Two Baldwin Wallace acting students performing on stage

BW's Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting is a rigorous program that melds classical theatre training with contemporary theatrical techniques.

BFA Acting

School of Humanities

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Undergraduate Admission

(440) 826-2222,




Experience a fresh approach to actor training that can prepare you for a successful career in the performing arts. Baldwin Wallace's Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in acting is an intensive theatre program offering extensive training in acting, voice and movement.

Individual attention, professional mentoring and diverse performance opportunities are at the center of our BFA acting program. You'll benefit from BW's partnership with Cleveland's acclaimed Great Lakes Theater at Playhouse Square – where you can work alongside leading professionals, understudy acting roles and earn equity points.

As an acting major, you'll develop your whole-body-instrument and learn effective techniques for communicating with power and authenticity through movement and voice. You'll challenge yourself to excel. Express your creativity. And build an impressive resume.

A Top BFA in Acting Program

BW's Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting program was named one of the nation's best BFA acting programs by OnStage Blog. The four-year acting program was lauded for its ongoing partnerships with nationally ranked theatre and arts organizations. It is the only BFA in acting in Northeast Ohio.

  • Image of Uncle Vanya

    Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov

    Natalie Steen and Liam Stilson perform in this classic play produced with a new style and energy.

  • Image of A View from the Bridge

    A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller

    Nick Coyle, Brinden Harvey and Nicholas Ellis in American playwright Arthur Miller's most produced play.

  • Image of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot

    The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis

    This critically acclaimed play takes place a few steps away from hell.

  • Image of Uncle Vanya

    Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov

    This play was the last BW performance for 2020 graduates, Natalie Steen and Shaun Dillon.

  • Image of Stop Kiss

    Stop Kiss by Diana Son

    Robbi Fryer performs in one of the most popular American plays from the 90s.

  • Image of Stop Kiss

    Stop Kiss by Diana Son

    Cecilia Zitarosa and Nathan Wasinski in a story of two women and their journey to find each other.

  • Image of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot

    The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis

    Judas stands on appeal in purgatory in this dark comedy.

  • Image of Uncle Vanya

    Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov

    Natalie Steen and Olivia Billings perform in a story of two women who feel terribly alone.

  • Image of American La Ronde

    American La Ronde by Steven Dietz

    A thrillingly American version of a controversial German classic.

Theatre and Performing Arts Partners

Baldwin Wallace's close proximity to Cleveland and its nationally ranked theatre and arts organizations offers outstanding learning and performance opportunities.

BW’s formal alliance with Cleveland's Great Lakes Theater (GLT), which is one of the few recognized, active partnerships between an equity theatre and undergraduate program in the U.S.

As a BFA major, you’ll have audition opportunities with the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival and Idaho Shakespeare Festival.

You’ll learn from BW faculty who bring decades of experience as practicing professionals with leading Northeast Ohio organizations:


Auditions for BFA in Acting

Each year, approximately 17 students enroll in the program. Auditions are required for all students applying to the acting (BFA) major.

Audition Process

Learn about the audition process including audition dates, registration, fee, requirements and admission notification.

Audition Fee

If paying the audition fee is a financial hurdle, you are invited to contact Shelly Taylor at to request an audition fee waiver. The BFA in acting program is dedicated to ensuring that all prospective students, regardless of financial standing, are able to secure an audition opportunity if spots are currently available. Soon after payment of the audition fee or receipt of the fee waiver, you will have access to the audition calendar within the applicant portal to select a date to conduct your audition.

FAQs and Helpful Tips

FAQs and helpful tips can help you choose the right program and prepare for your audition and the admission process.

Important Dates

View all admission dates >

BW Theatre Productions

Baldwin Wallace's theatre and dance department produces two main stage productions and a series of one-acts each semester. Productions include musicals, operas, plays and a dance concert.

