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Theatre, BA

Overview

If all the world's a stage, it's time to hit your mark!

We invite you to join the vibrant theatre community at DeSales. When you do, you also begin studying with one of the most well-known programs of its kind on the east coast. And because of our close proximity to New York and Philadelphia, we regularly invite impressive professional artists to campus and take students to New York to see Broadway theatre.

As a theatre major, you'll learn from our outstanding faculty in the University's state-of-the-art facilities. Better still, you will have the opportunity to explore one or more areas in greater depth to get a better perspective on your career pursuits after graduation.

Theatre major tracks include:

  • Acting for the Stage and Screen
  • Design and Technical Theatre
  • Musical Theatre Performance
  • Secondary Education - Theatre/English

Unique to DeSales is the chance to work with seasoned professionals from the University-hosted Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

Program highlights feature:

  • Rigorous studio training
  • A professional faculty of scholar/artists
  • Beautiful, state-of-the-art facilities
  • Critically acclaimed productions attended by 25,000 patrons annually
  • Scores of studio productions
  • Multiple musical theatre performance opportunities
  • Study abroad opportunities at the same cost as a term at DeSales
  • A long list of successful alumni
  • Senior showcase presented each spring at a New York theatre before an audience of leading industry professionals, agents, managers, and casting directors

Admissions Requirements

At DeSales, we not only look at your past academic and artistic achievement, but also your potential for future growth to determine your admission.

As a performing arts candidate you must apply and be accepted both academically to DeSales University and artistically to the major.

Academic Acceptance
We encourage you to apply early in your senior year. We use a rolling admissions system, which means you will be notified promptly about your admissions status—usually within four weeks of our receipt of your completed application.

Priority deadline for scholarship consideration is December 1 of your senior year.

We find that students who have demonstrated significant achievement within a demanding curriculum are best suited for academic life at DeSales. Quality of academic performance plays a critical role in the admissions decision making process. This helps indicate a student's potential for academic growth going forward. DeSales University welcomes applications from all qualified students regardless of race, religion, sex, national, or ethnic origin.

Apply Academically 

Artistic Acceptance
To be accepted artistically into a performing arts major, you must audition/interview for our faculty during our annual Scholarship Audition/Interview Day(s) hosted on the DeSales campus.

Apply Artistically 

Application Checklist

  • Application Fee: None
  • Transcripts: Official High School Transcript
  • Recommendations: Completed Guidance Counselor Form and Teacher Recommendation Form
  • Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT scores—official from the College Board or on your official high school transcript.

All materials can be mailed to:
DeSales University Admissions Office
2755 Station Ave.
Center Valley, PA 

Auditions / Scholarship Day

To be accepted artistically into a performing arts major, you must audition/interview for our faculty during our annual Scholarship Audition/Interview Day(s) hosted on the DeSales campus.

Additional recommendations

Remember, there is no single preferred high school academic program, but a college preparatory course of study is highly recommended. Here's an example:

  • Four years of English
  • Three or four years of college preparatory mathematics
  • A minimum of two years of modern, foreign, or classical language
  • At least two laboratory science courses
Learn more about Undergraduate Admissions & Aid

Curriculum

The B.A. in Theatre at DeSales provides students with varied opportunities to grow as artists, as scholars, and as maturing human beings.

Tracks of Study

Acting for the Stage and Screen

Receive thorough and broad-based training from highly skilled, working-professional teachers through a broad variety of performance courses, including: all levels of acting; movement and combat; voice and speech; acting styles; acting for the camera; and acting Shakespeare.

Master classes with Broadway, film, and television guest artists supplement the training curriculum. Performance opportunities each year include six main-stage and second-stage productions, and more than seventy-five studio and film projects.

Design and Technical Theatre

Receive the benefits of focused, individual attention from our full-time design and technology faculty and staff members. You'll participate in a sophisticated and demanding production system that provides multiple leadership opportunities to develop proficiency in all technical areas, with the option to concentrate in a particular area of interest including scene design, costume design, lighting and sound design, and stage management.

Learn more about this specialized track of design and technical theatre

Musical Theatre Performance

Establish and strengthen professional-level discipline and performance skills through musical theatre performance courses, dance training including jazz, tap, and ballet, and private vocal instruction as well as music theory. You'll also study the fundamentals of acting and directing, receive training for the speaking voice, and have the opportunity to enroll in acting for the camera, acting styles, and Shakespeare courses.

Secondary Education - Theatre/English

Establish and strengthen your professional-level teaching, discipline, and performance skills in the field of theatre education. The DeSales Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP) program prepares you to become a certified teacher in Pennsylvania's secondary schools as you pursue your theatre degree.

DeSales Theatre students seeking Secondary Education certification in grades 7-12 are eligible to apply for the Theatre Endorsement. An endorsement is a credential in an area where formal certification does not exist in Pennsylvania and is intended to show a student's specialized training and skill in the endorsed area. DeSales is one of five Universities in the state that has been approved by PDE to offer the Theatre endorsement, which consists of four Theatre courses.

Facilities

As a DeSales Performing Arts major, you'll study your craft in some of the best facilities in the region.  

The Labuda Center 

is an award-winning, state-of-the-art venue that is home to:

  • Main Stage (473 seat proscenium/ thrust theatre)
  • Schubert Stage (187 seat black box theatre)
  • Studio Theatre (100 seat lab theatre)
  • Labuda dance studio
  • Costume and Scene Shops

The Iacocca Studio at the Labuda Center is a professional, high definition (HD) facility outfitted for multi-camera digital video and music production equipped with:

  • three cameras
  • digital switching
  • a programmable lighting system
  • an array of studio microphones
  • multi-track mixing and editing
  • a digital graphic effects system

The HVAC system in the Labuda Center has an enhanced filtration system set to provide fresh air throughout the entire building. Hand sanitation stations are available both in and around the theatres. To ensure safe distance between audience and actors, seating begins a minimum of 10 feet from the actors in the Main Stage Theatre, and 3 feet in the Schubert Theatre.

