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Program Overview

The Theatre programs at York immerse students in all aspects of theatre, fostering the ability to specialize or to assume a wide range of roles and apply various approaches to performance. Incoming students share a common first-year curriculum where they experience the various fields of theatre and performance. At the end of first year, students can apply to programs according to their interests and goals*. Throughout, students work in creative and production teams for department shows, including Theatre@York productions. 

*Entry into some programs in second year is by audition or interview. 

Sample Courses

As a Theatre student you can take courses like:

Career Possibilities

As a Theatre student you can become:

  • Performer
  • Artistic Director
  • Stage Designer
  • Playwright 
  • Producer

Degree Level
Undergraduate

Degrees Offered
Bachelor of Arts (BA) Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) 

Department
Theatre, Dance & Performance

Duration
4 years

Entry Options
Fall, Winter, Summer

Next Steps

We’re excited that you’re considering applying to York University's School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD). Check out our step-by-step guide to submitting an application.

Immerse Yourself in Theatre at AMPD

One of Canada’s largest and most comprehensive theatre programs.

A dynamic season of fully mounted plays, festivals, and studio productions.  

Connections with professional artists active in all aspects of the industry.  

Multiple pathways to choose from.  

State-of-the-art facilities. 

Professional placement opportunities.  

Year One

The first year is a Foundation Year common to all Theatre students, and includes courses in Acting, Production and Design, and Performance Creation. At the end of the first year, students may apply, either by audition or interview, to move into one of the BFA degree programs, or continue as BA students. All students accepted into the Theatre Program in AMPD enter as Honours BA Theatre majors, during which there are plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning and being involved in the many aspects of theatre making.

First Year Highlights 
  • Prime Time, held throughout the year, offers students the chance to connect with esteemed alumni and industry professionals and engage openly on issues relevant to theatre makers. 
  • PlayGROUND, is a student-run theatre festival that offers students a chance to showcase their talents and work collaboratively with friends and colleagues to mount new works. 
  • Each first-year student has a dedicated faculty advisor who provides support and guidance. Students are encouraged to meet with faculty advisors at least once each term. 
Sample Courses
  • Intro to Acting 
  • Intro to Stagecraft 
  • Intro to Theatre & Performance

Years Two to Four

Performance Creation (BA and BFA) 

The Theatre Department offers two Performance Creation programs: one leading to a BA Honours with a focus on academic study, and the other resulting in a BFA Honours with an emphasis on studio practice. 

The BFA program equips students to navigate various artistic roles in collaborative performance settings. It emphasizes original work creation across disciplines such as creating, writing, designing, and performing. It encourages exploration of diverse interests and approaches to performance, from theatre creation and education to activist and community-based performance. 

The BA program delves into dramatic and performance theory, history, criticism, and theatre education. Specializations include Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy or Devised Theatre. The BA is recommended for students considering graduate or teaching degrees.

Program Highlights 
  • Gain active and detailed knowledge of the history and current practice of Theatre and Performance in Canada. 
  • Specialize in Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy and learn to write and develop work for live performance or Devised Theatre, which focuses on group creation of original works, incorporating all playmaking elements from writing, design, and management to performance. 
  • Pursue interdisciplinary interests, combining Theatre with such other fields as Education, Psychology, Anthropology, English or Religious Studies. 
Specialization in Playwriting

The Playwriting specialization offers practical workshops focusing on the development of the playwright and developmental dramaturg. Aspects of playwriting, such as action, dramatic structure, plot, dialogue, characterization, subtext, and thematic development, are addressed, through the lens of individual voice and style. The series of courses emphasizes the development process as well as the creative product. The goal of these courses is for each participant to develop, understand, and apply an individualized method and practice of play creation. Placement in the program occurs at the end of the first year, pending winter term grades.

Specialization in Devised Theatre

Devised Theatre offers students an intensive curriculum in devising and performing original theatre pieces. This interdisciplinary series of courses is taught by faculty from all three areas of the department: Acting, Production and Performance Creation. Students in the BA and BFA can take the series of courses. Placement in the program occurs at the end of the first year, pending winter term grades. 