Mainstage Series 2021-22

Into the Woods
Directed by Victoria Bussert
November 10-13 & 17-20, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.; November 14 & 21, 2021 at 2 p.m.
Mainstage Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama

fyoo zh en ’22: Revelry or Riot
Directed by Sara Whale
February 23-26, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
Inspired by Dr. Dale Sheptak’s research on crowd dynamics. Choreographers use movement to illustrate the fine line between supporting your team and breaking the law.
Mainstage Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Directed by Brennan Murphy
March 23-26, 2022 at 7:30 p.m., March 27 at 2 p.m.
Black Box Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama

The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Directed by René Copeland
April 20-23, 2022 at 7:30 p.m., April 24, 2022 at 2 p.m.
Mainstage Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama

Studio Series

Everybody by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by Eugene Sumlin
October 20-23, 2021 at 7:30 p.m., October 24, 2021 at 2 p.m.
Black Box Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama

Lab Series

The Modern Prometheus (Testing Ground: Fall Edition)
Directed by Sara Whale
Oct 27-30, 2021 at 7:30 p.m., Oct 31, 2021 at 2 p.m.
An adaptation of Frankenstein using text and movement to explore Mary Shelley’s classic tale, and her mindset as she created it.
Black Box Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama

Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches by Tony Kushner (A Radio Play)
Directed by Bryce Kessler
November 18-20, 2021 at 7:30 p.m., November 21, 2021 at 2 p.m.
BWTD Acting Studio, Loomis, Room 177

Judge and Jury by Reed Kruger
Directed by Reed Kruger
February 10-12, 2022 at 7:30 p.m., February 13, 2021 at 2 p.m.
BWTD Acting Studio, Loomis, Room 177

Danceworks in Progress (Testing Ground: Spring Edition)
Directed by Sara Whale
April 27, 2022 at 6 p.m. 
A chance to see what the BW choreographers and dancers have been cooking up in the studio! Immediately followed by a feedback session where you can share your impressions with the artists!
Black Box Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama

Staged Reading Series

Dear by Lily Houghton | Aliens by Annie Baker
September 17-18, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.
Mainstage Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama
Director, Dear: Martin Friedman | Director, Aliens: René Copeland

Radium Girls by D. W. Gregory
March 18-19, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
Mainstage Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama
Director: Anjanette Hall


Strong academics, small class sizes, and personalized coaching and mentoring are inherent to the BFA acting program.

You'll learn from award-winning, professionally active faculty with extensive experience in acting, directing, dance, movement, stage combat, playwriting, theatre history and design.

Our bachelor of fine arts degree builds on BW’s recognized strength in the theatre arts and includes a strong collaboration with the nationally acclaimed Baldwin Wallace music theatre program. Faculty teach across both programs.

BFA Acting Program Offers a Professional Approach to Training

The BFA Acting program prepares artists for immediate entry into the professional theatre world. Our program offers a progression of classes in acting, voice and speech, and movement. Additional curriculum includes Shakespeare, Acting for the Camera, Stage Combat, Script Analysis, Collaborative Studies, Stage Make-up, Audition Technique, Business of Acting, Theatre History, Playwriting, Dance and Contemporary Scene Study.

BW's BFA in acting curriculum includes eight semesters of coursework. All students benefit from small class sizes and personal attention. The department puts great emphasis on production that builds a strong sense of ensemble and collaboration.

Our faculty are experienced professionals in their field with a strong commitment to teaching and mentoring.

BFA Senior Showcase

Held in New York City, the Baldwin Wallace BFA Showcase will help you launch your professional career by giving you an exciting opportunity to perform before casting directors and agents within the New York theatre, film and television market.

Great Lakes Theater

The BW BFA partnership with Great Lakes Theater is a senior-year capstone project designed to get you into a workplace in a professional capacity, as a bridge into the real world. You will either understudy a production or appear onstage in a smaller role. You can connect with actors and directors from across the country and practice the skills you’ve learned in a professional theatre setting.

Master Classes

Learn from the best. BW brings to campus guest theatre and industry professionals to teach students. These include agents, directors and specialists in different aspects of theatre – all of whom can help you understand what it means to work as a professional in the field.

Related Programs of Study in Theatre

In addition to the BFA in acting, BW offers a Bachelor of Arts in theatre with four track options — design and technical, dance and movementstage management and acting and directing.


As an acting major, you’ll be encouraged to participate in a variety of cultural, professional and educational theatre and dance programs both nationally and internationally. These opportunities, in conjunction with theatre productions and student organizations, will help you network, advance your acting skills, and build an impressive resume and portfolio.

