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The Top 10 Theatre Colleges

by Natalie Schwab, Demand Media
    Theater colleges provide students with hands-on learning and the opportunity to expand on their talents.

    Theater colleges provide students with hands-on learning and the opportunity to expand on their talents.

    There are theater colleges all over the country that train students in acting, dancing and singing. . Courses taken by theater students include acting, theater history, vocal production and camera technique. Many of these schools are very competitive, and they often require an audition before acceptance

    Tisch School of the Arts, NYU

    The Tisch School of the Arts is New York University's theater school.. The NYU arts school was founded in 1965, and it quickly became one of the leading theater arts schools in the country. The undergraduate department of drama was founded in 1974. The school provides rigorous preparation for students interested in dancing, acting, filmmaking, dramatic writing and other performing arts. Admission is highly competitive and requires an audition or portfolio, as well as recommendations from former teachers. The college offers competitive scholarships and financial aid for those who need it. Woody Allen, Angelina Jolie, Whoopi Goldberg and Alec Baldwin graduated from the Tisch School of the Arts.

    The American Musical and Dramatic Academy

    American Musical and Dramatic Academy is also located in New York, and is number two on the Top Ten list of best theater schools, according to Campus Explorer. AMDA was founded in 1964, by Philip H. Burton. In 2003, the school expanded west to Los Angeles, and now has a location in the heart of Hollywood. AMDA is an accredited institution of the National Association of Schools of Theater. The college offers four programs: acting, musical theater, dance theater and performing arts. Students must schedule an audition and complete a written application.

    University of Southern California

    The University of Southern California School of Theatre is ranked in the top five undergraduate programs in the nation and is recognized internationally. The school offers the following programs: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Fine Arts. Minors in areas like dance are also available. According to the college's website, USC has offered drama courses since the university was founded in 1880. The School of Theater was founded in 1945, by director and playwright William C. DeMille.The undergraduate program offers classes such as Introduction to Acting, Theory and Practice of World Theater, along with courses in directing and stage lighting. Alumni of the school include Forest Whitaker, Tate Donovan and Sophia Bush. The school attracts a wide range of guests, including many award-winning actors.

    Columbia College, Illinois

    Columbia College is located in Chicago, Illinois, and it is the largest and most diverse private arts college in the nation, according to the college's site. The school occupies 22 buildings in Chicago and offers 120 academic programs. The college is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. The college's theater department is the largest undergraduate department of its kind, also according to the college's website. The theater department offers concentrations in acting, theater design and musical theater. The college is connected to 200 producing theaters in Chicago, which gives students the opportunity to apply their talents. Interested students must submit an application.

    The Juilliard School

    The Julliard School, a private conservatory for drama, music and dance, was founded in 1905, and is named for Augustus Juilliard. Acceptance to the school is extremely competitive. According to the school's website, 2,466 people applied in Fall 2010, and only about 180 were admitted. Alumni of the school have won a combined 105 Grammy Awards, 47 Emmy Awards, 62 Tony Awards, 24 Academy Awards and 16 Pulitzer Prizes. The school is located in New York City, New York.

    San Francisco State University and Emerson College

    The Department of Theater Arts at San Francisco State University offers comprehensive programs for students interested in theater arts. The department has four theaters that are used for student learning. The theater college has an average of 400 undergraduate students. Emerson College, located in Boston, Massachusetts, is well known for its performing arts, visual arts and communications programs. It offers degree programs that include acting, musical theater, stage and production management and more. Kevin Bright, executive producer of the television hit "Friends," is both an alumnus of Emerson and a faculty member.

    Chapman University and University of California

    The Department of Theater at Chapman University offers theater majors classes like theater studies, technical theater and performance techniques. According to the college's website, the department has 165 active majors and produces five to six main stage productions every year. Students interested in applying should schedule an audition or portfolio review. The college is located in Orange County, California. University of California--Santa Barbara and University of California--Los Angeles both offer excellent programs for theater majors with courses such as play analysis, European theater history, playwriting and costume design.

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    About the Author

    Natalie Schwab is a professional writer with a bachelor's degree in journalism and business from the University of Arizona. She has copy edited for her university newspaper, the "Arizona Daily Wildcat," conducted legislative research as an intern at Project Vote Smart and reported on the environment for the "Tombstone Epitaph."

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