Mentoring for your college auditions | The MT Project

There’s just something about being on stage that I can’t really describe. It’s almost like being transported to this magical place where nothing else in the whole world matters. You know when you see something or hear something, and it just feels like perfection? It’s like that.

All I know is that I want to do this for the rest of my life.

There’s just something about being on stage that I can’t really describe. It’s almost like being transported to this magical place where nothing else in the whole world matters. You know when you see something or hear something, and it just feels like perfection? It’s like that.

All I know is that I want to do this for the rest of my life.

There’s just something about being on stage that I can’t really describe. It’s almost like being transported to this magical place where nothing else in the whole world matters. You know when you see something or hear something, and it just feels like perfection? It’s like that.

All I know is that I want to do this for the rest of my life.

Whatever your goal may be, it’s our mission to ensure that you achieve it.

And with us, advice is always free.

Marymount Manhattan College

Your name: Anna Whitty

School you attend: Marymount Manhattan College

Major and degree type: BFA Acting (with a minor in drama therapy)

Expected graduation date: May 2016

What initially drew you to your school? What made it your final choice?: MMC was one of the friendliest schools I have ever been to, as well as it had an amazing theatre program and living in NYC is a definite perk. When it came down to decisions, after I sat in on an acting class, saw the training and expertise from the teachers I knew that this was the place for me. Also the scholarships really helped.

What was your audition experience like with this school? Was it different than other schools you auditioned for?: Marymount was the only school to have group auditions. Meaning that as a group I went into an audition room, with maybe 10-14 other students, we all warmed up together and then we auditioned together. Meaning that one by one we went in front of the classroom and the two/three professors (people auditioning you), introduced ourselves, then preformed our monologues. MMC prides itself on the audition process having a classroom like feel, with notes given and a more laid back feel.

What do you feel your program’s strengths are?:
– Individual attention, it’s great to be somewhere, where professors and other faculty know not only your name, but your strengths and weaknesses.
– Theatre, is one of my school’s strongest majors, so it’s great to know that the arts program is not limited, or weak or ignored.
– Uniqueness, is everywhere in MMC. The school has some funny and intense classes, while it also allows you to take classes in your major starting freshman year which is awesome.

What do you like best about the faculty?: Imagine talking to adults, that do not just inspire you but also create motivation for you. It’s crazy to have teachers that speak certain things that you have been thinking for years, and then suddenly it seems to make sense when they explain it. The teachers here, especially for my major, love what they are doing, so they are more interesting to watch and easier to pay attention to.

What is your campus like?: Well if you read in any brochure, “NYC is your campus”. And that is true and it’s not. My actual classes are all in one building in the upper east side, so there is no football field or cheerleading or frat-houses. But at the same time, I have the entire city. I can walk around central park, or go to any of the libraries that I want, and it’s liberating.

Do you feel your program places any particular emphasis on acting, dancing or singing, or is each area completely equal?: I am in the acting program, so I can only talk about that program. But in the acting program we also study ‘movement’ which is all about becoming more physical and free in your body and acting. We also take voice and speech, and classes that will help form the base of our acting. I think it’s awesome even though I do not have dance lessons and voice lessons that there are still lessons on how to work with my body as a whole, which is needed as an actor.  I do know in the Musical Theatre major, that they have daily dance and weekly voice lessons.

What types of techniques do you study? How do these techniques influence your program as a whole?: My program prides itself in being a mash up of all the studies in theatre and not solely as a ‘Meisner’ or ‘Stanislavsky’ program, but rather a jumble of studies. This idea of being a jack-of-all-trades is great for the professional world and the academic world. It allows me to be open to any sort of direction that I may be given and be able to see other techniques rather than be closed minded to just one. In my Movement class, we have studied the Laban Theory, as well as touching upon many others. The amount of influences and teachers and reading material that is in my program can be overwhelming at times, but also very inspirational.

What are the performance opportunities at your school?: Okay, so as a BFA acting major you are required to audition for the Main stage and DPs (Directing Projects) no matter what. We have a total of 4 main stage shows a year, (2 plays and 2 musicals), and then different amounts of DPs (directed by students in a directing class and performed in the blackbox), there are also auditions for the communication arts department’s videos (they have a class that requires them to film) and auditions for other small plays in the school (10 one act plays) and then there are clubs that perform plays.