Brisson Studios

The TV/Film Studio at Brisson Hall contains:
  • 10 Avid and Final Cut Pro editing suites that are HD compatible
  • a production office equipped with computers
  • scriptwriting software
  • high-speed Internet access

The Brisson Dance Studio

  • features a Harlequin sprung marley floor for dancer comfort and safety
  • smartroom technology
  • ability to transform into a black box theatre for informal performances

Dorothy Day Center

In addition to being the heart of student life on campus, this location features

  • Four applied music teaching studios and practice rooms

The Air Products Theater

  • is a 60-seat projection theater/classroom used for lecture courses as well as a venue for screening student work

And, classrooms across campus are equipped with video and computer projection systems to enable close study of moving images.

Careers & Internships

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for actors is expected to be faster than the average for all occupations through 2026.

Job growth in the motion picture industry will stem from continued strong demand for new movies and television shows. The same trend is expected for various director positions and producer jobs through the same period.

Learn to Teach

The DeSales Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP) program prepares you to be a certified teacher in Pennsylvania's secondary schools as you pursue your theatre degree. Combining course work in the general education core and the Education Department with key courses offered through the Theatre Department you can emerge certified to teach and inspire the next generation of theatre artists. 

Applying Your Skills

DeSales theatre majors have the opportunity to learn experimentally through professional internships with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, a world class professional regional theatre located on the DeSales campus.  Additionally, professional internships are available with partner theatre companies and casting agencies in Ireland and London.

Tuition & Fees

DeSales can help make your college expenses affordable through a combination of grants, loans, student employment, and scholarship resources.

Cost of attendance for undergrads for 2021-2022

Resident Students

Direct Costs
Tuition - $39,500

Room and Board - $13,300
Mandatory Fees - $1,500
One-time Orientation Fee for Freshmen and Transfers - $200
Total = $54,500 (including freshman/transfer fees)

Estimated Indirect Costs
Books/Supplies - $1,468
Personal Expenses - $3,706
Total cost for resident students: $59,674

Commuter Students

Direct Costs
Tuition - $39,500
Mandatory Fees - $1,300
One-time Orientation Fee for Freshmen and Transfers - $200
Total = $41,000 (including freshman/transfer fees)

Estimated Indirect Costs
Books/Supplies - $1,468
Personal Expenses - $3,706
Transportation Costs - $2,138
Total cost for commuter students: $48,312

Off-Campus*

Direct Costs
Tuition - $39,500
Mandatory Fees - $1,300
One-time Orientation Fee for Freshmen and Transfers - $200
Total = $41,000 (including freshman/transfer fees)

Estimated Indirect Costs
Books/Supplies - $1,468
Personal Expenses - $3,706
Transportation Costs - $2,138
Living Expenses - $7,870
Total cost for off-campus students: $56,182
*First year students are required to reside on campus or commute from home.

Parking Fee - $75

Dual Degree Undergraduate-to-Graduate Programs

If you are enrolled in an undergraduate-to-graduate degree program — for example a 5-year, 3+2, 3+3, program — the undergraduate tuition and fees apply only to the undergraduate portion of the program. As you progress into the graduate phase of your program, graduate tuition and fees apply. Please see your respective graduate program for more information. 

The financial aid process may appear overwhelming at first glance, but don't worry, we'll help you through it.

Accepted students are automatically be considered for scholarships upon receipt of a completed application and are awarded regardless of financial need. Funds for scholarships are limited, so we do encourage students to apply early.

Our comprehensive financial aid packages carefully explain the types and amounts of assistance —including federal, state, and institutional — that you may be eligible for to help cover education related expenses.

Total cost of attendance includes estimates for tuition, fees, room, board, books, and personal, transportation, and living expenses.

You can estimate your total cost of attendance with our Net Price Calculator

 
Laura Benanti 1920_615x400
I had the great honor of working with some of the DeSales University students recently and was blown away by their talent, technique and sense of community.... Anyone attending DeSales is lucky to do so.
Laura Benanti Tony Award-Winning Performer
Read more about her masterclass visit
Megan Fry - DeSales Theatre 2020
Studying theatre at DSU has shown me the power of hard work. Talent is not a rarity, however, talent combined with a strong work ethic is. At DeSales, we are taught not only to become a refined artist, but also a loving person and a tireless worker.
Megan Fry - Theatre '20
theatre production

Performing Arts Scholarships and Auditions

As a candidate for the DeSales Dance, Theatre, or TV/Film majors, you must apply and be accepted academically and artistically. To be accepted artistically into one of the performing arts majors, you must audition and interview with our faculty.
Register for your performing arts audition or interview
DeSales Act1 Godspell 2018

Act 1 Performing Arts

Act 1 is DeSales University’s highly-acclaimed performing arts company featuring professional-caliber productions of plays and musicals, dance concerts and film festivals.

Each year we welcome another group of eager young artists, all drawn to DeSales to hone their craft and create art that will inspire and entertain. We offer enchanting and provocative stories that will — with the mere rise of a curtain — unlock the limitlessness of your imagination. 

Learn More about Act 1

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

A leading Shakespeare festival with an emerging national reputation for excellence, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) is a professional theatre company on the campus of DeSales University.

Each summer, PSF produces a season of Shakespeare and other classics, musical theatre, and children’s theatre. 

Visit PSF
PA Shakespeare Festival at DeSales
Employers

Career Preparation from Day One

We're passionate about helping our students and alumni explore major and career options, find experiential education, and achieve post-graduation success in an evolving global world. 

Explore the Career Development Center