The BFA major in musical theatre offers a conservatory and holistic approach to musical theatre training, one that not only concentrates on a participatory performance perspective, but also prepares the student for a wide and exciting range of careers available in the performing arts industry. While performance remains an integral component of the programme, students are also prepared for the vast array of work that supports and produces performance, such as directing and staging, creating written material for performance, production, management, marketing and funding of the performing arts. The programme is based around live theatrical performance, whilst also preparing the graduate for further study in all cognate specialisms in musical theatre, as well as the required preparation skills for the professional industry.
The degree produces a wide spectrum of transferable skills such as effective presentational technique, expertise in using the voice and the body as communicative instruments, interpretational and compositional competency with written texts, management, marketing and organisational skills. These are applicable not only in the context of the many career paths within performing arts, but also in a wide variety of social, cultural and business vocations.
The programme’s structure combines conservatory training and academic classroom modules. Approximately two-thirds of total weekly contact hours consist of modules devoted to practical aspects of performance. Students are tutored in the required musical theatre modules -Music, Dance and Acting respectively, including private weekly tuition in vocal technique and vocal repertory. The students’ progress involves development and accumulation of material for a portfolio which provides evidence of their achievement of the programme’s required learning outcomes, and functions as a basis for individual assessment. The remaining one-third of weekly contact hours concentrates on class-based academic instruction that supports and contextualises the ascending levels of practical training, and includes such subjects as theatre history, performance theory, drama and politics, creative writing, management and marketing.
Students are required to demonstrate an understanding of the integration and interdependence of the activities and to provide mutual support and encouragement for the group as a whole. The programme lays great stress on the development of an ensemble ethic; alongside the development of the individual’s creative impulses and abilities, the degree seeks to imbue the student with an awareness of the paramount importance of responsibility to the collective in musical theatre practice.
In the first two years of the programme students are introduced to the fundamental concepts of Acting, Music and Dance techniques.
Acting classes explore technical perspectives and development through the study of the Stanislavski, Laban and Meisner techniques. The practical actor training module of this unique programme is designed to provide students with the skills necessary to emerge as a successful professionally trained actor for the stage and screen. The course is a comprehensive cross methodology programme that supplies the practitioner with the tools to apply the craft of acting physically, vocally and intellectually. The current musical theatre industry is a competitive one, with “triple threat” demands on the artist auditioning for roles. American College Dublin’s musical theatre programme ensures that each student receives the necessary training, skills and techniques to reach the professional standards, whilst ensuring that their training in acting is not diminished or compromised as a result.
Throughout the four years of training, students will study the methods of a wide range of genres and repertoires in Acting, from classical to contemporary practitioners and styles.
In the Music module, there is a strong emphasis on acquiring a Legitimate Vocal technique and learning about the overall Health and Care of the Voice in first year, which feeds into respective Vocal Repertory, Vocal Technique, Voice and Phonetics and Acting through Song classes. Each student’s talent is nurtured with a strong emphasis on maintaining individual vocal qualities and characteristics, while extending range, accuracy in pitch, developing resonance, good breath control, support and stamina. Confidence building is a strong ethos which runs throughout the respective classes and modules, creating a safe environment to make mistakes and in turn develop as a person and performer. Continuous assessment, performance projects, master classes and workshops with guest international tutors are some of the many tools used as part of the conservatory training throughout this programme.
Year 1 (Elementary)
In the first year of the programme, the students are introduced to fundamental concepts of dance and movement. Dance foundational skills include a broad introduction to Musical Theatre dance styles; the development of Classical Ballet, Jazz ballet, Musical Theatre dance, Ensemble Improvisation and Body
Awareness-Classical Ballet foundation (Cecchetti method – Italian style), Jazz Ballet foundation (Jack Cole method, Gillian Lynn method, Bob Fosse style), Musical Theatre dance styles (Legit) foundation, Movement Ensemble Improvisation/Spatial Awareness, Movement Vocabulary/Theory of Dance, Body Conditioning/Pilates . All taught through the parallel system (MMD Method).
Year 2 (Intermediate)
In year two, the focus shifts increasingly towards application development of the skills learnt in the first year, with the addition of tap dance/rhythm and contemporary dance-Classical Ballet continuation (Cecchetti method – Italian style), Jazz Ballet continuation (Jack Cole method, Gillian Lynn method, Bob Fosse style), Musical Theatre dance styles (Legit) continuation, Movement Ensemble Improvisation, Movement Vocabulary/Theory of Dance, Body Conditioning/Pilates, Tap Dance/Rhythm introduction, Contemporary Dance (Martha Graham method) introduction, Commercial Dance style, and an understanding of Dance History.
Year 3 (Advanced)
The final taught year of the programme concentrates on transferring the practice into the performance, with the addition of double work/partnering work-Classical Ballet continuation (Cecchetti method – Italian style), Jazz Ballet continuation (Jack Cole method, Gillian Lynn method, Bob Fosse style), Musical Theatre dance styles (Legit) continuation, Movement Ensemble Improvisation, Movement Vocabulary/Theory of Dance, Body Conditioning/Pilates, Tap Dance/Rhythm introduction, Contemporary Dance (Martha Graham method) introduction, Commercial Dance style, Double Work.
Students are all given the opportunity to put said Acting, Music and Dance techniques together in weekly production classes which are showcased to the public at the end of the academic calendar.
