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Acting Classes in Portland, Oregon with Program Overviews

Dec 31, 2018

There are seven schools within 20 miles of Portland that have acting and theater degree programs. Read an overview of three degree programs, requirements and admission info and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Portland Acting Schools

There are several schools within the Portland area for those who wish to study acting. This article examines three schools, all within 15 minutes of the city center, and looks at the degree programs they offer. Aspiring acting students can get an idea about the schools by referring to the table of useful information in this article. It includes figures on school enrollment, tuition and graduation rates, which are all items a prospective student should consider. At the end of the article is a little information on two other Portland-area schools with acting programs.

  • Portland State University is located right in the heart of the Cultural District in Portland, and theater students can enjoy small and personal classes with faculty. It offers bachelor's programs in theater arts as well as a minor in the subject.
  • Reed College, about four miles from downtown, has a bachelor's program in theater, but students from all backgrounds can take courses in the program. Several productions are held, and some senior thesis students can direct those productions.
  • University of Portland, almost seven miles from downtown Portland, offers a bachelor's program in theater, along with a minor in the subject. Both have a performance aspect. Students can also participate in a variety of educational programs, productions and national competitions.

Comparison of Schools

This table allows students to compare various aspects of these schools and use this knowledge to make a decision about their education.

Portland State University Reed College University of Portland
School Type 4-year; public university 4-year; private not-for-profit college 4-year; private not-for-profit university
Total Enrollment (2017) 26,693* 1,470* 4,396*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $8,783 in-state; $26,130 out-of-state* $54,200* $44,026*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 79%* 57%* 99%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 92%* 36%* 70%*
Retention Rate (2016-2017) 72% full-time; 43% part-time* 88% full-time* 88% full-time*
Graduation Rate (for students who began studies Fall 2011) 49% (11% transfer-out rate)* 80% (12% transfer-out rate)* 82% (6% transfer-out rate)*

Source: *College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics.

Portland State University

Students at Portland State University learn the ins and outs of theater production, performance, literature and the history of theater. Aspiring dramatists can choose a minor or bachelor's degree program.

Minor in Theater Arts

Students can take 28 credits of theater courses. Topics include script analysis, theater history and understanding theater. Students can also choose electives of upper division subjects.

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Theater Arts

Students interested in this bachelor's degree program must complete major courses in technical theater production, acting, directing, script analysis and development of dramatic art. All students must fulfill 20 hours of electives. Courses are taken in modern theater, directing, multicultural theater and theater history. Workshop theater courses can be taken in stage management, scenery, costume and lighting production, or management/publicity.

Reed College

Reed College has a bachelor's degree program. Students develop their critical and communication skills in acting, playwriting and solo performance.

Bachelor of Arts in Theater

Students can take courses in theatrical design, acting techniques and performance technology. An acting laboratory covers audition practices, scene performances and other exercises. All students must pass the junior qualifying exam to continue in the program. Senior students then must complete a thesis project. Students have participated in directing, acting and research to fulfill this requirement.

University of Portland

The University of Portland's drama department was one of the first programs to receive national accreditation. Students receive both conservatory training and education in core theatre courses. A minor program and bachelor's degree program offer several courses related to acting and drama.

Minor in Theater

Students are required to complete classes in intro to theatre, acting, theatre crafts and theatre history. They then have their choice to complete electives, which include set design, stage lighting and production management.

Bachelor of Arts in Theater

Students in the bachelor's degree program take courses in communication, production practicum, theatre crafts, theatre history and an acting workshop. Students interested in acting can focus on the performance concentration, which provides courses in advanced acting, stage movement and combat, voice for the stage and another acting workshop.

Other School Options

Students can also choose other school options surrounding Portland. Lewis & Clark College is located 10 miles away from the area and offers a theatre program with a concentration in performance. Located eight miles from Portland, Mt. Hood Community College offers several performing arts programs.

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