What are your tech requirements as a student?: You must complete a tech class before you graduate. Different tech classes have different hours requirements, and you are able to choose the type of tech you take (costuming, light, stagecraft, ect.) But considering I am honestly in an amazing stagecraft class, I don’t think this should ever be a problem or considered bad. It’s really cool to learn about the stage from another point of view as well as picking up new skills.

Does your school encourage arts related work outside of your program? If so, do they have someone to help you coordinate this work?: Here’s the deal. You can’t come to MMC just to work in the city. And you can never lie to anyone in the program (that’d just be bad). However if you are able to talk to the heads of the department and not miss classes for an audition, that they okay you to go to, and then if you by chance are able to book whatever it is and the school okays everything and you don’t miss class, then, I have been told they are always helpful. It’s said that my school hopes if you book something it will help you with your training, for that is the main reason you are in the school in the first place. Also nothing is ever supposed to come before your school work. There are a lot of rules, however I recently auditioned for summerstock, and my school was perfectly okay with it. Basically (and sorry to be so long in a response!) be honest, with whatever it is, whether you are looking for jobs or want to audition for somewhere or may have an opportunity and it is a case by case thing.

How many men and how many women are in your class? Is this typical of other current classes in your program?: I am pretty sure there are 50 kids in the BFA Acting program in my year. But in each class for my major I have less than 14, and in my core classes I have less than 25. It may seem large, but the school is very individual and I never feel like I have a huge program for my actual acting class seems small.

Does your program have a cut system?: No… but there is a different kind of evaluation process. In the BFA program (which is insanely rigorous) (I’m pretty sure) at the end of sophomore year we are evaluated and seen if we are progressing in our grades as a student and in our acting. Either yes we are, or no we aren’t. If we aren’t then we are put on probation, and evaluated again junior year. And if by chance it shows that we are not progressing, you may after conferences be dropped to the BA program. However I have talked to some people this has happened to, and they stayed at the school, and they said how they knew it was coming, for they were not doing the work or felt like it was too intense for them, and were happier in the BA program. My school will not drop you from the school because of talent, like other schools I have heard about.

Are you aware of anyone who has been offered professional work while studying? Were they encouraged to leave or stay? Is their spot in the program held?: It depends case by case. I know students that work while in class, and make sure to work  their class schedules around it. And it has been said that there are some kids that have been able to work outside of the school and their position was held. But I have not known these personal kids that left and kept their positions. But it all involves talking and being honest with the school and it’s program, and it also depends on your priories and how big of an opportunity it is.

Does your program do a senior showcase? What cities do you showcase in? Is every student invited to perform? If not, how are the students chosen?: Yes we do a senior showcase. I do not know details however, but I am pretty sure that you have to be chosen, or audition for the showcase. We are in NYC so I know the showcase takes place here, and am unsure of any other locations.

How many classes (or credit hours) do you take based in the arts? How many gen eds?: The easiest way (without numbers) is thinking that 3 classes are for your major and 2 classes are for your minor/elective/gen eds. It ends up with the Acting BFA having 60 credits.

Please share your class schedule with descriptions of your classes: I am in my second semester as a freshman and in three classes for my major (Acting, Stage Craft and Movement) And two classes are gen.ed/elective or minor classes (Psychology and Writ 102). My acting and movement classes are year long, so I am in the same class as I was last year which is great because I don’t feel rushed. And last semester I was in script analysis, math and writ 101.

Feel free to share anything else about your program that you think is relevant for us to know, or what makes it great!: My school is big on the arts, on the small side and very honest. There are bio, psych and business majors scattered about, but the majority of the school is majoring in acting, musical theatre or dance. As well as my school is around 2,000 kids in total. But when it comes down to it, because you are surrounded by the city and tons of kids your age, it doesn’t seem like a small school but only that the classes aren’t lecture halls and the teachers know your names. Also it is known to be a ‘love or hate’ school. And thankfully I love it. But it does require research, talking to current students and attending a class, and I’m glad I did all that!

Would students interested in your program be free to contact you? If so, please list your e-mail address: I would love questions or any sort of comments. I am so happy that I found my school, and genuinely like it. If you want to talk about anything you can reach me at awhitty@mmm.edu

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