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Nebraska Wesleyan University Department of Theatre Arts admission process uses a selective recruitment approach to seek out students with exceptional talent and outstanding academic ability. The result is an extremely motivated group of creative young artists with serious attitudes toward a rigorous academic environment and an intensive theatre experience.

Auditions and Portfolio Presentations

Admission to our BFA program is based on talent, academic ability, and potential for success in a theatre-related career. Our admission process means you will benefit from small class sizes and many production opportunities.

Three simple steps:

  1. Apply to Nebraska Wesleyan University using our free online application.
  2. Upload the materials for your program of choice through Acceptd (**Unless you plan on coming to campus to audition, it is your choice whether to submit an audition on Acceptd)
  3. Email Prof. Ryan Kathman at, either to set up your campus visit and audition, or to ask any additional questions, if you have them (this step is optional).

Note: Your letters of recommendation and transcripts may be uploaded after completing the steps above. An official hard copy of your transcript and your ACT/SAT scores MUST be sent to our Admission office to complete your application. This important information will be a factor in determining your scholarship award.

Questions: Contact Ryan Kathman, Director of Recruitment, at, or the Theatre Department at

Audition Options

  • On-campus Auditions offer a comprehensive experience that will provide you with important information to make your decision about where you would like to go to school. You will be able to meet faculty and students, visit classes, see a show or rehearsal, and tour the campus. If you are able to come to an on-campus audition, you do not have to create an Acceptd account. *Special BFA Audition Days are scheduled on campus for Dec. 9, 2023 and Feb. 3, 2024!*
  • Zoom Auditions provide as close to an on-campus audition experience as possible, allowing you to Zoom in to observe some classes, be given a virtual tour of our facilities, and audition via Zoom for multiple faculty members (at least one of whom will be available for a one-on-one conversation as well).
  • Chicago Unifieds: We are intending to be in Chicago during the National Unified Auditions, Feb. 5-7, 2024, and would be happy to meet with you and see your official BFA audition (for scholarship) at that time.
  • High School Thespian Festival Auditions: If you plan to audition at one of the high school thespian festivals we are able to attend, simply follow the guidelines of the auditions program provided by the festival organizers. At most festivals our faculty representatives will post call-backs for one-on-one interviews following the auditions. *NOTE: We treat these state Thespian festivals as pre-screen auditions and they will NOT be considered for BFA Talent Scholarships alone. Materials submitted through Acceptd, however, WILL be considered, as will the three other options above. Read more about the events we plan to attend right here. 

Preparing your Audition/Portfolio

Acting Auditions
Prepare two to three contrasting, memorized one-minute monologues from contemporary or classic plays (anything written prior to 1900). If you are comfortable with Shakespeare, we would appreciate seeing 20-30 lines of a verse monologue or soliloquy for one of these pieces (but it is optional). The full audition should total between 2.5 to 3.5 minutes. The audition may also include improvisation and movement (if conducted in person).

Musical Theatre Auditions
Prepare a one-minute monologue from a modern play, sing 16-32 bars of TWO contrasting musical theatre songs, AND present a short (30-60 seconds) dance audition as well. For on-campus auditions, please bring sheet music; an accompanist will be provided, but you will need to provide your own accompaniment for Zoom auditions.

Portfolio Reviews
Directors, designers, technicians, and stage managers should present examples of work in the form of photographs, prompt-scripts, slides, and/or drawings of production work (either realized or conceptual). Examples of related skills (painting, drawing, sewing, sculpting, woodworking, digital design, etc.) are also helpful. Directors should also include a 1-2 page essay describing a directorial concept for a prospective production, or for an actual realized production.

What to expect in any in-person or Zoom interviews: The interview is an informal conversation that allows us a chance to get to know you and to discover what we have to offer each other. *For Acceptd submissions, we will likely request a follow-up Zoom interview and/or additional material, though it may not be necessary.

Audition and Interview Schedule
On-campus auditions are individually scheduled, but two special dates have been set on Dec. 9, 2023 and Feb. 3, 2024, and BFA candidates are highly encouraged to attend one of those dates, if possible.

Admission decisions and notification will be made first in December, 2023, and then once a month after that, through May, 2024.

Financial Aid
We work directly with you, your family and the Office of Financial Aid to create the most comprehensive financial aid package available. Scholarships are based on talent, academic record, and leadership potential. Need-based grants and loans are also available to qualifying students. Financial aid packages will not be awarded until the student has been formally admitted to Nebraska Wesleyan University University and has completed the audition/interview process.

To be considered for a talent scholarship, you must be accepted by the Office of Admissions, and have completed your audition and interview by June 1, 2024. 

Thank you for your interest in Nebraska Wesleyan University Department of Theatre Arts. We look forward to your audition!

Contact or visit us
Elder Memorial Theatre Center
(McDonald and Miller Theatres)
51st and Huntington Ave.
Lincoln, NE 68504-2794
(402) 465-2395 

For technical questions, please check out our Help Desk for frequently asked questions.