which our acting degree will offer. We want to meet the educational goals and needs of these students.”
Digneit said that he expects 8-12 students to join the cohort each year, with a goal of building the cohort to 40-60 individuals seeking the BFA in acting.
“Our goal is to offer students in the program more experiences in advanced acting,” said Digneit. “They'll get to dive deeply into the art of acting.”
In addition to the new program, NMU offers BFAs in musical theatre and theatre technology and design. The department also offers bachelor of arts degrees or academic minors in two areas: dance; and theatre and entertainment arts.
NMU Theatre and Dance's 2021-22 season is in full swing, with a lineup of plays, dance and musical performances scheduled. Learn more about its academic programs and this season's offerings at https://nmu.edu/theatreanddance/.
Digneit said that students not seeking a major or minor in theatre or dance are allowed to participate in their productions and programming as well.
“We believe the arts are for everyone,” said Digneit. “Someone's extracurricular is an awesome part of their Northern experience. Sometimes people take a class, such as acting. Those skills translate to so many career types, from law to business and more. Our courses can apply to many different disciplines and help students find success later in life.”