Theatre Productions

Performance opportunities begin early and continue through senior year. You can audition for BW main stage and studio series plays, musicals, operas, two 10-minute play festivals, dance concerts and student-led projects.


The Department of Theatre and Dance is located in Kleist Center for Art & Drama. It houses two theatres: Mainstage Theatre and Black Box Theatre.

The Mainstage Theatre is a large 500-seat proscenium theatre. The Black Box Theatre is a smaller, flexible theatre with seating between 100-250. This unique studio space is intended to provide a variety of seating arrangements, including proscenium, three-quarter-thrust and in-the-round.

There are also two dance studios and an acting studio, which operates as a small 30-seat performance space for rehearsal projects.

Study Theatre in London

Heighten your understanding and appreciation of British theatre through a study abroad experience led by Baldwin Wallace theatre faculty. The optional eight-week, credit-earning immersion course in British theatre includes a 12-day trip to London.

Student Organizations

Theatre Arts and Performance

This organization supports student theatre artists and those interested in theatre on campus. It informs students of events and opportunities in theatre, maintains an open forum for student ideas and projects, and raises awareness of on- and off-campus theatrical events.

Faces for Radio

BW's improv comedy troupe holds bi-weekly workshops and performs on campus.


Renowned for its top acting programs, Baldwin Wallace has earned national attention for alumni success. BW graduates are working as actors, directors, stage managers, artistic directors and in other roles in performing arts and entertainment venues nationwide.

Career areas include theatre, film, television and other performing arts media. BW's outstanding reputation in the arts and its ranking as one of the best BFA acting programs help students secure professional representation.

Portrait of Mawusi Nenonene Mawusi Nenonene ’19 is enrolled at the University of Ghana, pursuing an MFA in dance and choreography. She is studying and performing traditional Ghanaian dances while experiencing the culture of origin. She has performed in an on-campus showcase, at the National Theatre of Ghana and Alliance Francaise, and with an all-female contemporary African dance group.

Portrait of Ali ManfrediAli Manfredi ’19 is pursuing a MS degree in dance/movement therapy at Pratt Institute. By working in a therapeutic setting, she uses dance as a catalyst to express things that words cannot. After graduation, she will be a Registered Dance Movement Therapist (R-DMT) and Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT). She plans to work in behavioral health.

Portrait of Cleo DeOrioCleo DeOrio '16 is a physical theatre and dance artist/teacher currently based in California. She earned a master's from Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. Her choreography has premiered in “The Three Musketeers,” “Big Love,” and “Fyoo Zh En.” Current productions include “Love,” “Betty,” and “IMPRINTS.” She is originally from Cleveland, Ohio.




(440) 826-2239,

Jeff Herrmann
Chair, Department of Theatre and Dance

Full-Time Acting Faculty

Victoria Bussert
Director, Music Theatre Program
Professor of Theatre

René Copeland
Assistant Professor
Directing Program Coordinator

Anjanette Hall
Assistant Professor

Keira Lea McDonald
Associate Professor
Movement Specialist

Brennan Murphy
Associate Professor
Acting, Voice

Full-Time Dance Faculty

Gregory Daniels
Associate Professor
Dance Program Coordinator
Jazz, Tap

Annika Sheaff
Assistant Professor
Ballet, Modern Dance

Sara Whale
Assistant Professor
Ballet, Modern, Improv, Choreography

Full-Time Design/Tech Faculty

Tesia Benson
Assistant Professor
Make-up, Costume Construction

Jeff Herrmann
Chair, Department of Theatre and Dance

David Allen Stoughton
Assistant Professor

Charlotte Yetman
Costume Design Program Coordinator

Adjunct Faculty

Laura Welsh Berg
Lecturer, Acting
M.F.A., DePaul University

Melanie Boeman
Costume Shop Manager

Martin Friedman
Theatre Literature

Dylan Fujimura
Technical Director

Shannon B. Fujimura
B.F.A., Kent State University
Stage Management

Kim Gladden
M.D., George Washington University School of Medicine

Tracy Grady
Area Coordinator, Music Theatre
Singing for Actors, Voice

Heidi Harris
M.F.A., George Washington University

Lisa Ortenzi
Creative Dramatics

Dusten Welch
Resident Fight Director, Stage Combat


Shelly Taylor
Administrative Assistant

Josh Padgett
Assistant Technical Director