Seattle Acting Schools with Course and Program Summaries

Dec 13, 2018

There are 8 schools within 50 miles of Seattle that have acting programs. Read an overview of 3 schools' programs, requirements, and admission info and find out which school is the right one for you.

Acting Schools in the Seattle Area

Aspiring theatre students have a number of options for taking acting classes in Seattle and the surrounding area. This article profiles 3 school options, all within 15 minutes of Seattle's downtown core. There is also a table at the end of the article that presents important statistics about each school.

  • The University of Washington (UW), a public university 4 miles from downtown in northeast Seattle, offers performance training at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. In addition to its 2 theatres, the school retains a drama hall with multiple black box studios.
  • Seattle University (SU) sits about a mile east from downtown and includes facilities for costume and set design, as well as a main performance stage.
  • About 4.5 miles northwest from the city center is Seattle Pacific University (SPU), a private school that contains 2 theatres and offers specific scholarships related to performing arts.

Comparison of Schools

University of Washington - Seattle Seattle University Seattle Pacific University
School Type 4-year; public 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017)* 46,166 7,278 3,783
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)* $10,974 in-state; $35,538 out-of-state $42,885 $40,893
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017)* 57% 96% 98%
Acceptance Rate (2017)* 46% 74% 91%
Retention Rate for Full-time Students (2017)* 94% 84% 79%
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (Starting Classes in 2011)* 84% 75% 69%

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator

University of Washington - Seattle

The University of Washington's theatre programs cover areas such as theatre history, technical production, and acting. Both undergraduate and graduate students can derive performance experience through roles in the department's productions that run throughout the year.

Bachelor of Arts in Drama, Performance

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) program in drama performance at UW begins with introductory courses in acting, as well as classes in set construction, costume design, and stage lighting. Students also take a course in stage management and explore dramatic critical analysis. Drama performance majors further choose a minimum number of classes from among subjects such as scene painting, ethnic studies in drama, and history of Western dress. Elective options also cover topics like digital cinema production, makeup for theatre, directing, verse acting, and playwriting.

Master of Fine Arts in Acting

The acting Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program has an intensive schedule. MFA students undergo coursework in such areas as screen acting and voice training, and part of each year's curriculum is also devoted to the Alexander Technique. The program lasts 3 years, during which each MFA candidate writes and executes 2 solo performances and participates in a minimum of 7 productions. Students can expect to create an audition reel suitable for future professional presentation.

Seattle University

SU theatre students can glean professional acting experience from the school's 3 yearly mainstage productions. The theatre department also hosts a forum in which students may present their own short performances to gain professional exposure and experience.

Bachelor of Arts in Theatre

SU's undergraduate theatre program is grounded in a liberal arts core of subjects including English, philosophy, social sciences, and math. In addition, students complete coursework on acting topics like theatre design, costume history, and theatre literature, as well as stage management and performance. A minimum number of required classes, in areas such as playwriting, audio production, and costume design, are also part of the curriculum.

Theatre Performance Minor

The theatre performance minor at SU, which requires 30 credits in drama, consists of courses in acting and theatre design, as well as a minimum number of electives from the theatre department. The minor curriculum also includes coursework in theatre literature and history.

Seattle Pacific University

The SPU theatre department instills training via a combination of classroom instruction and production experience. Students typically enter the theatre program during their sophomore year, after they have completed a required minimum number of foundational theatre classes.

Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, Performance

This program encompasses theatre courses in subjects including sound and lighting, play directing, and theatre history. Students additionally study acting styles along with auditioning and theatre voice. An individual senior project is required to complete the program.

Theatre Minor

To earn a minor in theatre at SPU, students must complete 35 theatre-related credits in courses covering such topics as play script examination, stagecraft, and production. Study of dramatic literature is also required.

Other School Options

Students can find additional acting instruction in the Seattle region at the Cornish College of the Arts, a private school located a mile from downtown Seattle. The University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University, both about 40 miles south of Seattle, also offer undergraduate theatre.

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