Each incoming BFA class, numbering approximately 20 students, moves as a group through the four years of training, forming a company, with a strong emphasis on the idea of ensemble. In addition to learning from the BFA core faculty, students benefit from instruction by visiting teachers, directors, and other artists.

The majority of classroom work takes place on-campus and off-campus at the Guthrie Theater. The Four Year Plan shows what a BFA student can expect during their four years in the program. BFA students will also spend the fall semester of their junior year abroad in London. Experiences have included intensive work with the Globe Theatre, London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA), and with many highly qualified London based professional artists.

BFA students have opportunities to perform in classroom projects each year on the stages on campus and at the Guthrie. Students may also choose to audition for several summer performance opportunities, including the University of Minnesota Showboat Players, a summer stock theatre company performing each year on the Minnesota Centennial Showboat.

Movement Elective Requirement

The intensity of the BFA program requires movement skills to be reinforced on an ongoing basis.  Each dance/movement technique has different qualities to offer to your body. The movement elective exists to provide "practice time" for your physical instrument in expressive and artistic ways so as to integrate it into any acting challenges and work you may be facing. Movement electives can help you refine your grace, core strength, timing, sense of rhythm, flow, sharp kinetic keenness, sense of focus, freedom, or your energized presence on stage.

There are several avenues for fulfilling this requirement:


University classes:

  • Dance classes (Excludes bodywork or theory classes)
  • Physical theater or circus classes
  • Martial arts, fencing, or tumbling classes

University sports classes

You must articulate how this activity will benefit your artistic growth.

  • Classes outside the University
    This gives you an opportunity to pick an instructor or class that suits a specific need.
  • University recreation center classes
  • Teacher assistant opportunities
    A directed study form must be complete before the semester class drop/add date.

Free Play Activity

Free play is an opportunity for seniors to pursue a creative endeavor of their choice in order to foster an experience of personal growth and discovery.

Every senior must engage in a free play activity, as one of the cornerstone’s of an artistic life is the ability to self-generate creative experiences. Pursuing a project/activity of personal interest outside the BFA program is the first step in building a bridge that will lead you to the empowering and continuous exploration of the world around you. Students are fiscally responsible for any and all costs associated with their projects. Every student is asked to submit a free play proposal which states their goals, why they are interested in the project, and what they hope to learn. Students are asked to keep documents of the process that will be submitted at the end of their free play.

We encourage you to think of each project as an opportunity to enhance your individual artistic journey. The important part of the free play journey is the process of discovery not the final product. At the end of the free play time senior students will be assessed by their mentor and the program committee based on their documents of process and final reflection and analysis paper.