ABSTRACT

This chapter examines training in the US and Canada through the histories, pedagogies, and evolution of acting programs toward identifying current trends. In exploring a North American approach, it locates training in the context of higher education, thereby comparing degree-granting “specialty schools” with their likenesses at universities. Among the US case studies are Carnegie Mellon University, the American Conservatory Theater, and the California Institute of the Arts. The US examples are put in conversation with their Canadian counterparts, which include the BFA Acting Program at the University of Alberta and the National Theatre School. Positing these case studies as a “commodified model,” the chapter explores them through the incongruous partnership between professional training and academe. As such, it explains capitalism’s encroachment into higher education—and by extension acting programs—to argue for an entrepreneurial approach that coalesces traditional and progressive pedagogies designed to meet and transcend the industry’s expectations. It also invites the reader to rethink training in the context of a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environment.