New Undergraduate BFA Program at The New School Reflects the Realities of the Acting Job Market

new-school

Manhattan’s The New School has launched a new Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dramatic Arts program, which is an undergraduate version of its storied Masters of Fine Arts program.  The Wall Street Journal took a look at the auditions for the program and the realities of the job market these students will face upon graduation.

The program is overseen by Pippin Parker, the head of The New School’s School for Drama.  His team has recruited almost 300 candidates from across the country to audition in New York City for acceptance in the program.

Parker’s sister, actress Sarah Jessica Parker,is on the program’s board of advisors and attend the auditions, too.  Of the program, she says, “I’m a small player in this, but the theoretical sounds extremely promising.”  However, Sarah Jessica Parker is quick to point out that watching the auditions is an experience of mixed emotions, adding, “It’s a mix of the feeling of great hope and agony.  Somehow the long exit out of the room always breaks my heart. I know a lot of young actors come to the city with an enormous desire to be famous and wealthy and to rise quickly. There’s such an emphasis on celebrity, but it’s the boneyard of culture.”

The New School’s approach to the BFA program understands that few of the graduates will go on to become financially successful actors.  A quarter of a student’s credits required for graduation must be in a non-theatrical discipline and the entire curriculum will focus on how theater skills can be utilized in the traditional job market.

That approach demonstrates a recognition of the job market actors face not seen in most undergraduate theater programs and also reflects the reality of the program’s price tag.  The $38,000 a year tuition at the New School is only the bottom floor for the additional costs of living, which are considerable in Manhattan.  The article points out that considering roughly 90% of actors are unemployed, it’s a huge gamble for teenagers to make at their age, with many of them likely to graduate with college loans well into the six figures without any solid prospects of earning enough to pay that debt off.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that earning an undergraduate degree in acting in this program or any other will increase the chances of a young actor becoming a success.  Whether these students will one day join the “boneyard of culture” that Sarah Jessica Parker refers will probably involve the same hard work and luck by which hundreds of successful actors have reached the top of their profession previously.

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/sag-foundation-conversation-with.jpg
SAG Foundation Conversation with the Cast of NBC’s ‘Marry Me’
Earlier this month NBC put in an order for five additional episodes of its freshman romantic comedy series, Marry Me. While that isn’t exactly the shot of confidence that a full-season renewal provides, it’s enough to keep fans of the comedy — which is about an engaged couple who are determined to get married despite […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/michael-caine.jpg
Michael Caine Talks About Acting With Your Eyes and Does an Amazing Cold Read of a Script
This week acting legend Michael Caine appears in his sixth film directed by Christopher Nolan, Interstellar. In an interview clip from The New York Times that was shot around the release of the last movie Caine worked on with Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises, reporter Melena Ryzik spoke to Caine about his six-decade career. In […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/director-dan-gilroy-narrates-a-s.jpg
Director Dan Gilroy Narrates a Scene from ‘Nightcrawler’ Featuring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo
Nightcrawler is easily one of the best movies of the year and its star, Jake Gyllenhaal, is outstanding. Definitely check this out when you have a chance. In the above clip, writer/director Dan Gilroy narrates a sequence from the film that features Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo. He talks about giving Gyllenhaal a small piece of […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/matthew-mcconaughey-talks-losing.png
Matthew McConaughey Talks Losing the Lead Role in ‘Bernie’ to Jack Black
Though Matthew McConaughey has increased his earned plenty of respect since he started taking on more substantive movie roles in the last few years (with Dallas Buyers Club even earning him an Oscar for Best Actor), one director that always has been a fan of McConaughey is Richard Linklater. Linklater gave McConaughey his first big […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/watch-benedict-cumberbatch-film.jpg
Watch: Benedict Cumberbatch Film the Smaug Motion Capture for ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’
Though Peter Jackson‘s movie adaptations of The Hobbit haven’t received the same critical acclaim as his films based on the book’s sequel, The Lord of the Rings (turning a 300 page book into 9+ hours of film tends to do that), fans are still eagerly anticipating the release of the final part of The Hobbit […]