Majors & Programs

Theatre & Performance (BFA)

Combine the rigor of sequential studio courses with the flexibility to explore a world of dramatic possibilities.

About the Undergraduate Theatre and Performance Major

Theater professionals have a wide range of skills: some train to be onstage while others train to be off. And then there are those who enjoy being on either side of the curtain. Emerson College’s undergraduate Theatre and Performance BFA program provides you with the option to combine your studies to match your career goals.

Housed in the Department of Performing Arts in the School of the Arts, the program begins with two years of study in our Actor Training Core—a combination professional boot camp and artistic proving ground. After that, you can choose from a number of options based on your aspirations and your faculty mentor’s guidance. You might immerse yourself in playwriting or spend a semester at our Los Angeles campus. All the while, you continue to study acting from all angles during your junior and senior years by taking specialized classes in voice-over acting, dialects, and stage combat. 

As a Theatre and Performance major, you are also eligible to audition for the Acting BFA at the end of your sophomore year. If accepted, you would concentrate with singular focus on the BFA Acting Studio: 14 hours a week of intense performance training for your last two years. 

In this program, you will have the freedom to take risks, challenge yourself and those around you, and build the mental muscles of a theatrical artist. 

I love that I'm able to explore all aspects of theater in this major; because of this flexibility, I've been able to take a playwriting class, theater history classes, and acting technique classes, all while being able to have a minor as well. The Theatre and Performance major has introduced me to so many exciting passions that I wouldn't have discovered otherwise!

Real-World Experience as a Performing Artist

Theatre and Performance majors have ample opportunity to gain real-world learning experience. Here are a few examples:

  • Emerson Stage is the producing organization within the Department of Performing Arts. Its nine-show season offers more than 120 opportunities for actors, 100 positions for design staff, 70 for production staff, and another 70 for theater management staff and 30 artistic staff—all reserved exclusively for Performing Arts students.
  • Students have the opportunity to hone their skills for the camera by acting in student films produced on real working sets on campus and on location through our Visual and Media Arts (VMA) Department. 
  • Beyond campus, students can intern at local theater and casting companies, such as SpeakEasy Stage Company, Lyric Stage Company, Chelsea Theatre Works, The Huntington Theatre, and CP Casting. 
  • Students can study the craft of acting in the hub of the entertainment industry while spending a semester at Emerson Los Angeles. They also intern at a site related to their field, such as a casting or talent agency.

Careers for Theatre and Performance Majors

Our Theatre and Performance graduates obtain employment in the theater industry as well as associated fields. Examples of careers include:

  • Actor
  • Artistic Director
  • Playwright
  • Talent Manager

Notable Performing Arts Alumni

  • Chloe Kerwin, Actor, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (television series); Asleep in My Palm (feature film) 
  • Erin Ramirez, Actor, Six, Les Misérables (touring)
  • Emily Skeggs, Actor, Fun Home (Broadway and Off-Broadway); When We Rise (television miniseries)
  • Jon Wyand, Entertainment Manager, Walt Disney World

Meet Our Faculty

Performing Arts faculty are working professionals and dedicated educators who teach the theory and practice of bringing characters to life on stage and screen. They reside in the School of the Arts.