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To BA or not to BA? That is the question.

Hello, readers and theatre-lovers! Downstage Arts has officially launched the 2021-2022 Teen Cohort Program, cue Happy Dance! We are enthusiastic for our second year working alongside our students in support of their artistic goals and dreams.

In our first meeting as a collective, we asked our new students what prompted their artistic journeys and why they are pursuing the arts. When we take time to reflect and deeply connect to why we love theatre, it helps us dictate exactly what to do about it. As our group discussion progressed, some individuals asked about different theatre degrees and expressed uncertainty as to what trajectory would be the right fit for them. Deciding whether to pursue a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is a common conundrum for prospective theatre students. So, what does a BA and BFA degree mean exactly, what’s the difference between the two, and which one is better?

Simply put, BFA programs offer students intensely focused curricula, whereas BA programs give students broader approaches to the arts while allowing more time in the course schedules to explore other areas of study. Students who are interested in double majoring or double minoring will benefit from BA programs, while individuals who desire a conservatory or conservatory-like program might enjoy what a BFA offers. Often, the description and comparison above do not provide our students with the answers that they are seeking. It can take time to determine what path is right for you, but here’s the important part: both are incredible pathways to the arts! Neither one is better than the other. It’s true, theatre professionals come from all kinds of different backgrounds and training.

Each of us DSA Teen Cohort Instructors obtained a different degree in the arts. Our correlative love for theatre has brought each of us to Downstage Arts, where we share and teach students about our individual and unique field(s) of study. We do our best to help our students recognize that none of our degrees or universities are better than the others. It can be problematic when theatre students can be made to feel otherwise, but we, at DSA, strongly believe that there are many meaningful paths to achieving success in the arts.

Until next time, Downstagers! You are you, and that is your artistry!

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