Each incoming BFA class, numbering approximately 14-20 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 at the Rarig Center and off-campus at the Guthrie Theater. Students will take most of their core acting, voice & speech, and movement classes on campus, while spending part of the week in masterclasses at the Guthrie. The masterclasses at the Guthrie include a wide range of teaching artists from all over the world as well as talk backs with artists currently working on the Guthrie stage. The partnership with the Guthrie allows students to have a relationship with one of the most reputable theaters in the world through educational development and engagement with the institution. Recent Guthrie instructors range from talk backs with people like Paula Vogel, Sterling K. Brown, and Mark Rylance, to masterclasses with Guthrie performers and staff, Twin Cities artists, and more!
Along with coursework during the day, students continue their training in the evening working on performance projects that provide the opportunity to apply their training in real time. The projects span from Shakespeare to contemporary plays to heightened-text epics to comedies, all giving students a wide range of experiences and roles to prepare them for the professional world. We use prescriptive casting (no auditioning, the faculty casts the projects from the company) in order to create a plan for each student, giving stretches and opportunities for growth within each individual's journey. Each project is performed with members of your company and often there are shows performed in repertory. Starting in the third year, students are given the opportunity to get academic exemptions to work professionally. These exemptions have to be approved by the faculty and have ranged from working on a professional production to working on films and more. On top of that, every year, the Guthrie offers contracts to third and fourth year students to perform in their productions. Through the relationship with the Guthrie, students are given the opportunity to work in a professional room and on professional stages to prepare them for a future in the industry. Students are also given audition opportunities throughout the year by different companies that come to the school looking for actors for their summer seasons.
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.