School of Theatre Arts

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting

The BFA in Acting is for the student who aspires to an acting career. This well-rounded pre-professional curriculum includes applied training in acting, movement, voice and dance, as well as academically-oriented courses like dramatic theory, history and literature. All students will also be exposed to the technical and design areas through coursework and production experiences. In addition to intensive coursework, BFA actors often have the opportunity to apply their craft on stage in our active production season. This degree is overseen by Nancy Loitz
Main Stage
Each year The School of Theatre Arts produces three to four mainstage plays and two musicals or a dance concert.  These fully designed shows are faculty directed and rotate between classic theatre such as Shakespeare, Spanish Golden Age and Greek and Roman plays; American Realism such as Ibsen, Inge, Williams and more contemporary works by global playwrights.  Recent seasons have included, The Children's Hour, Tartuffe, The Trojan Women, Crumble: Lay Me Down Justin Timberlake, Lysistrata, The Glass Menagerie, What the Butler Saw, Love's Labours Lost, In the Heart of America and Enemy of the People. Musicals include Hello Again, Once Upon a Mattress, Passion, Of Thee I Sing and Pippin, Where in the World is Frank Sparrow?, Hamlet and Blown Youth.  


Lab Theatre and May Term

In addition to the main stage The School of Theatre Arts mounts four to five shows in the E. Melba Kirkpatrick Laboratory Theatre.  These fully supported shows are either faculty directed or student directed and include a variety of shows, usually with smaller cast size.  Recent productions include Election Day, Playhouse Creatures, Attempts on Her Life, The Spitfire Grill, Freakshow, Natural Selections, The Rez Sisters, The Man Who, The Women of Lockerbie and Float.



Play Workshop

Every other spring semester the play workshop class is offered.  This is the student's opportunity to workshop a new play with the input of the playwright.  Each year a different playwright is selected. He or she spends class time discussing the play with students and making changes and cuts as the play develops and grows in this laboratory experience.



Acting for the CameraOn Camera

Each year the School of Theatre students are given the opportunity to take an on camera acting class.  This class prepares students for commercial, television and film work.  Actors train for the specific skills needed for the camera and can analyze their performances on film.  Casting directors often visit this class to discuss the what the industry is looking for. 


 Alumni Spotlight

  • Carly Stocking

    Carly Stocking, BFA Acting '10

    Credits include; Capital Fringe Festival '10 - Amy in "Tape;" B Street, CA - Helen of Troy in "7 Wonders of the World School Tour," Cinderella in "Cinderella" (premier), Miep in "Extraordinary Things Through the Eyes of Anne Frank" (premier), Helen in "Bob" (west coast premier), Jack in "11:11" (west coast premier)

  • nolan kennedy

    Nolan Kennedy, BFA Acting '07

    Off-Broadway's THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAVELING ALL-STAR WAR MACHINE conceived the by Irondale Ensemble Project, based on selected entries in Lewis Lapham's journal 'Lapham's Quarterly

  • Maryann Mayberry

    Mariann Mayberry, BFA Acting '87

    Mariann has been an ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company since 1993. While at Steppenwolf she was nominated for a Jeff Award for Actress in a Supporting Role in a Play for" Time of My Life," and again for Actress in a Principal Role in a Play for" Hysteria," directed by John Malkovich

  • Frankie Faison

    Frankie R. Faison '71

    "As a young man leaving my home in Newport News, VA for the first time, I found IWU to be the perfect environment for the transition. I always found a tremendous amount of love coming from the students, faculty and IWU community at large, not to mention a first rate education."  
  • Richard Jenkins

    Richard Jenkins  '69

    2008 Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor for the film The Visitor). 1993, 2005, 2007 IWU Alumni Guest Artist.