Students in this Specialization can expect: 

  • to deepen their historical and interdisciplinary understanding of devised theatre 
  • to be exposed to a variety of methods for devising theatre in group contexts 
  • to train to work in multiple areas of theatrical production 
  • to build original works that are presented in the Devised Theatre Festival 

Production & Design (BFA Honours) 

This program engages students in all elements of theatrical design and stage production, combining hands-on technical skills with the creative, storytelling aspects of theatre in course work and studio settings. 

Specialized courses in set, costume, lighting, media and sound design, complement studies in sustainability, technical direction and management. Graduates are thriving as designers, producers, technicians and theatre managers across Canada and around the globe. 

Production and Design students participate in more than one specialization, allowing both intense study in a specific discipline and broader exposure to interconnected specializations.

Program Highlights 
  • Ability to combine a variety of specializations to suit individual interests and goals: 
    • Theatre Design – set, lighting, costume, media 
    • Construction – costume, scenery, props, lighting, sound and media 
    • Management – production management, technical direction, stage management 
  • Engage in all aspects of production and design for live performance, from front-of-house to sound design. 
  • Work hands-on with all aspects of design and production for shows presented by Theatre@York. 

Acting & Performance (BFA Honours)

The Acting & Performance Programs offer either a focused or flexible approach to rigorous training by integrating training in Devised Theatre and Acting through the BFA in Acting & Performance or the BFA in Performance Creation. Students study acting, devising, voice, movement, and special skills over the 3 final years of the degree, which are then applied to performances. Students map their own route through the program, with flexible options for studio courses in third and fourth year. Upper-year students perform on Theatre@York’s mainstage, which features Canadian and international, classic and contemporary plays, or as part of the Devised Theatre Festival, created in collaboration with students in the Devised Theatre specialization.

Program Highlights 
  • Immersion in all facets of performance: physical, emotional, and vocal exploration, contemporary and classical text, period style and on-camera technique. 
  • Learn with faculty whose work has been presented on stages, on screens, in festivals and in publications around the world, and who bring leading-edge practice and theory together in the classroom. 
  • Perform and create in state-of-the-art facilities. From backstage to on stage, AMPD’s facilities are considered among the best in the world. 

Explore Student Work

Jenny Samuels

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Atoosa Moshashee

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Mark Appleton

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John Francis

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What AMPD Students Say

My first-year experience as a theatre and performance student was transformational. Sure, I had heard of York University’s reputation as one of the best theatre schools around, though I was never aware of how comprehensive it was – from hands-on tech and design to a deeper understanding of theatre and performance. But it doesn’t end there… What truly amazed me was the collaborative nature of art, working with peers in a spontaneous whirlwind of creativity; it was electric and eclectic – with one idea begetting another, then another and another – kind of like jazz but better. The AMPD program lets you explore the entire world of theatre, so you can really find your groove – and fly. I cannot wait to stream into 2nd year!

William K, Year 1 Theatre Student  

Get in Touch

Reach out to us for more information on our programs, upcoming events, open houses, and applying to AMPD. We're here to assist you with any questions you may have and to help guide you through the application process.

FAQs

  • For Fall 2024-25 Entrants: All Theatre students start as Specialized Honours BA Theatre students and do a General First Year that introduces them to all aspects of Theatre, including Acting, Production/Design, and Performance Creation & Research.  
  • For Fall 2025-26 Entrants: Students may apply for direct entry to the BFA Hons in Production & Design or the BFA Hons in Performance Creation through a supplementary evaluation. All other students can apply for the BA Hons Theatre, which does not require a supplementary evaluation.  
  • At the end of their first year, students choose their path in our Next Steps process to enter Performance Creation, Devised Theatre, Playwriting, Production/Design, or the Acting and Performance Programs.
  • Theatre applicants for Fall/Winter 2024-25 are admitted based on GPA.   
  • Theatre applicants for Fall/Winter 2025-26 who are applying for the BFA Performance Creation or the BFA Production & Design apply for a supplementary evaluation. 
  • Theatre applicants who apply for the BA Hons Theatre are admitted based on GPA.  
  • To check the requirements, please visit the Admission Requirements page.

Visit the How to Apply page for more information and step-by-step instructions on applying to our programs.

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