Two student actors perform on a dramatically lit stage. They stand apart and look back at one another.
Undergraduate | In-Person

Theatre Performance, BFA

Become a storyteller both on and off stage through immersive performance experiences.

Why Major in Theatre Performance? 

The Performance Emphasis is designed for students who are interested in a career as a professional actor in theater and other performance mediums. The Performance emphasis is intensive training for serious actors.

Through a wide variety of performance opportunities, our students are challenged to grow in their craft through hands-on experience.

Our students are immersed in innovative courses and labs that challenge them to become better storyteller. Performance opportunities are numerous with 6-10 theatrical productions a year and an average of 50-80 roles a semester.

Additionally, performance opportunities are available through students films as well as with our local partners, the Nashville Repertory Theatre, Nashville Children's Theatre and Nashville Shakespeare Festival.

What You'll Learn

  • Intensive professional training and knowledge of the industry
  • Performance opportunities starting your freshman year
  • Acting for camera and stage
  • Business of show business
  • Audition/portfolio guidance
A female student dances on stage.

Career Possibilities

  • Professional actors in mediums such as stage, film, television, commercials, voiceovers, podcasts and everything in between.
  • Arts-related graduate degree programs
  • Arts management
  • Screenwriter
  • Production management

Program Details


Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre with an emphasis in Performance majors complete 128 hours of coursework over the course of their undergraduate career. This includes 50 hours of performance requirements that gives our students the necessary training for industry success.

  • BELL Core Requirements: 38 Hours (minimum)
  • Theatre Core: 24 Hours
  • Performance Requirements: 50 Hours
  • Theatre Electives: 6 Hours
  • General Electives: 10 Hours (minimum)

Learn more about the degree requirements

Courses you'll take

TDR 3080, Acting II

Devoted to the study and application of specific contemporary acting systems, including those developed by Stanislavski, Meisner, Adler and Hagen. Emphasis is placed on intensive individual and group scene work.

TDR 4080, Acting III

Intensive scene study and character analysis with the goal of honing the actor’s personal technique. Class will culminate in a final presentation of scenes or one-acts.

TDR 4180, Acting IV

An examination of classical drama and the practical approaches to acting classical dramatic literature. The course will involve extensive textual analysis, performance and the study of the history of classical theatre. This class will involve exercises and extensive monologue and/or scene work from classical playwrights. The class will culminate in a final presentation of scenes.

TDR 2200, Stage Movement I

A performance-based course that provides an examination on the developmental and practice of movement for the actor. The work will center on physical awareness and exercises designed to provide the student with means to develop a sustained physical process, which supports and enhances acting impulse and character development. The course will culminate in the presentation of the group movement project.

TDR 3200, Stage Movement II

A continuation of Stage Movement I, this course provides an examination on the development and practice of movement for the actor with focus on the techniques of Michael Chekhov and Viewpoints. This course will place additional emphasis on physical awareness, improvisation, imagination, psychological gesture and group work exercises designed to provide the student with means to develop a sustained physical process, which supports and enhances acting impulse and character development. The course will culminate in a presentation of a movement piece.

TDR 2100, Stage Voice and Diction I

A performance-based course that focuses on the examination of the individual voice, centering on its physical properties, resonance, tone, flexibility, range and articulation of language through a series of dramatic selections for transmitting meaning and emotion of character. Emphasis is placed on developing the body, breath and support, the free and placed voice along with the articulatory skills required for speaking Standard American English.

TDR 3100, Stage Voice & Diction II

A continuation of TDR 2100 Stage Voice and Diction I, this performance-based course focuses on the exploration of the actor’s voice. Emphasis will be placed on centers of resonance, effective breathing and using and manipulating the tools given to the actor through text. Students will engage in breathing and voice exercises for ongoing vocal development with a focus on precise techniques as well as perform a series of creative projects. Course includes dialect work and an introduction to the International Phonetic.

TDR 2120, Audition/Portfolio I

Focus on basic audition preparation, portfolio development and resume techniques.

TDR 3120, Audition/Portfolio II

Extensive individual coaching in style and presentation of audition material, design portfolios, directing books and monologues. Students will develop audition technique, audition and portfolio material and professional resumes in preparation for professional work.

DAN 2410, Theatre Dance Styles

An introduction to dance styles from the Renaissance to the present day including dances of the folk, court, social and theatrical traditions, with focus on their adaptation to performance and theatre.

TDR 4015, Senior Capstone in Theatre

This course is the culminating experience in the major, and also addresses the goals for the Senior Capstone as defined in the BELL Core Curriculum, including reflection on the student’s academic experience and on the transition from the university setting to professional life. The senior may produce, direct, design or act in a project to be chosen by the student and the student’s advisor. Additionally, the senior will be responsible for all aspects of the production, including production management and budgeting. This project may be completed on or off campus, may be completed solely or with a partner, and must culminate in a major performance and presentation. This course is to be taken in the final year of residence before graduation. Repeatable up to a total of 3 credit hours.


Any combination of Dance Technique courses from Ballet, Jazz, Tap or Modern

Click on the links below to explore the variety of opportunities our students have to engage with the theatre community.

Professional Theatres in Residence


Student Theatre

Study Away

See Our Calendar of Events

The Belmont University Department of Theatre and Dance is a fully-accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST).

The B.F.A. programs in the Department of Theatre require an audition or portfolio submission The audition or portfolio submission determines admission into the Department of Theatre and Dance, which is separate from the University's admission decision.

After submitting the Application for Undergraduate Admission, applicants to the Department of Theatre and Dance will receive an email prompting them to complete the Undergraduate Department of Theatre and Dance Audition Registration Form in their BU4U account. They will choose their intended in-person audition date or the video audition option.

The Department of Theatre and Dance does not prescreen for any of its programs.

Learn more about the audition process

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Contact Us

College of Music & Performing Arts

Alex Routen
Admissions Coordinator
(615) 460.8116
Email Alex