Bachelor of Fine Arts Emphasis - Acting


The Northern Illinois University Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts degree with an Emphasis in Acting provides individualized, challenging, and disciplined training in performance. Areas of concentration are acting techniques, voice and speech, movement, text analysis, period styles, on-camera work, auditioning, and professional development.  The BFA Acting Program provides a strong foundation for working in the performing arts industry within a liberal arts curriculum and prepares actors for sustainability in the industry by not only developing acting talents but also creating space for the innovation and resiliency required to make a life in art.

The focus of the Program is to cultivate the student actor’s understanding of themselves and human behavior to more fully enable them to work authentically and truthfully on stage and screen. To achieve this, the student actor develops their dramatic imagination, responsiveness and spontaneity, a sense of conversational reality, and a capacity for a full emotional life that can be expressed with meaning and clarity.

The Program consists of a progression of coursework and exercises based on the actor training methods of Sanford Meisner and Konstantin Stanislavski, reexamined through an anti-racist lens. The Movement pedagogies include the physical training of Loyd Williamson, the teachings of Michael Chekhov, Laban Efforts, Alexander Technique, Yoga, Period Style work, and complementary mind/body techniques. The Voice and Speech training is based in Fitzmaurice Voicework with excursions into the pedagogies of Kristin Linklater, Patsy Rodenberg, Paul Meier, and the Knight/Thompson Speechwork. 

We as a faculty are committed to the work of anti-racism to create an equitable, inclusive, and diverse academic community. We seek to highlight BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) playwrights, plays, and guest artists in our production season and in our classrooms. We engage culturally competent perspectives in our curriculum and identity-conscious practices in our casting.

Our training methods are predicated on the belief that we are here to cultivate each actor’s artistic sensibilities in a collaborative training environment. As a School, we adhere to the highest standards of artistic integrity and rigor. Thus, we seek to develop the skills that go beyond application in the rehearsal room – communication, collaboration, interpersonal skills, social responsibility and awareness, emotional acumen, critical thinking, and creativity – to expand each actor’s understanding of the role of performance in community, society, and the world.

Students interested in the BFA in acting emphasis should contact Professor Bethany Mangum-Oles, 815-753-8257 or email at

Contact Us

For more information about academic programs or productions: 

Office: 815-753-1334
Fax: 815-753-8415

Box Office: 815-753-1600;