The Department of Theatre maintains a high profile of activity in regional and national organizations and conferences, such as the American College Theatre Festival (ACTF) and University/Regional Theatre Auditions (U/RTA), and United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT).
ACTF holds its regional festival every January, and the department typically sends a group of students, who have distinguished themselves through participation on productions and faculty review, to participate in workshops and performance and design competitions and see shows from other institutions. Past festivals have been held in Denver, Kansas City, Bloomington and Ames, among other sites including UNI. On more than one occasion students from UNI have placed as finalists in the Irene Ryan Acting Competition and the Barbizon Design Competition. The university has typically supported travel and registration costs for qualified students.
University/Regional Theatre Auditions can provide access for graduating seniors to a number of graduate professional training programs. Typically held in Chicago, the Auditions provide an opportunity for performers, designers, stage managers and others to interview, show portfolios and audition for all member schools. Students must be nominated by a faculty member before attending U/RTA’s.
One of the functions of the UNI Student Chapter of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) is to help raise funds for students to attend the annual National Conference of the organization. Students attend workshops, have opportunities for job interviews and portfolio reviews, and see demonstrations and samples of some of the latest equipment and technology for theatre.
The department, in cooperation with the University, also provides numerous opportunities for students to study abroad in such places as Poland, Russia, Japan, England, Mexico, Spain, and Germany. Most recently students have participated in Master Classes in Acing at the St. Petersburg State Academy of Dramatic Arts in Russia.
The department also arranges opportunities for students to travel to major metropolitan areas in the region to attend professional productions. Trips to such venues as Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, the Guthrie in Minneapolis and the Des Moines Civic Center have been supported with departmental Experiential Learning funding.
The department encourages students to seek professional theatre work in the summer and professional internships at any time of the year. To that end, the department helps students identify and prepare for appropriate auditions and also helps students pursue professional internships as a way to partially fulfill degree requirements.