Do theatre students generally go right into the profession or do most enter into four year college programs?
A handful of our students will go directly into the profession upon graduating from Charter Arts, but most go onto college first. Our graduates have gone on to study in two-year conservatory programs, as well as four-year competitive college programs, to continue their theatre training. Some attend for acting, while others pursue degrees in directing, play writing and technical theatre. Below are some of the universities and programs where theatre majors are enrolled or have recently graduated.
NYU Carnegie Mellon University Sarah Lawrence College Fordham University The School for Film and Television, NYC The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, NYC Ithaca College The University of the Arts, Philadelphia University of Connecticut Marymount Manhattan College University of Minnesota University of Cincinnati Point Park University DeSales University
Do all students get a chance to perform in a main stage production at Charter Arts?
Theatre students perform every day at Charter Arts as part of their actor training. We strongly encourage all students to audition for the main stage productions each year, but we cannot guarantee a spot for every Charter Arts theatre student. The art form is not such that we can simply create roles for every student in the department, so we do our best to provide a fair and professional audition process.
Students are cast dependent upon their talent and the needs of the role. Other factors that may be considered in the casting process are a student’s reputation for being reliable, organized and easy to work with. For students who are not cast in the main stage season we work hard to provide additional opportunities in the department for them to have the experience of being part of a production. We will allow for each student in the department to share their work in the form of showcases, the New Plays Festival and we also support Second Stage, a completely student run theatre company. Second Stage generally produces two shows per year.
My child was not cast in a production and would like feedback. What should I do?
If a student is not cast in a production and wants constructive feedback, that student should schedule a meeting with the director for whom they auditioned. The theatre department cannot respond to calls or questions from parents about casting for confidentiality reasons, since the details of our audition process not only involve their child, but would require information about their student in comparison to others.
Can students major in Design, Technical Theatre or Musical Theatre?
We are not able to offer these majors at this time. Eventually we hope to expand the theatre department to offer a focus in these areas. We provide instruction within our curriculum to expose all theatre majors to aspects of Design and Technical Theatre. All freshmen are trained in basic stagecraft and some go on to independent studies to further develop their skills. In Advanced Voice and Movement, we offer Musical Theatre instruction focusing on Auditioning, Song Interpretation and Preparation, some history and fundamental choreography. Many theatre students are also able to participate in our prestigious Touring Choir (acceptance by audition) in their junior and senior years.
Does Charter Arts participate in the Freddy Awards?
No. Though we fully support the Freddy Awards and encourage our musical theatre performers to see as many of the Freddy productions as possible, we have opted not to participate in the competition. As a performing arts high school, we have countless performances at Charter Arts in each discipline. As such, the artistic directors have felt that it might create negative energy among the student body to place extra emphasis or investment in only one of our productions.
Though we see the importance of the Freddy Awards in encouraging high school performers, we feel that by virtue of our mission, we have already acknowledged the importance of performing arts education. We recently started a chapter of the International Thespian Society here at Charter Arts, so our students will be able to compete for scholarships and gain the experience of working and connecting with other high school aged performers through events sponsored by ITS. Much like the Freddy Awards, ITS celebrates the work of theatre student artists and technicians, offers opportunities to promote our work and recognizes student achievement.
Since our theatre department is extremely passionate about producing new plays and encouraging our students to find their voices as playwrights, we think ITS is a better fit for us. In addition to the various acting competitions, ITS hosts Thespian Playworks, a writing competition and script-development program for high school students sponsored by the Educational Theatre Association. For more information about ITS and the Thespian Festival visit www.schooltheatre.org.