Theatre Major, B.F.A.
Bachelor of Fine Arts
You probably remember seeing your first play: the darkened theatre, the stage shining like a jewel box, the actors breathing life into characters and plot.
If you are that person, the one who can’t imagine their life without Theatre, then consider MSU Denver’s bachelor of fine arts in Theatre program.
MSU Denver’s B.F.A. in Theatre degree is an intensive pre-professional program that offers two concentrations: Music Theatre and Applied Theatre Technology and Design. Music Theatre provides rich opportunities for performing; Applied Theatre Technology and Design provides hands-on technical theatre experience. These experiences are provided both in class and onstage as well as through on-campus productions
, internships at local theatres and with the University’s own professional Kaiser Permanente Touring Company, which delivers health-oriented performances in local schools.
Taught by veteran teachers who are also theatre and design professionals, you will receive the kind of mentoring you need to make your way as an actor, theatre technician or designer, as well as discover ways to use your Theatre training in other fields.
The philosophy underpinning the bachelor of fine arts degree in Theatre is that “Theatre is Equipment for Living.” The program is designed to prepare you for further graduate study or for careers as actors, directors, singers, costume technicians and designers, lighting technicians and designers, makeup artists, audio technicians, scenic construction and designers, scriptwriters, theatre critics, stage managers and more. Many also leverage their Theatre degrees in other fields including communications, marketing, business and nonprofit administration.
MSU Denver offers both bachelor of arts and bachelor of fine arts in Theatre degrees. Choose the bachelor of arts degree if you want a well-rounded degree program that also offers strong theatrical training. Opt for one of the bachelor of fine arts in Theatre degree programs if you want extensive artistic and pre-professional preparation. (Please note that the B.F.A. degree tracks require special applications.)
MSU Denver’s Theatre Department offers the following programs:
Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver
These are some of the opportunities you might have as an MSU Denver bachelor of fine arts in Theatre student:
Perform or work in technical theatre areas on campus. Complete an internship with a local theatre company. Work on sets, lights, costumes, sound, props, and video crews in Denver productions. MSU Denver’s B.F.A. in Theatre degree program will help you develop artistically and professionally in class and beyond through the following:
- Four major MSU Denver productions a year, including two musicals mounted in collaboration with the MSU Denver Music Department. All MSU Denver students are welcome to audition
- Local, regional and national conferences for theatre and performing arts students
- Kaiser Permanente Touring Theatre Company
- Senior Experience consisting of a Readers Theatre performance or completion of the class Theatre Career Development II
- Musical Review Showcase for Music Theatre students
- 15 Student-directed One Acts each semester with auditions open to both students and community members
- Required internship at places such as the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Creede Repertory Theatre and Curious Theatre Company
- Student organizations such as the Theatre Tech Club, the Stage Combat Club, Rowdy Town—MSU Denver’s improvisational theatre group or the Alpha Gamma Beta chapter of the Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society
Career Opportunities for Our Graduates
Theatre students go on to entertainment-related careers such as film and screen actors, stage actors, directors, lighting designers, sound engineers, arts administrators, teachers, stage managers, arts administrators, costume designers and more. Theatre degree skills also translate to other careers, too. Some MSU Denver graduates have gone on to work in information technology, hospitality management and education.
Hear from our students:
“We have professors who are working professionals in our community and give us great insight into what the theatre industry is looking for. We can experience great live theatre literally across the street from us at very affordable prices. All these tools are great for networking, and they also stimulate the mind, educate and inspire.”
— Gustavo Marquez, MSU Denver '16, is an actor who works at various Denver area theatres.
- Theatre Department Chair Marilyn Hetzel received a Kennedy Center Meritorious Achievement Award in 2016.
- Associate Professor Scott Lubinski earned the Alliance for Colorado Theatre’s Higher Education Theatre Educator of the Year award in 2012.
- MSU Denver Theatre faculty and alumni have received Marlowe, Henry, Denver Post Ovation and Broadway World awards.
Marilyn “Cookie” A. Hetzel
Professor Jacob Welch teaches lighting and is an award-winning freelance lighting designer who works nationwide.
Associate Professor Laura Love teaches technical theatre courses has designed scenery and costumes for more than 90 productions throughout Colorado and Utah. She is an active member of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology and is the costume and scenery advisor for B.F.A. Tech majors and Theatre minors.
Assistant Professor Jeffrey Parker is an experienced actor and director who specializes in Fitzmaurice Voicework, Knight-Thompson Speechwork, dialects, improvisation, musical theatre and acting. He earned an MSU Denver Teaching Excellence Award in 2017.
Kalond Irlanda, MSU Denver ’14, is a producer at St. Luke’s Performing Arts Academy in Denver, an organization that seeks to provide character-building experiences for K-12 students through the performing arts.
Kristen O’Connor, MSU Denver ’12, is an assistant stage manager at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
Sonny Wasinger, MSU Denver ’81, is the director of performing arts for the Veterans Arts Council Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1.
Alumni at Work
MSU Denver Theatre alumni have gone to work for these companies and organizations:
- Colorado Shakespeare Festival
- Denver Children’s Museum
- Blue Man Group
- Radio City Music Hall
- Kaiser Permanente
- 2014 Winter Olympic Games
- “How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular”
- Cirque du Soleil
- Denver Center for the Performing Arts
- Aurora Fox Arts Center
- Town Hall Arts Center (Littleton)
- Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
MSU Denver Theatre alumni have also pursued advanced degrees at these schools:
- University of Washington
- Ohio University
- University of Exeter
- King’s College London
Here are some classes you might take as a B.F.A. in Theatre with a Music Theatre concentration:
Here are some classes you might take if you choose a B.F.A. in Applied Theatre Technology and Design concentration:
All Theatre degrees require the same core classes.
Facilities and Resources
As a Theatre major you will perform and work in the King Center performing arts complex, one of the country’s most adaptive and accessible performance venues.
Plus you will have easy access to Denver’s performing arts community. The MSU Denver campus is located just walking distance from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Complex, which houses the Buell Theatre, Ellie Caulkins Opera House, the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex and Boettcher Concert Hall.
The Department of Theatre at MSU Denver is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre, the national accrediting agency for theatre and theatre-related disciplines. Only two universities in Colorado have this distinction.