URTA Interview with Beth Malone: Tony Nominee and URTA Alum

Beth Malone is a graduate of the MFA Acting program at UC Irvine. Last year, she originated the role of Molly Brown in the world premiere of a wholly reimagined The Unsinkable Molly Brown at the Denver Center for the Arts. This year, she received a Tony Award nomination for her portrayal of Alison Bechdel in Fun Home, the acclaimed Broadway musical based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel.

Last week, she spoke with URTA about graduate school, auditions, and making a life as an actor.

Continue reading

CalArts’ Marissa Chibas Awarded Fox Foundation Fellowship

The William & Eva Fox Foundation and Theatre Communications Group (TCG) have awarded Marissa Chibas (Professor at URTA-member University, CalArts) an Actor Fellowship in Distinguished Achievement, in partnership with Bootleg Theater.

ChibasChibas plans to use the grant to develop The Second Woman, an interdisciplinary performance with themes from both John Cassavetes’ film Opening Night and Henry Rider Haggard’s novel She. Chibas describes the project as sharing “themes of the terrors of aging and the mysteries of the feminine.” In preparation, she will travel to Crete for intensive research and workshops in improvisation, clowning, Afro-Cuban dance, and vocal technique. In turn with the help of the grant, Chibas plans to conduct similar intensive workshops at Bootleg and open the sessions free of charge to High School students from the Downtown Los Angeles area.

Continue reading

Want to Get a Sneak Peak of the URTA Auditions?


Announcing: URTA Auditions now have a “Sneak Peek” program!

For 46 years, the URTA auditions have helped to match the best MFA candidates to the best training programs across the country and internationally. We’ve seen some big stars come through our process, from Ty Burrell, Kate Burton, Frances McDormand, Norbert Leo Butz, Keegan-Michael Key, Lauren Graham, Joel McHale, Kunal Nayyar, and thousands of other professionals that have built solid careers working in the arts—from acting to design to directing to theatre management. We’re so proud of all the candidates that trust us with this important step in elevating their craft to the next level.

URTA is always looking for ways to nurture the next wave of theatre artists. With that in mind, we believe undergraduate acting students would really benefit from viewing the URTA process; seeing first-hand the work and preparation that goes into the MFA candidates’ auditions. What better way to study audition technique than to watch a diverse selection of artists make their choices, right there in the room?

Continue reading

Acting for the Stage: Call for Essays by Theatre Scholars

Focal Press (an imprint of Taylor & Francis) is developing a new book series, PERFORM: Succeeding as a Creative Professional. Edited by Anna Weinstein, this series will serve as supplemental text for undergraduate and graduate students that professors across disciplines in the arts can use to accompany their primary textbooks. The books will have a conversational tone and will serve as career development to help students understand how to navigate the industry and vocational possibilities in their field. Specifically, this series will address business as opposed to craft and will offer insights into the day-to-day realities of the professions as well as long-term planning strategies to build and sustain a career in the arts.

Continue reading


URTA Sponsors KC-ACTF Allied Design and Technology Award at USITT

Once again, URTA is proud to be a sponsor of the Kennedy Center – American College Theater Festival’s Allied Design & Technology Award. The program provides outstanding student designers from the various ACTF regional festivals the opportunity to attend the annual USITT Conference. USITT is the premier event in the theatrical design and technology industry. Attending the conference gives students the chance to take part in specialized workshops, professional seminars, and industry panels that develop their skills and craft, as well as network and build contacts with professionals in the field.

URTA is happy to show our dedication to the quality training of future theatre artists by helping to make this award possible.

This year’s USITT Conference runs from March 18-21 in Cincinnati.

URTA at USITT March 19th


Are you heading to Cincinnati for the USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology) Conference next week? So is URTA–and we’d love to see you there!

