Author Topic: SM Colleges  (Read 3365 times)

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JenniferS.

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SM Colleges
« on: Jun 27, 2007, 01:21 pm »
I'm starting my senior year in the fall and I have to start visiting colleges. I have two questions, one any suggestions for SM colleges, BA or BFA, in the Northeast? I live in NY and really want to stay in the (relative) area. Two, when I visit colleges, are there any particular things I should look out for in their theatre program?

I'm really looking for any suggestions you can throw my way, thanks!

Idleuphoria

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Re: SM Colleges
« Reply #1 on: Jun 28, 2007, 01:32 pm »
the ones i know of with BFA sm programs in the northeast are:

Syracuse, Boston University, Emerson College, NYU, and i think Muhlenberg has a BA program.

Some are better than others, but those are always options.

lauria

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Re: SM Colleges
« Reply #2 on: Jun 28, 2007, 03:20 pm »
I just graduated from UMass Amherst.

I adore the department. I was a transfer student from a very small college and was very nervous about transfering to such a large school. If you want the benefits of a small school experience (personal attention, gaining a lot of experience, etc), it is available at larger schools. You have to work for it a little more, though. You can't just expect people to invite you to do things. You have to meet people and let them know you're interested and hang out and find things to be a part of.

The first semester I was at UMass I was pretty miserable. I didn't know anyone, I wasn't taking any theater classes (Stupid General Education Requirements!) and I felt lost and alone. But after that semester, I started taking theater courses, meeting people, and working. I found that it didn't matter that there were 25,000 people around. I found my niche in the theater department.

If you go on tour at the school, you'll have to set up a separate department tour which I greatly reccommend. You'll meet real students who will tell you real things. We're not seasoned tour guides. We'll tell you that you should wear layers  when you have classes in 201 because the temperature is always either too hot or too cold. :-P

Julie Fife is the Production Stage Manager and is a wonderful resource. She has a wealth of information and is willing to give it away. The other mainstage stage managers I had the pleasure of working with are wonderful people who are totally competant at their jobs.

Each year the theater puts on 3-4 mainstage shows in two theaters. The Curtain theater is a blackbox theater seating less than 100 and the Rand theater is a proscenium theater seating 500. (The Rand has bright orange carpeting including on the walls which is both loved and hated). We've been working on getting a rennovation, and I think that will be coming pretty soon.

There are MFA Directing, Scenic Design, and Costume Design programs which allow undergrads to work with some great people. There isn't a BFA for Stage Management or Acting so there are a lot of opportinities from SMs and actors to actually work on mainstage shows.

Also there usually is a large amount of secondstage student produced shows that one can get involved in. My second semester I SMed two second stage shows. My third and fourth semesters I SMed a mainstage show each.

There is a SMoffice which is well loved although sometimes a little cramped (mostly during tech week when the place looks like a hurricane of paper!). It is decorated like a day/night sky and makes me smile every time I walk into it.

I really learned a lot from UMass and I'm so glad that I transferred. The general educaiton requirements were a pain, but taken over four years they wouldn't be quite as bad.

The show I'm SMing this summer for the NYCFringe is directed by one of the MFA Directing alumni I worked with this past year.

McShell

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Re: SM Colleges
« Reply #3 on: Jun 28, 2007, 07:02 pm »
I got my BFA from Rutgers, which was about 45 minutes on NJ transit, into Penn Station, so it's close enough you could go into New York all the time.  The program was nice.  There's an MFA program too, and you take classes with MFA's, but it doesn't hurt your assignments any because they keep the program small, 2-3 stage managers or so per year for BFA's and same for MFA's.  It's got great people there.  It's hard maintaining shows plus the GPA you need to stay in the program (in gen ed plus theatre classes), but good financial aid too.  My final year alone I stage managed in one of the large spaces, production managed the blackbox space, did my internship out of state, PA'd a Bway stage manager for a fundraiser for the school on the stage of the Majestic while Phantom was dark, and stage managed the MFA actor's showcases in New York and Los Angeles.  It's a hard program, a lot of demands, but I'm thankful for it, just embrace the experience.  You get some really cool teachers that work in the field, not just in stage management but in all subjects.  I'd recommend it, and it's close to New York.

KMC

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Re: SM Colleges
« Reply #4 on: Jun 28, 2007, 10:14 pm »
The best advice I can give is find what suits you; visit a lot of schools, check out their spaces, ask them questions.  Every person here who's graduated in the past 5 years will try to sell you on their alma mater as you're seeing from the thread already.  However there's a critical fault in that, most folks who are recently out of school (myself included) have a very narrow window of experience in educational institutions; it's likely that's the only Stage Management program they know.  I went to Penn State and received a BFA in Stage Management, I loved it.  I'm not going to tell you to go there because I have a biased opinion.  A campus with 44,000 students may not be for you.  Ultimately it's your education; the choice that's right for someone else here may well not be right for you.  I'd say determine the choice that's right for you and don't let people "sell" you on their school of choice.
Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

McShell

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Re: SM Colleges
« Reply #5 on: Jun 29, 2007, 03:50 am »
Defenetly look at other schools, and find the one that fits you.

However, KMC, the original poster asked for recommendations, of course if I liked the program I went to, I'm going to suggest it, and there's nothing wrong with that.  It's the one I went to and it's not the only one I know.  I've worked at regional theatres tied with theatre programs, and they're great programs too, but not in the East Coast.  I can't talk about any others in the East Coast.  I think one of the best gauges of how a school is is first hand experience from people who actually went there.  I'm not knocking other programs, or saying, Oh, Go to mine over all others.  And I've been out of school over five years.

KMC

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Re: SM Colleges
« Reply #6 on: Jun 29, 2007, 08:49 am »
McShell,

Wasn't knocking you by any means.  I was just making the point that I don't think  someone can make a valid recommendation without a frame of reference.  If you have that frame of reference, then great. 

I haven't been around this site for too long, but it just seems to me that every time one of these college threads pops up everyone waves their flag and says "go here" in so many words.  Don't get me wrong, I love Penn State, but I don't know enough about other schools to recommend it.

Cheers.
Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

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