The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for actors will grow more slowly than other fields, and opportunities in theatre will be especially limited. North Carolina college and university theatre arts departments are concerned with how their graduates will fare in the professional world, so programs cover both artistic and practical aspects. For example, at both the UNC School of the Arts and UNC Greensboro, fourth-year acting students audition in New York City for producers and agents.

University of North Carolina System

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem offers two Bachelor of Fine Arts programs in theatre. In professional actor training, students learn about stage, musical, television and film work. The directing program is extremely small, with only two or three freshmen admitted each year. The Chapel Hill campus offers a Bachelor of Arts. in Dramatic Art as well as minor programs in areas such as Theatrical Design and Writing for the Stage and Screen. Several B.F.A. degrees are available at Greensboro, including design and theatre technology, technical production and theatre education. Students interested in acting can enroll in a B. A. program in drama and then may audition to switch to the B.F.A. acting program.

Northern Spot

At North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, B.F.A. programs are available in acting and technology. Acting students study a variety of skills and techniques, including acting styles, singing, acting for the camera, voice and movement. They're also exposed to other aspects of theatre arts like directing, makeup, children’s theatre and management. The B.F.A. in technology program covers costume design, technical direction and lighting and sound design. The small department offers individualized training and opportunities to work on the school’s theatrical productions.

Farther East

Located in Rocky Mount, North Carolina Wesleyan College offers a Bachelor of Arts in Entertainment/Theatre. Students are required to take classes in production, history and literature and participate in productions. Students may use research electives to follow their specific areas of interest. To minor in the field, six classes are required, such as Applied Production, Production Methods and Contemporary Plays.

In the Middle

Salisbury’s Catawba College offers both B.A. and B.F.A. degrees in theatre arts and musical theatre. Students must audition to enter the B.F.A. programs. All students take classes in movement, acting, literature, design and stagecraft. While B.A. theatre arts students study history, technology, performance and theatre leadership, those on the B.F.A. track specialize in performance or design and production. All musical theatre students focus on piano and voice classes, but the B.F.A. program includes ballet, tap, jazz and modern dance. Degrees are also offered in theatre arts administration and theatre arts education. Theatre arts and musical theatre minors are also available.

The Southern Border

Belmont Abbey College has a 15-credit-hour minor in theatre. Students may focus on performance and take classes in theatre history, acting and directing. Another option is a technical track, covering light, sound and set design training. All students work collaboratively to put on a production during their senior year.

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About the Author

Living in upstate New York, Susan Sherwood is a researcher who has been writing within educational settings for more than 10 years. She has co-authored papers for Horizons Research, Inc. and the Capital Region Science Education Partnership. Sherwood has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University at Albany.