The Professional Actor Training Program (PATP) prepares advanced students for a career as a professional actor. Led by a faculty of working theater practitioners, the school offers an intensive three-year practical program. The training is dedicated to the goal of producing well rounded, skillful actors who are as comfortable exploring the mysteries of the inner life as they are in meeting the external demands of technique—actors at home in any theatrical environment, regardless of content, style, or period. Particular emphasis is placed on conditioning the actor’s vocal and physical instruments. Development of a reliable process for approaching and rehearsing a role makes up a vital part of the work. The program also includes career studies aimed at fostering an understanding of the entertainment business.
Immersion in the acting, voice, and movement studios constitutes the bulk of the first two years. Additional coursework includes text analysis, dramatic literature, theater history, special areas of movement, and audition technique.
The Acting Studio.
The first year of training features a back-to-basics curriculum concentrating on the authentic use of self, the reality of doing, and living truthfully within imaginary circumstances. The classical repertory forms the basis for the second year of work, with an emphasis on the Greeks, Shakespeare, Moliere, and Restoration comedy.
The third year is devoted exclusively to an internship at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Students are auditioned by the Artistic Director of Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park early in spring of the second year. If the audition is successful, the student is invited to spend the third year in residence as a member of the acting intern company. The interns understudy main stage roles, perform small roles on the main stage, attend workshops, and are occasionally assigned to crew or work in the box office. A final thesis show is produced at the end of the internship.
The first 10 weeks are dedicated to the diagnosis of individual needs. In succeeding quarters, performance opportunities abound. Every actor performs a practicum role each quarter, either in the School of Theater’s mainstage offerings or in its many laboratory productions. Special stress is placed on the emerging ability to synthesize the lessons learned in the studio with the practical realities of his or her casting.
Some actors are afforded the opportunity to participate in a full summer of performance activities at Monomoy Theater on Cape Cod. Operated in conjunction with the Ohio University School of Theater, Monomoy has for 40 years been a memorable experience for students and public alike. Students may receive up to 18 credit hours in acting practicum, which count toward graduation and usually earn points toward their Equity Membership.
There is continual communication among the PATP faculty members, aimed at monitoring and advancing the training of each student. Quarterly evaluations are scheduled to inform students of their progress and outline specific areas of strength and weakness. Students showing consistent growth are invited by the faculty to continue in the succeeding year of training.
Admission to the program is by interview and audition conducted at the University/Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA) National Unified Auditions in New York, Chicago, and the West Coast, as well as on the OU campus in Athens. The PATP is open to a limited number of talented, mature, and motivated students. Minimum requirements for the M.F.A. include 78 credit hours in acting courses, 10 credits in acting practicum, 2 credits in technical or management practicum, 2 credits in introduction to graduate studies, 12 credits in history/ criticism/literature, 12 credits in thesis production, and 15 credits in internship. Independent studies and/or electives comprise the remaining requirements.