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FSU Best Value in Performing Arts

Published August 11, 2014


Edited by Helena Hoayun

Florida State University’s College of Fina Art is home to several of the most successful and affordable performing arts programs in the world. The value of FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training and the School of Theatre was recently highlighted in both the Hollywood Reporter and the Huffington Post, comparing the College to schools such as NYU’s Tisch School Of The Arts, The Juilliard School, Yale School of Drama, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and many more. Peter Weishar, Dean of the College of Fine Arts expresses the profoundness of the programs’ international recognition within the top 25 of their disciplines, while maintaining an affordable value:

Peter Weishar, Dean of CVATD

Peter Weishar, Dean of CFA

It is quite an honor to be in such impressive company. Our programs are the only ones that are consistently ranked so high while being the least expensive; without question, Florida State University offers outstanding value in performing arts training and education. We have very strong placement rates and a long history of success stories for our graduates. It is important for a young person to start their careers without the burden of substantial debt, and we are proud to provide exceptional educational opportunities for our students at such an impressive value.

Peter Weishar, Dean of the College of Fine Arts

FSU/Asolo Offers Affordable Quality Education to Graduate Students

Part of Florida State University’s performing arts programs is the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, which is a three-year graduate program culminating in a Master of Fine Arts degree. Only twelve students are chosen each year from the thousands who audition nationwide to work in a program that combines rigorous classroom training with guest artist workshops and professional production experience. Graduates of the program have appeared on and off Broadway, in regional theatres, in feature films and on television.

Andrei Malaev-Babel, Associate Professor of Theatre at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, states that Asolo’s high standards, quality teaching and affordability is what attracts some of the best students in the country. This encourages financial support from the community and several institutional partners, which enables Asolo to “offer exceptional education at affordable prices.”

I feel certain that we will continue to attract the highest caliber students, who otherwise may not have been able to afford our program. Talented, dedicated students, multiplied by some of the most innovative and effective teaching methods and techniques in the field, will ensure our high standing, and our success for years to come.

Andrei Malaev-Babel, Associate Professor of Theatre at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training


Greg Leaming, director of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory PHOTO/THOMAS BENDER

The Director of Asolo, Greg Leaming, agrees that the faculty and students together create a desirable program that validates Asolo’s placement in the top 25 internationally, and ultimately bolsters the students’ resumes:

 The conservatory’s placement in the top 25 means that the profile of the organization has expanded. More and more people get to know what we’re doing. Frankly, it’s validation for what we’ve been saying, that the kind of training we do, the faculty we have and the work the students with Asolo Rep combine to give students a truly spectacular résumé when they get out of here.

Greg Leaming, Director of FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training

FSU School of Theatre Provides Superior Education at a Low Price

The School of Theatre is also one of the top-tier training programs in the nation and offers students an affordable, yet comprehensive education in preparation for entrance into the professional theatre industry. Jean Lickson, the director of BFA in acting, says that the theatre program is one of the few to offer an undergraduate Senior Showcase, where the BFA actors demonstrate their talents in Los Angeles while the Musical Theatre students perform in New York. Lickson says that proof of the theatre’s extraordinary training is seen as alumni appear on Broadway, television, featured films and regional theatres. He also expresses how remarkable the price is for such quality education:

The value is incredible considering you are paying state university tuition for a first rate theatre training program.

Jean Lickson, Director of the BFA in Acting

Faculty Work Ethic Helps Raise the College of Fine Arts to the Top 25

The faculty at both FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training and the School of Theatre is one of the main reasons for the programs’ placement in the top 25. The College of Fine Arts encourages the faculty’s artistic work, research and publication, according to Andrei Malaev-Babel. This makes our College a thriving placenot only for the students, but for the faculty as well for teaching, learning, acting innovation and development.

It is such opportunities for constant development and growth that put FSU/Asolo on the list of the top 10 graduate acting training programs in the nation, and top 25 in the English-speaking world.

Andrei Malaev-Babel, Associate Professor of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training

Faculty members are all experts in their fields, which encompasses voice-training, analysis of texts, Shakespeare and much more. Evan Reynold White, who is a second-year MFA student with Asolo, attests to this, saying that just one year of training has prepared him enough for professional acting work:

The faculty is absolutely top-notch….The professionals we get the chance to work with are nothing less than world-class, from Broadway actors to very influential directors and artists. I can say without any doubt that I already feel, after only 1 year, that I have improved drastically in my craft. If I had to leave the program tomorrow, I would feel confident in entering the acting pools in NYC or LA.

Evan Reynolds White, second year MFA student, FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training

Low Tuition for Best Education Attracts Students

Graph of least expensive and most expensive performing arts degrees

OS= Out of State, IS= In State

Besides the outstanding faculty, one of the biggest factors that makes Florida State University’s performing arts programs so attractive is that the tuition is affordable, especially for the high-end education that the students receive. Mary Ann Denard from the Huffington Post recently published an online article discussing with parents and college representatives the cost of a performing arts college education and the risks for families taking on debt.

She references a partial list of the most expensive and the least expensive BA and BFA musical theatre programs. These estimates were compiled by parents on the College Confidential discussion forum:

Every FSU/Asolo Conservatory MFA candidate receives a full tuition waiver from Florida State University and an assistantship to help defray living expenses, supported by Asolo Scholarship donors. The Asolo Repertory Theatre and Florida State University together fund the second year students’ studies in London.

The scholarships from the School of Theatre gave me the comfort to truly focus on my craft….These scholarships are helping me to achieve my dreams, and that is a beautiful gift.

Destiny Thompson, 2014 BA student, School of Theatre

The tuition waiver for the MFA program provided by FSU was a huge factor for me when it came to choosing the graduate program I wanted to attend. I would not have settled for an inferior MFA program just because it was more affordable, but the fact that FSU’s program is so highly ranked as well as affordable made it a very clear choice for me.

Evan Reynolds White, second year MFA student, FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training

These testimonials truly show how Florida State University has the best value for its high quality performing arts programs. Without the professional faculty and the dedicated students, FSU/Asolo Conservatory and the School of Theatre would not be where it is today. The fact that Florida State University offers some of the lowest tuitions for such highly rated programs is impressive. It is without a doubt the main reason why Florida State University’s College of Fine Arts attracts the best students nationwide.