The VPA Theatre Department is a multifaceted, comprehensive training program for aspiring actors and performers. Offering courses in acting, voice, and dance, the program is designed to enhance and broaden the skill set of the actor. Every performance major will take classes in all three performance areas. Along with nurturing performance techniques, instruction in theatre history, directing, and theatre literature challenge and engage students in a well-rounded education. Students also learn and practice auditioning strategies to help them navigate the competitive professional and collegiate worlds of theatre.
The program produces four mainstage productions annually—two musicals and two straight plays, traditionally one classical and one contemporary play—to offer students a variety of performance opportunities that allow them to further develop their skills and apply the techniques learned in class in real productions. Participation in these productions is through auditions; students not cast for a production are expected to participate in the technical aspects, and through this experience, performers gain knowledge of directing and stage management, along with other production-oriented skills.
Enrollment in the Theatre Department requires a substantial commitment of time: rehearsals run Monday through Saturday for most productions, and auditions for the first play begin in the first week of school. While it is not impossible to enjoy other extracurricular pursuits such as sports and clubs, it is also not easy to balance the theatre schedule with other major hobbies if one is cast in productions. Parents and students considering the program should be willing and able to meet rehearsal schedule needs.
While performing is clearly an objective of the theatre instruction, students are also challenged to practice self-reflection; explore the human experience, contemplating such aspects as motivation, fear, and inspiration; and through collaborative projects learn the skills of teamwork, leadership, and project management. An underlying philosophy of this department is “theatre builds character,” and students emerge as graduates who are self-aware and perceptive contributors to society.