Performing Arts

David Clark P'15 with his daughter Margaret '15.

David Clark P'15 with his daughter Margaret '15.

For Stage

David Clark P’15 offers an inside look on the competitive, creative, and hectic lives of performing arts students.
As with all majors at Emerson, performing arts majors deal with concerns and issues specific to the small group of students in the acting, musical theater, and theater studies majors.


The Cut

Thirty BFA acting students and thirty BFA musical theater students are accepted as freshmen. At the end of sophomore year, each major is cut to sixteen. It is very stressful. However, there are a few things that make it not completely bad for your student. By the end of sophomore year, attrition has already taken care of about half of the cut, as some people transfer, switch their majors, or leave the program for some other reason. The other thing to remember is that your student getting cut does not mean that he or she must leave the school. Your student can still be in the BA theater program which is one of the best in the country. For some people, it is actually better, because since BFA students have acting studio every day, the BA students get first pick of all the other theater courses.

Studying Abroad 

As many performing arts students are in constant competition for one of the sixteen spots in their major, studying abroad is often an experience students are hesitant of. One concern we had about the BFA cut was what effect spending fall semester of sophomore year at the Castle would have on Margaret's chances of retention. BFA acting students can go to the Castle, and it turns out sophomore fall semester is considered the optimum time to do it. The acting teacher there is quite wonderful, and the maturing experience of all that foreign travel is considered a plus.

Taking the Stage

EmStage is the program of theatrical productions that are put on by the performing arts department. Upperclassmen generally are cast in these productions. There is a wide range of different performing opportunities aside from the EmStage shows. At the beginning of each semester, the many student producing groups have auditions for the shows they will mount that semester. Some groups hold their own individual auditions. Others participate in the “Common Auds.” Possibilities range through Greek drama, Shakespeare, musicals, contemporary drama, comedy troupes, children’s theater, acapella singing groups—you name it! My daughter has been in three to four shows per semester and has worked as assistant stage manager/other crew in others. For an idea of what’s happening, visit the performance organizations' website.
For more information contact, or call 617-824-8561.