PERFORMING ARTS DEGREE PROGRAMS
Listed below are the degree programs within the Performing Arts department.
ACTING AND DIRECTING (BFA)
The bachelor of fine Arts in acting/directing offers a comprehensive and systematic approach to the study of acting and directing. The program combines theoretical foundation courses with practical performance and directing opportunities. The BFA program provides the student with exceptional training and a selected core of liberal arts classes designed to add historical context and insight into their creative choices. Our curriculum also includes frequent opportunities to view professional productions in Chicago, Madison and Milwaukee as well as an optional semester of study at Regents University in London. All students in the program are required to audition and interview for professional summer theatre work. Our professors assist in preparing the students for these auditions. The BFA in acting/directing is ideally suited for students who wish to pursue a professional performance and/or directing career.
Majors are required to audition for every main-stage production and are encouraged to audition for as many Three-Penny and Artists’ Ensemble Theatre productions as their schedules will allow. Admittance to the program is by audition and must coincide with acceptance into the university.
DANCE (BA OR BFA)
The goal of the dance program at Rockford University is to provide students with a broad technical, artistic, and academic dance education that will allow them to pursue any of a number of career opportunities in dance and other arts-related fields. The degree programs are designed to ensure that the student’s overall experience is well rounded and comprehensive in a highly competitive field, and are open enough to allow students to craft a degree with intensive study in their particular interests. Students are expected to demonstrate growth in dance technique, choreography, performance, and pedagogy and are highly encouraged to explore creative opportunities outside of the requirements of the degree both in the Performing Arts Department and professionally.
Career opportunities in dance and related fields include performance with a dance company, theatre, or commercial venue; teaching in a studio, public school, university, or community program; work in health-related fields such as physical therapy, nutrition, fitness, or dance therapy; choreography; arts management; and criticism.
Acceptance into the dance program is by audition. In addition, dance majors will have the opportunity to audition for Orchesis, the student dance company, which presents a concert of original choreography by the dance faculty and guest artists as part of the mainstage season as well as performing in partnership with the Rockford Dance Company and in the Rockford City Dance Festival.
The Design/Tech Track provides students with a balanced combination of course work and practical application in the areas of scenic, lighting, costume design, or stage management. Students will work to develop proficiencies in painting, drawing, drafting, costume and set construction, draping, pattern drafting, and other technical skills. Through courses in text analysis, acting, technical theatre, theatre production, stage management, drawing, art history, and theatre history, students will develop a diverse combination of knowledge and skills. Advanced courses include upper-level scenic, lighting, or costume design, scene painting, costume history, computer-aided drafting, and directing.
There are numerous opportunities for practical application of the developing theatre artist’s skills. Each year the Performing Arts Department stages two musicals, two mainstage plays, up to four student-directed productions, and four Artists’ Ensemble productions. All housed in our two state-of-the-art theatres.
Artists’ Ensemble Theater is a professional Equity theatre company in residence at Rockford University. They partner with the Performing Arts Department to offer students unique opportunities to apply their craft as actors, designers, technicians, or stage managers, and to provide internships in theatre management.
Trips to Chicago and the surrounding area to see professional productions of theatre, musical theatre, opera, dance, and music are actually part of the curriculum. In addition, a semester of study abroad at Regents College in London can easily fit into the plan of study.*
*additional study abroad opportunities are also available
Students pursuing a degree in music will have an opportunity to concentrate work in the disciplines of music and be assured a broad exposure to other disciplines at Rockford University. This program is especially useful if students would like to develop an interdivisional major and concentrate work in more than one department. Likely combinations would be Music and Business, Music and Religion or Music and International Studies.
Rockford University offers two degrees with an emphasis in music: a bachelor of arts in general music and a BFA in musical theatre performance. The general music major provides great flexibility in carving out the music major that is just right for you. It includes a core of required music classes ranging from music theory and history to private lessons and participation in an ensemble. Six hours of music electives are also required, and students may choose from a diverse menu of options, including conducting, vocal diction and literature, composition and seminar in church music. We believe that the best education in any concentration includes a broad and liberal base of knowledge across many disciplines, so music students will also take courses in literature, modern languages, social sciences, mathematics and more. The BFA in musical theatre performance focuses on honing your ability to sing, dance and act, and you can learn more about that major in the theater arts section of the catalog.
Rockford University is also proud to produce some of the best theater in the region, including two full-scale musicals each year. We encourage students from all disciplines to get involved, whether auditioning for a role, playing in the pit orchestra or helping out behind the scenes. Two state-of-the-art performance spaces and a highly experienced creative team make theater at Rockford University an experience to treasure your entire life.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Music program at Rockford University, please call or e-mail Professor Timm Adams in the Performing Arts Department.
MUSICAL THEATRE (BFA)
With integrated studies in music, dance, and theatre, the bachelor of fine arts in musical theatre offers the best combination of theoretical foundation courses with practical performance opportunities. Students in the BFA program will combine exceptional training with a selected core of liberal arts courses designed to add historical context and insight into their creative choices. Our curriculum also includes frequent opportunities to view professional productions in Chicago, Madison, or Milwaukee as well as an optional semester of study at Regents College in London. The bachelor of fine arts in musical theatre is ideally suited for students whose goal is to pursue a professional performance career.
Majors are required to audition for every main-stage production and are encouraged to audition for as many Three Penny and Artists’ Ensemble Theatre productions as their schedules will allow. Admittance to the program is by audition and must coincide with acceptance into the university.
THEATRE MANAGEMENT (BFA)
The bachelor of fine arts in theatre management combines hands-on managerial experience with a systematic approach to performance and the process of theatre in general. The program offers a blending of theoretical foundation courses with practical internships in three separate professional performance venues. It is possible for a student seeking a BFA in theatre management to pursue performance as well. The program provides the student with exceptional training in selected courses in the business department and a core of liberal arts classes designed to add historical context and insight into their creative choices. Our curriculum also includes frequent opportunities to view professional productions in Chicago, Madison, and Milwaukee as well as an optional semester of study at Regents College in London. The BFA in theatre management is ideally suited for students who wish to pursue both the business of theatre and an overall career in the theatre.
Each year the Performing Arts Department stages two musicals, two mainstage plays, up to four student-directed productions, and four Artists Ensemble productions. All housed in our two state-of-the-art theatres. Artists Ensemble Theatre is a professional Equity theatre company in residence at Rockford University. They partner with the Performing Arts Department to offer students unique opportunities to apply their craft as actors, designers, technicians, or stage managers, and to provide internships in theatre management.
- The bachelor of arts in theatre at Rockford University offers students the broadest exposure to all aspects of theatre training and education. Combined with our excellent liberal arts tradition, it prepares students for a variety of career options including talent agent, casting director, performance or production, and related fields such as film, television, and academia. The bachelor of arts in theatre is also the foundation for secondary education certification. The BA also works well in combination with other majors and minors and is structured to support a semester of study at Regents College in London or other studies abroad destinations. All potential BA candidates must go through an audition or interview process and must be accepted by the university.