Undergraduate admission to the Department of Theatre requires that students are both academically eligible (based on grades, test scores, class ranking, and other criteria) and talented. This talent is determined through an audition (for actors) or a portfolio review (for designers, stage managers, or those applying for Theatre Studies). All students will also be interviewed individually. The Department of Theatre admits a class of approximately 40 students each year. Graduates earn a BFA in theatre.
Application Process for Undergraduate Studies in Theatre
Apply as early as possible to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The freshman application deadline is Dec. 1st, 2015. Transfer applications should be made by March 1, 2016. You must apply online through the University of Illinois Office of Admissions website.
For additional information, you may contact the Office of Admissions at 217-333-0302.
Freshman applicants should select the “Theatre Foundations-FAA” curriculum (Code: KR4080N).
You should select the date you would like to audition or have a portfolio review.
Several Audition/Portfolio Review Days are held at the university, in Chicago, or elsewhere in the Midwest. Current audition dates include:
- Oct. 17th- Illinois Theatre Open House: On this date we invite you to a special on-campus audition/portfolio review/interview. Afterwards, join us for a casual dinner with current students and then attend the Department of Theatre’s production of1984.
- November 7th- UIUC Campus
- December 5th- UIUC Campus
- January 8th- Illinois High School Theatre Fest
- January 30th- UIUC Campus
- February 8th-10th: Chicago Unified Auditions
- February 20th- UIUC Campus
To schedule an audition/interview/portfolio review, please complete a brief online form.
Priority will be given to those applicants who are academically eligible and who interview and audition early. We encourage students to sign up for interview and portfolio review slots early in the application process so that they can receive notice about their admission status as soon as possible.
After the Department of Theatre faculty members review your audition and/or interview and the status of your application to the university, we will notify the Office of Admissions and Records (OAR) of our recommendation.
OAR will post admission decisions on its website.
If you are admitted, contact the Department of Theatre to reserve your place in the entering BFA class.
If you do not contact the department by May 1, 2016 you will not be guaranteed a place. If special circumstances prevent you from following this process, you should contact the department.
Auditions for the Professional Acting Program
You will present two contrasting monologues that best represent your experience and abilities as an actor. Each monologue should be two minutes or less. The monologues should be selected from different plays and each should be a speech of one character only, not several different characters speaking to each other. If you wish to sing, you may also present a song no more than one minute in length. For this song you should bring a recorded accompaniment and the means to play it.
Choose monologues from characters similar to your own age and experience. Contemporary characters without dialects are best. If you feel comfortable presenting material from Shakespeare or another classical playwright, you are welcome to do so, but one selection should be from a contemporary text.
Please bring a photograph of yourself and a resume with a list of your theatre experiences, educational background, and other appropriate interests, such as hobbies, special skills, and employment history. A simple listing with this information and your name and address will be sufficient.
Applicants who cannot be present for a live audition for the Department of Theatre may submit a recorded audition. If you are able to attend, a live audition is strongly encouraged. Please read our requirements for video submission carefully and submit your recorded audition online.
Portfolio Review and Interview for LEVEL21 (Design, Technology, and Management)
If design, technology, or stage management is your primary interest, please bring a portfolio showing examples of the work you have done. When you come to the interview, you do not need to have made a decision about which specific design or technology area is your primary interest. This portfolio can show your range of interests.
If you are interested in design, the portfolio might include sketches, drawings, or drafting; photos of costumes, scenery, or properties you have built or helped to prepare; publicity material; or art projects or photography from your art classes.
Those more interested in technology can include any of the previously mentioned material they have available. Other related information such as forms, schedules, or drawings made on a computer are also helpful.
Stage managers might present prompt scripts or other material related to their work.
The faculty recognizes that many students have not been able to document extensively their experience and encourages students with a strong interest in these areas to come to the interview with the material they have available. Passion, commitment, intelligence, and imagination can be as important as extensive experience.
The portfolio should include a resume listing your theatrical experience and educational background. Special skills, hobbies, employment history, awards, and other relevant information can also be included.
Portfolio/Interview for the Theatre Studies Program
For Theatre Studies Program applicants, an interview is required, at which time you should bring a writing portfolio that includes (1) a resume of your theatre experience and (2) a short essay on theatre or another short, written creative work. The interview will focus on your commitment to exploring a variety of subjects within theatre and, if you have a specific area of interest, a discussion of your experience and potential in that area. Students interviewing for the Theatre Studies Program are expected to have strong academic records and a desire to study and participate in the total theatre experience.
Students at other colleges and universities wishing to transfer to the University of Illinois Department of Theatre should follow the application process listed above. Transfer applicants must have a pre-transfer grade point average in transferable courses of 2.25 (A = 4.0) and must also be selected on the basis of their exhibited in the audition/portfolio review. Students already enrolled in other departments on the Urbana-Champaign campus should contact the Department of Theatre directly to schedule an appointment at one of the audition/portfolio review sessions.
Because of the intensive nature of the BFA theatre degree at Illinois, students desiring to transfer should be aware that completing the sequential theatre curriculum at Illinois may extend their total college careers by at least one year. Although many credits may be transferable, many theatre credits from other institutions do not fulfill the specific BFA requirements in the Department of Theatre at the University of Illinois.
Information on tuition costs for the College of Fine and Applied Arts is available from the Registrar’s Office.
Get information regarding financial aid and scholarships from the Office of Student Financial Aid.