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Eckerd College adds new BFA Programs in Theatre and Musical Theatre

By Robbyn Hopewell
Published October 23, 2019
Categories: Academics, Musical Theatre, Theatre

Ambitious thespians can take their Theatre education from white sand beaches to the Great White Way because of a new partnership between St. Petersburg’s Eckerd College and Circle in the Square Theatre School—the only conservatory program housed in a Broadway theater.

Beginning in Fall 2019, students interested in earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre or Musical Theatre can apply to be admitted to the 2+2 BFA Program and spend two years getting a liberal arts education at Eckerd and two years receiving conservatory training at Circle in the Square in New York City. Applicants can start at either institution, but must meet the admission and audition requirements of each.

“This new program presents a wonderful opportunity for students serious about taking a broader approach to a career in the theatre arts,” said Suzan Harrison, vice president of academics and dean of faculty at Eckerd College. “Learning the craft of theatre from world-class, paid and practicing professionals will be paired with a foundation in the liberal arts that will teach the student how to learn, analyze, think critically, work in groups and understand human behavior—the bedrock of becoming a well-rounded citizen.”

Sara Louise Lazarus, a Circle senior faculty member, is very familiar with the liberal arts experience as the parent of an Eckerd College student. “Few schools train actors as effectively as Circle in the Square, and few schools provide the student-centered yet challenging education Eckerd does. This is a perfect partnership, allowing students a full college experience and a full Conservatory experience,” Lazarus explained. “This B.F.A. provides the best of both worlds.”

In more than 40 years, Circle in the Square Theatre School has produced many distinguished alumni, among them Academy Award-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tony Award-winner Idina Menzel, Tony nominee Thomas Sadoski, as well as Kevin Bacon, John C McGinley, and Maura Tierney. Circle graduates have recently played leading roles on Broadway in Wicked, Book of Mormon, Bette Midler’s Hello, Dolly!, King Kong, My Fair Lady and many more, and in the upcoming TINA: The Tina Turner Musical. They have been seen on television in Glee, The Blacklist, Bull, Hawaii Five-O, Life in Pieces, and The Middle. All Circle programs provide students with individual attention in small classes, led by a faculty that consists of some of the finest professional directors, playwrights and actors contributing to the vitality of today’s theatre, film and television.