June 16, 2020
Male student acting on stage

Catholic University announces a new B.F.A. in Acting for Theatre, Film, and Television. The degree program was designed with the understanding that actors, to make their living, need to be prepared to work across multiple media. Graduating actors will be comfortable acting in all settings and have the skills to start working immediately upon graduation.

“The Department of Drama is dedicated to fostering excellence in theatre arts within a liberal arts curriculum,” says department chair Eleanor Holdridge. “The B.F.A for Theatre, Film, and Television provides the specificity and studio experience of conservatory training, enriched with the broad knowledge gleaned from a celebrated liberal arts program.”

Each semester, B.F.A. candidates will take progressive classes in acting, movement, and voice, while experiencing the richness of the humanities. “The program will provide prospective actors with a deep understanding of their art and train the future working artists and theatre visionaries of America,” Holdridge says.

“The B.F.A. in Acting for Theatre, Film, and Television has grown out of a decades-long tradition of exceptional training in drama at Catholic University, started in 1937 by Rev. Gilbert V. Hartke,” says Jacqueline J. Leary-Warsaw, dean of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art. “This new degree is designed to grow each individual student in a way that prepares them to impact others through unforgettable, dramatic, life-changing performances. The Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art is thrilled to offer this degree. If Father Hartke were with us today, we believe he would be just as proud of this development as we are.”

“The acting program at The Catholic University of America operates under the belief that  growth as an actor and growth as a human being are one and the same,” she says. “The faculty foster an environment where actors learn to respect their own ideas and ideals, search for truth, make strong choices, and think for themselves. Working within the mission of The Catholic University of America, drama faculty cultivate processes that enable the student actor to find insight in others and inspiration from themselves.”

By studying at Catholic University, located in Washington, D.C., students will have the opportunity to intern at area theatres and studios, experience the region’s dynamic theatre scene, and be mentored by faculty who have worked in the profession as well as professionals from the area and the University’s prestigious alumni (such as John Carroll Lynch) and friends (including Gary Sinise). 

With an emphasis on film and television, this new B.F.A program is unique for the Washington, D.C. area. With its many opportunities for actors in television, film, and theatre in D.C., the Catholic University Drama Department believes it is time for this program to be available in the nation’s capital. 

Prospective students must apply for acceptance into the University, as well as audition for the program. Auditions can be scheduled before, after, or concurrently with the application to the University. An application does not necessarily need to be submitted before auditioning, except in the case of Early Admission, but it is highly encouraged. 

Auditions are held to assess the seriousness of the purpose of the applicants and ensure that the specificity and commitment of the B.F.A. degree is right for them. Actors must display joy in the craft, collaborative energy, preparedness, and an eagerness to learn. The successful applicant will engage in an intensive four-year collaborative relationship with the professors of the department.  

For this degree program, a one- to two-page Statement of Purpose from the applicants is also required. 

The culmination of study in this B.F.A. degree will be a Theatrical Industry showcase that presents student work to major theatre, film, and television casting directors and a short film produced with Media Studies and Art Department students, which can become part of an industry reel. These projects will celebrate the students’ work, instill a sense of confidence about who they have become, and provide a bridge to the professional world of which they will take part.

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