Theater College and Career Resources
In a craft that involves creating a believable world within a world, professionals of various sorts are needed—actors who are able to take on personas with veritas, directors with imagination enough to re-envision historic material, lighting, sound, set, costume and prop designers who create the temporal space. People who can use both traditional and new technologies are in demand.
The fully immersed theater student understands something about all aspects of staging, from acting and directing to playwriting, dramaturge, set design, blocking, lighting, sound, and, increasingly, the use of digitally enhanced and novel set construction effects.
There are 126 accredited programs in theater in the state, granting degrees ranging from Associates to PhDs and in subjects as diverse as theater production and the influence of international culture on the art form.
Bridge to College tip: Many film designers in lighting, sound, set, makeup, costume, and prop get their start in theater.
12 Questions to Consider as you select a program in Theater:
- How many theatre majors attend the program? How many technical theater students vs. performing students?
- What is the teacher-to-student ratio?
- Are you more comfortable with an intimate cadre of 20 students you follow through a 4-year program or does the intensity of a large scale program with hundreds of students appeal to you?
- Does the school offer an array of courses- in screenwriting, stagecraft, direction, and dramaturge, for example- or are they focused on acting? Are you comfortable with public critiques of your work?
- Do the instructors follow a certain acting method (i.e. Staniskovski or Alexander), a certain design style (i.e. conceptual versus realistic) or favor a particular genre of playwriting? If so, are you comfortable with that emphasis?
- What are the career-building opportunities (internships, mentorships, senior showcases, etc.) offered?
- Does the school have strong relationships with regional theatrical companies for both performing and technical opportunities?
- What is the reputation, taring and background of the faculty?
- What skill set is the school looking for? What do they seek in an audition, portfolio, or technical experience?
- What do administrators and instructors feel distinguishes their school from competitors?
- What are the performance and design opportunities and when do they arise- are Freshman allowed to audition/design or do you need to wait until you are an upper classman or MFA student?
- How important is the dance and music aspect of theater to you?
Degrees and Majors: Theater
AA Degree at the Community College level
BA or BFA
BFA or BA? See this PDF from the National Association for College Admission Counseling
Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2014 National Association for College Admission Counseling
See BigFuture's page on Theatre Design and Stagecraft.
Wayfarer’s article by Tom Vander Well, 10 Ways Being a Theater major Prepared Me for Success. Reprinted by permission, all rights reserved copyright, 2012.
Highlights of college level training in California
Searching for the Right College Fit: Do they have my major?
Based on the seven disciplines offered at CSSSA, here is a pocket guide to see at-a-glance what arts majors are offered at four-year state colleges / universities:
The California State University system
The University of California system
In addition, here is a pocket guide to the California Community Colleges also based on the seven CSSSA disciplines: Click Here
Colleges that participate in Bridge to College or the CSSSA College Fair:
Independent Colleges – In California
Independent Colleges – Outside of California
In addition, here is a pocket guide to the California Community Colleges also based on the seven CSSSA disciplines:Click Here.
Bridge to College tip: There are separate BFA programs for those interested in musical theatre and those interested in dramatic performance.
Educational Institutions: If you would like to see your college or university listed here, please contact the CSSSA Foundation.
Listing here does not constitute an endorsement, but is intended for educational purposes only. Please see our disclaimer at the bottom of this page.
Career information (and job boards)
See the Theater Major Career Guide with many job descriptions, career information, and job search links from Winthrop University
If you are in the Los Angeles area, you will find both technical job listings and audition listings on this Yahoo email group: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/laculturenet/info
Do a Job search for Technical Theater at http://www.indeed.com/q-Technical-Theatre-jobs.html or at
Offstage Jobs http://offstagejobs.com/jobsearch.php
American Theatre Magazine http://www.tcg.org/publications/at/issue/index.cfm?indexID=15
- Audition by Michael Shurtleff
- Improvisation for the Theater by Viola Spolin
- Actions: The Actor's' Thesaurus by Marina Calderone
- Illustrated Theater Production Guide, John Ramsey Holloway
- Theatrical Design and Production: An Introduction to Scene Design and Construction, Lighting, Sound, Costume, by J. Michael Gillette
- Careers in Technical Theater by Mike Lawer
DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to endorse, guarantee, warrant, or recommend any particular program or course of study. Parents and students are encouraged to consult their school’s guidance counselor or other educational professionals before making any decision about investment in higher education. CSSSA Foundation 2013