Be sure to check out the URTA panel discussion:

Undergraduate Teachers: Frontline Educators/Mentors/Guides

Thursday, March 19th, 1:00 PM – Room 232

URTA and USITT present a panel discussion on teaching theatre design and technology at the undergraduate level. The panel will be led by distinguished faculty, and attendees will be fully involved in the conversation on topics including: what type of education and skills students should seek to acquire on-campus and off (and how faculty can help them acquire it); the significant challenges in undergraduate instruction; mentoring for graduate training, internships and career transition; time off—if any—between undergraduate and graduate enrollment; and most importantly, an open forum for Q&As. This session continues a process of networking undergraduate and graduate education and training—an important discussion now and into the future. Faculty and students are welcome to join the conversation.

In addition to URTA’s Scott Steele, participants to include:

Holly Poe Durbin  Professor and Head of Costume Design – University of California, Irvine

Sarah Nash Gates Professor EmeritusUniversity of Washington

Mary Heilman Head of Applied Design for Performance, and Recruitment Manager – California Institute of the Arts

Sean Savoie Sr. Lecturer and Coordinator of Design/Technical Theatre Program – Washington University in St. Louis

Kenton Yeager Associate Professor, Head of MFA in Entertainment Lighting Design & TechnologyUniversity of Tennessee/Clarence Brown Theatre

Mark your calendars now, and we’ll see you at USITT!


URTA Events at SETC 2015

setc_logoSETC 2015 opens this week in Chattanooga, and URTA is there! Be sure to check out these two great events:

The Art and Craft of the Graduate School Audition – Thursday, March 5  7:00pm-8:15pm

How can you present yourself to faculty recruiters in only two minutes? David Haugen (Ohio University) will explore the particular needs of the grad school audition. He’ll work hands-on with actors who bring memorized audition material. There will also be a discussion of what you should expect in a graduate school audition and some new perspective on how to prepare. Actors and coaches are invited.

Is Graduate School the Next Step? – Saturday, March 7 – 9:00am-10:15am

Aimed at students in design and technology, this panel explores the question of when is the right time to pursue graduate-level training. Are you ready for that next step? Does it make sense for you at this point in your career? Panel leaders are Brackley Frayer (UNLV) and Marianne Custer (University of Tennessee, Knoxville).

URTA’s Sara Falconer will also be on hand at both sessions to discuss the URTA audition & interview process.

Bring your questions and concerns about graduate school–we look forward to seeing you there!



URTA at KC American College Theater Festival!

KCACTF Region III attendees–Don’t miss URTA’s workshops at the Festival today and tomorrow!

URTA will conduct an audition workshop today at 3PM (Room MIT361). Lori Adams, Head of Acting at Illinois State University, will observe monologues and offer feedback and perspective. Come with your prepared audition piece, or simply watch and learn!

Tomorrow (1/9) at 11AM (Room MIT 195) URTA presents a session for design/tech students: “Is Graduate School Next? Straight Talk for Designers and Technologists“. Faculty designers including John Stark (Illinois State University), Michael McNamara (Purdue University) and Karen Kangas-Preston (Michigan State University) will offer discussion on graduate training, followed by one-on-one critique and review of your portfolios.

To keep up with all the events this week, download the Guidebook App and the load the KCACTF Region III guide!

URTA also plans to attend the KCACTF Region VII event in Ellensburg, WA in February, and SETC in March in Chattanooga, TN. Like our Facebook Page and follow us on Twitter to keep up with the latest news.


Hotel and Transportation Tips for NUAI Candidates

So, you’re registered for the URTA National Unified Auditions and Interviews, but now you’ve got to arrange your hotel and transportation.

You should have received details on URTA’s special hotel rate–but some cities/dates are already full. Never fear–there are some great deals to be had by checking around the web. Check sites like Groupon or LivingSocial–they often have great rates for hotels in New York City, as January is a rare “down-time” in the tourist trade there.

For getting to and from the auditions, you might look up Mega Bus, Bolt Bus, or other affordable coach lines. Their rates on direct routes to cities like Chicago, New York, and San Francisco can be extremely competitive!