In year three, the focus shifts increasingly towards the application and development of the skills encountered in the first two years, through the presentation of individual filmed projects and through an auditioning process of being cast appropriately for a contemporary and Shakespearian play. These projects are aimed at providing suitable material for individual show reeling purposes. On successfully completing the third year, students are invited to discuss the option of an internship and/or final performance projects for the final year.
When students reach year four, they are suitably equipped to be formally presented to mangers, agents and casting directors alike through a musical production, play and showcase respectively. The college provides professional platforms and invites members from the industry giving the student every opportunity of showcasing their talents with the aim of getting signed, or continuing their educational journey on a suitable masters programme.
The programme is made up of the following components:
45 credits minimum from the musical theatre major, including:
- MT102 Music 1
- MT103 Acting 1*
- MT104 Dance 1*
- MT107 Music 1
- MT108 Acting 1*
- MT109 Dance 1*
- MT202 Music 1
- MT203 Acting 1
- MT204 Dance 1
- MT207 Music 1
- MT208 Acting 1
- MT209 Dance 1
- MT302 Music 1
- MT303 Acting 1
- MT304 Dance 1
- MT307 Music 1
- MT308 Acting 1
- MT309 Dance 1
- PA405 Performing arts project 1 (6 credits)
- PA409 Performing arts project 2 (6 credits)
PA427 Production and performance project (30 credits)
Or (subject to specific approval by the head of program)
PA425 Internship (1200 hours / 30 credits) – completed as a fourth year, or incrementally, and subject to prior approval by the head of program, in the course of the three years during summer and other breaks
*Denotes general education module
30 credits minimum of general education classes
- The 100-level musical theatre classes, with the exception of the music modules are rated as general education courses and may be counted towards the general education requirement.
45 credits of free electives
- The remaining classes to achieve the required total of 120 credits may be freely chosen by the student, with the proviso that prerequisite stipulations are followed.
- The student may select as free electives more than the minimum 45 credits of performing arts major classes.
- The student may select as free electives more than the minimum of 30 credits of general education classes.
- If a student wishes to take a minor, a minimum of 15 credits must be taken in the minor, with at least 9 credits in the upper divisions (300+); these minor credits are taken from the free elective requirement.
Sample programme schedule
- MT102 Music 1
- MT103 Acting 1
- MT104 Dance 1
- LIB200 Academic communication
- IB200 Introduction to management
- MT107 Music 1
- MT108 Acting 1
- MT109 Dance 1
- PA205 Principles of marketing
- PA300 Dramatic writing 1
- MT202 Music 2
- MT203 Acting 2
- MT204 Dance 2
- PA302 Event management for the performing arts
- PA400 Dramatic writing 2
- MT207 Music 2
- MT208 Acting 2
- MT209 Dance 2
- PA309 Event design and experience for the performing arts
- CW220 Writing for screen
- MT302 Music 3
- MT303 Acting 3
- MT304 Dance 3
- CW110 Writing workshop
- LIB300 Shakespeare
- MT307 Music 3
- MT308 Acting 3
- MT309 Dance 3
- PA409 Performing arts project 2 (6 credits)
PA425 Internship (1200 hours / 30 credits – completed as a fourth year or incrementally in the course of the three years during summer and other breaks)
The programme has one intake per year: September.
Applicants should furnish evidence of graduation from high school (secondary school), with final-year subjects to include completion of English.
A prospective student should submit an application for the course directly to the Admissions Office at American College Dublin.
Applicants whose first language is not English should have an IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent).
An interview and audition is required for entry to the BFA in Musical Theatre course. For the audition you should prepare two spoken monologues, one classic, one modern; two contrasting musical theatre songs, one pre 1965; and partake in a dance assessment. Students should contact the Admissions Office at American College Dublin for details on the interview and audition process.
Further education students
The College accepts students from further education colleges to all of its courses. Students must have gained three distinctions in a cognate area of the programme that they wish to study. Students must have a full level 5 or level 6 award and this award may have been taken over a number of years. Students with a FETAC qualification can gain access to both American College Dublin and American College Delaware.
Mature student application
Mature applicants can apply directly to the Admissions office. An interview and audition is required for entry to the BFA in Musical Theatre course. For the audition you must prepare one spoken monologue, one a capella singing piece, and one dance piece (if you wish to have a backing track for the dance, please bring a CD). Each piece should be no more than two minutes in length. Mature applicants should contact the Admissions Office at American College Dublin for details on the interview and audition process.
Other EU applications
Every student who has taken examinations in an EU member state is expected to have completed English in his or her final year. The only exception to this is students who have completed the A-Levels. These students must have taken mathematics and English for their O-Levels.
For overseas students Skype auditions can be arranged. More information is available in the Admissions menu or by contacting the Admissions Office, Tel: +353 1 6768939; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Along with academic knowledge that students receive throughout the duration of their chosen subject, students will also acquire and develop transferable career skills from their degree discipline. These skills along with potential career paths are provided below to give you a well-rounded view of what the course has to offer.
These skills include:
- Writing skills
- Effective presentation techniques
- Management, marketing and fundraising abilities
- Interpretational and compositional competency with written texts
- Organisational skills
- Research skills
- Time management
The BFA in Musical Theatre is designed to prepare students for a number of future careers in following:
- Musical theatre
- Arts and event management
- Local and community broadcasting
- Cultural and business vocations
The programme also serves as preparation for students to participate in a variety of postgraduate programmes such as the MFA in Creative Writing and MB in International Business.