Acting in the Academy : The History of Professional Actor Training in US Higher Education book cover
1st Edition

Acting in the Academy
The History of Professional Actor Training in US Higher Education

ISBN 9780367873165
Published December 10, 2019 by Routledge
236 Pages

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Book Description

There are over 150 BFA and MFA acting programs in the US today, nearly all of which claim to prepare students for theatre careers. Peter Zazzali contends that the curricula of these courses represent an ethos that is as outdated as it is limited, given today’s shrinking job market for stage actors. 

Acting in the Academy traces the history of actor training in universities to make the case for a move beyond standard courses in voice and speech, movement, or performance, to develop an entrepreneurial model that motivates and encourages students to create their own employment opportunities. This book answers questions such as:

  • How has the League of Professional Theatre Training Programs shaped actor training in the US?

  • How have training programmes and the acting profession developed in relation to one another?

  •  What impact have these developments had on American acting as an art form?

Acting in the Academy calls for a reconceptualization of actor training the US, and looks to newly empower students of performance with a fresh, original perspective on their professional development.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Challenges Facing US Acting and Actor Training Today

Chapter 2 20th Century US Acting and Actor Training: From Stanislavsky to the


Chapter 3 Putting the League in Its Socio-historical Context

Chapter 4 Exploring the League’s "Uneasy Dichotomy" With Higher Education

Chapter 5 The Rise of the "New Breed" of American Actors and the League’s


Chapter 6 Empowering Actors: An Entrepreneurial Approach

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Peter Zazalli is Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University of Kansas.