Performing Arts Schools in Chicago, IL with Program Information
There are four schools within twelve miles of Chicago that have performing arts programs. Read an overview of three schools' programs, requirements and admissions policies to find out which school is the right one for you.
Comparison of Chicago Performing Arts Schools
There are a few schools close to downtown Chicago for aspiring performers. DePaul University has a prestigious conservatory dedicated solely to the theatre arts. Loyola University Chicago has an extensive department for fine and performing arts, which includes majors in theatre, dance, music and musical theatre. This university hosts a vibrant Arts Alive program for all performing arts students. For students looking for more modern performance courses, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago offers an undergraduate and graduate degree program. All three schools are near Chicago's vibrant performing arts community.
|DePaul University||Loyola University Chicago||School of the Art Institute of Chicago|
|Performing Arts Programs Offered||Minor in Theatre Studies; |
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Acting or Theatre Arts;
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Acting
|Minor in Dance, Musical Theatre or Theatre; |
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Dance, Music or Theatre
|BFA in Performance, |
MFA in Performance
|Related Programs Offered||BFA in Costume Design, Scenic Design, Stage Management, Playwriting or Theatre Management; |
MFA in Directing or Arts Leadership
|BA in Studio Art||BA in Visual and Critical Studies, |
MFA in Studio
|School Type||4-year; private not-for-profit university||4-year; private not-for-profit university||4-year; private not-for-profit university|
|Total Enrollment (2011-2010)||25,398*||16,040*||3,315*|
|Campus Setting||Large city||Large city||Large city|
|Tuition & Fees, Undergraduate (2011-2012)||$30,618*||$33,294*||$37,560*|
|% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2010-2011)||91%*||96%*||100%*|
|Acceptance Rate (2011-2012)||64%*||55%*||77%*|
|Retention Rate (2010-2011)||86% for full-time students*||87% for full-time students; 33% for part-time students*||78%* for full-time students; 100% for part-time students*|
|Graduation Rate (2011)||66% (24% transfer-out rate)*||70%*||60%*|
|Relevant Resources||Theatre School Building, costume shop, scene shop, prop shop, costume storage, light lab, make-up lab, rehearsal/performance spaces, script library, dramaturgical resource center, computer labs, sound studio, design studios, Merle Reskin Theatre and Greenhouse Theater Center||Arts Alive program for exhibitions and performances, performance lab and Mundelein Auditorium||Gallery spaces, film center, library, book collection, fashion resources center, festivals and extracurricular activities for students|
|Noteworthy||Fully accredited and the oldest theatre conservatory in the Midwest||Hosts over 100 public presentations/performances/exhibitions and has 80 full- and part-time faculty members||Has the only contemporary performance department in an art school|
|Distance from Downtown (Driving Time)||Lincoln Park campus: 3.7 mi. (11 min.)||7.4 mi. (14 min.)||1.1 mi. (6 min.)|
Source: *College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics
Programs at DePaul University
The Theatre School at DePaul is a professional conservatory program. Founded in 1925, it is the oldest theatre conservatory in the Midwest. Students applying to the conservatory can choose from a variety of minors, majors and graduate programs. Acting students need to complete an audition as part of the application process; all other students must complete an interview. Every student in the theatre conservatory is automatically considered for a scholarship.
Minor in Theatre Studies
Students who want to major in another discipline can choose this minor. Coursework includes dramatic theory, stage direction and a performance workshop.
BFA in Acting
This program for prospective stage and film actors teaches students about imagination, communication, stage movement and technique. All students need to complete nine production assignments for practical experience. Students have the opportunity to act in a mix of classic and contemporary scripts. All graduating students participate in a showcase production in front of faculty, talent agents, casting directors and producers in various venues.
BFA in Theatre Arts
Students in the BFA program can choose from three concentrations: directing, theatre for young audiences or a standard concentration. They learn about theatrical production, literature, script analysis, theatre history and critical thinking as it relates to theatre. Courses include workshops in design, performance and dramatic theory. Students complete a showcase portfolio that is presented to entertainment industry professionals.
MFA in Acting
This 3-year program offers classical and modern training for actors. Students produce ensemble work and develop skills in communication, movement, period style acting and dialect. At the end of the third year, graduating students present a showcase of monologues and scenes to casting directors and other professionals in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.
Programs at Loyola University Chicago
Loyola offers a variety of programs ranging from dance to theatre studies. Some programs require auditions during the application process. All students can participate in extracurricular activities hosted by the performing arts department.
Minor in Dance
Students take eighteen credit hours for this minor program. Classes include modern dance, ballet, jazz dance, pointe work and dance physiology. Students may also complete an internship or an independent study.
Minor in Musical Theatre
This minor allows students to develop skills in dance, performance and music and to concentrate in either music or theatre. At the end of the program, students complete a capstone course and a showcase performance. They also have the opportunity to participate in a full-scale musical at Loyola and in a yearly musical theatre workshop in conjunction with a professional area theatre.
Minor in Theatre
Students minoring in theater need to take twenty-one credit hours. Courses include dramatic structure, intro to design, beginning acting and a theatre practicum.
B.A. in Dance
Aspiring dancers are required to audition for this program, which provides conservatory-level training in ballet. Coursework includes dance history, ballet, modern dance, dance pedagogy, rehearsal and performance, and pointe. This program has been accredited by the National Association for Schools of Dance (NASD),
B.A. in Music
This program may be of interest to those who want to learn to write and perform music. Students can choose from a variety of applied music courses for guitar, percussion, trumpet, clarinet, violin and other instruments. Courses in composition, musicianship, jazz improvisation, chorus and orchestra are also part of this program.
B.A. in Theatre
Students learn about the history, literature and theories of theatre in this program. They have the option of taking a class in advanced acting techniques or design for scenery, lighting, costume or sound. The program also offers various electives in theatre.
Programs at School of the Art Institute of Chicago
This school provides two unique programs that incorporate diverse tools and performance modes, such as interactive digital technologies, performance writing and live action. Students can participate in a variety of performance experiences, such as tactical and site performance and performance installation, and they are invited to create experimental projects.
BFA in Performance
Students in this program develop skills in writing, re-enactment and performance. Students take classes in puppetry, event production, tactical performance, performance installation and performance documentation.
MFA in Performance
This graduate program provides an education similar to the undergraduate program that includes contemporary topics in performance. Students are required to complete graduate projects and critiques.
Other School Options
Students can also take performing arts courses at Northwestern University, which is about 20 miles north of downtown Chicago in Evanston, IL.
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