Partnership program between U and Guthrie enters its sixth year

A University program that links theater students to the Guthrie Theater is entering its sixth year.

College of Liberal Arts Dean Steven Rosenstone said the Bachelor of Fine Arts Actor Training Program is exceeding expectations every year because of the increasing quality of students in the program and the experience they get from the training.

The program is a classically based, four-year acting training program that accepts up to 20 students a year.

The students selected each year spend the entire four years in the program with one another, which includes studying abroad in the fall of their junior year.

Rosenstone said the program is now competing with the best institutions in the country for the best young talents in the country.

Before this program started in fall 2000, the University offered a master’s acting program.

The two institutions discontinued the program because the relationship between the Guthrie and the University was not intimate enough, and the University did not have the resources to compete with the best master’s programs in the country, Rosenstone said.

Auditions are held each year across the nation in cities such as San Francisco, New York City and Chicago.

“If we’re going to be in this, we’re going to be in this to be one of the best,” Rosenstone said.

A task force created by Rosenstone and Joe Dowling, the Guthrie’s artistic director, came up with the concept of the current undergraduate program.

The program that was developed has allowed students from all over the country to come together and take part in a unique University and theater experience, program alumnus Jonas Goslow said.

Ricardo Vazquez, a junior in the program, said he was adamant about not coming to the University and the program.

He is originally from Brooklyn Park, Minn., and did not want to be close to home for his college experience, he said.

Vazquez auditioned for other programs across the country, but he said the difference between the other auditions and this program was the callback weekend held in March.

“You really got to meet the faculty and the other students that were going through the same process as you were,” Vazquez said.

Vazquez said the first year was challenging because it is an introduction to an intense program.

Students started their days taking academic classes in the morning. The Bachelor of Fine Arts classes started in the afternoon and would sometimes go later than 5 p.m.

Vazquez’s class is going to London for its third semester as part of the study abroad requirement for the program.

He said he plans to go to Europe early to relax and travel before classes start.

International instructors will be in London to teach the University students.

“I’m hoping to gain a better understanding of where I am in my artistic journey,” Vazquez said.

Freelance editor Anna Weggel welcomes feedback at [email protected]