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theatre high school students

The Theatre Department offers concentrated training in all aspects of theatre: Acting, Musical Theatre, and Design and Production. The program incorporates techniques that guide students toward greater self-awareness, knowledge of their own artistic potential, and the relevance of theatre to the human condition. The curriculum offers disciplined theatre experiences and education similar to those found in both liberal arts colleges and conservatory programs, developing well-rounded students of theatre.

  • Three or four mainstage productions per year
  • Two Cabarets
  • Collaborations and Studio Performances
  • August Wilson Monologue Competition
  • English Speaking Union Shakespeare Competition
  • National YoungArts Competition
  • Spotlight Competition
  • University of Chapman Shakespeare Festival Competition
  • Excursions to theatre productions in Southern California
  • The Chicago Unified Auditions for twelfth grade and postgraduate students
  • Masterclasses
Academy Courses
  • Acting for the Camera
  • Dance for Theatre – Ballet, Jazz, Tap
  • Design for Theatre
  • Directing
  • Drafting for Theatre I – IV
  • Introduction to Design
  • Music Theory
  • Musical Theatre Repertory
  • Physical Storytelling
  • Performance Practices (Acting)
  • Performing Shakespeare
  • Practicum
  • Private Vocal Lessons
  • Production Design
  • Production Skills
  • Stage Combat
  • Stage Management
  • Stage Movement
  • Theatre History
  • Technical Theatre
  • Vocal Clarity
  • Stage Diction
Summer & Auxiliary Courses
Guest Teachers of Masterclasses Have Included
  • Neal Bledsoe, actor, The Mysteries of Laura and The Man in the High Castle
  • Claudia Ferri, actor, The Killing and Queen of the South
  • Lexy Fridell, actor, Avenue Q and The Pee-wee Herman Show
  • Marvin Hamlisch, Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award-winning composer
  • Dan Lauria, actor, The Wonder Years
  • Molly Levine, Education Director for Clowns Without Borders
  • Wendie Malick, actor, Hot in Cleveland and Just Shoot Me!
  • David Mamet, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright
  • Adrian C. Mejia and Eleni Zaharopoulos, masters of commedia dell’arte
  • John Charles Meyer, producer of Dave Made a Maze and actor
  • Marni Nixon, voice-over soprano for My Fair Lady, The King and I, and West Side Story
  • Jess Pillmore, Artistic Director and author, Creatively Independent
  • Bruce Ryan, production designer
  • Donald Sutherland, two-time Golden Globe-winning actor
  • Mara Wilson, actor, Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire
College Matriculation

Our graduates have been accepted to the following
Colleges and Universities.

  • American Academy of the Dramatic Arts
  • Birmingham School of Acting
  • Boston Conservatory
  • CalArts
  • Chicago College of Performing Arts
  • Columbia College Chicago
  • Cooper Union
  • Cornish College of the Arts
  • DePaul University
  • Emerson College
  • Hampshire College
  • Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts
  • Marymount Manhattan
  • Miami University
  • New School for Drama
  • NYU/Tisch
  • Oklahoma City University
  • Otterbein University
  • Pace University
  • Roosevelt University
  • Royal Welsh College
  • Rutgers
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • SUNY Purchase
  • Syracuse University
  • UC Berkeley
  • UCLA
  • UC San Diego
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Carolina
  • University of Portland
  • USC
  • Wagner College
  • Webster University
  • Yale
of our students who apply are accepted.

Acting Focus

Acting students learn a variety of performance techniques and methods. Understanding of and ability to convey truth are at the root of the training. Classes facilitate exploration of text and language, movement, speech, and artistic collaboration.

Musical Theatre Focus

Musical Theatre students receive the same intensive performance training that distinguishes the Acting Focus, but are also required to spend many additional hours working on singing and developing dance skills in tap, ballet, and jazz.

Design and Production Focus

Design and Production students learn a broad range of techniques and methods relevant to behind-the-scenes skills likes carpentry, sewing, painting, figure-drawing, and drafting. Design and Production students are supported across the arts departments by classes in sculpture, photography, computer music apps, and more.

Audition Requirements

The Theatre major offers concentrated pre-professional training. Training is Stanislavsky based and incorporates self-use techniques to guide students toward greater self-awareness and knowledge of the potentials of their own resources. The program offers disciplined training as exemplified in conservatory theatre training programs on the college level. Students declare an area of concentration in acting, musical theatre or theatrical design/technical theatre at the time of admission. The curriculum includes classes in acting, mask characterization, Shakespeare, stage combat, stage movement, music fundamentals for musical theatre, acting for the camera, improvisation, scenery and costume design, stage management, musical theatre repertory, voice and diction, lighting and sound fundamentals, class voice and drafting for the theatre.

We strongly recommend that candidates audition during their campus visit. If a live audition is not possible, students must submit an online audition containing the following:

Acting: Please submit two prepared monologues from memory of no more than two minutes each:

  1. Shakespearean Monologue – Comedic or Dramatic
  2. Contemporary Monologue (choose one option)
    • Monologue from a play published after the 1900s
    • Monologue from a Film
  3. Sing sixteen bars of a song from a published musical a cappella.

Musical Theatre: Please submit two prepared monologues from memory of no more than two minutes each:

  1. Shakespearean Monologue – Comedic or Dramatic
  2. Contemporary Monologue (choose one option)
    • Monologue from a play published after the 1900s
    • Monologue from a Film
  3. Sing an entire song from a published musical with an instrumental or piano track accompaniment.

Theatre and Production Design or General Emphasis: Applicants must interview with the design or performance faculty and/or submit a portfolio for review depending on the applicant’s future career goals. 

For Specific questions regarding the Theatre admission process contact: Megan Berg at 951.659.2171 x2344 or


Our Theatre faculty are professional artists, and most hold a Master of Fine Arts degree. They possess expertise in performing for stage and camera, vocal performance, directing, stage management, design and production, and dance for musical theatre.

Learn More…

Featured Alumni

Celeste Headlee ‘87
Host of public radio show On Second Thought and author

Clayton Alexander ‘94
Prolific inventor and successful entrepreneur

Angelina Burnett ‘96
Producer, Halt and Catch Fire

Marin Ireland ‘96
Actor, Sneaky Pete and Homeland

Sara Huddleston ‘96
Director of Production, Marin Theatre Company

Alexandre Corazzola ‘97
Freelance set and costume designer in Europe

Christina Reynolds ‘98
Associate Producer, Shark Tank

Jacque Carnahan ‘98
Singer, actor, Artistic Director of Believe NYC education company for young arts students

Lexy Fridell ‘00
Broadway credits include Avenue Q and The Pee-wee Herman Show

Ace Eure ‘02
Designer and Art Director for Universal Studios Japan

Victor Wisehart ‘02
Broadway credits include An American in Paris and West Side Story

Emma Campbell ‘02
Singer and actor

Mia Sable ‘02
Singer/songwriter, actress, and voiceover artist

Teissia Treynet ‘02
Founder of Firefly planning company for weddings and other major events

Chester Gilmore ‘03
Executive with Planet high-tech company

Neal Bledsoe ‘04
Actor, The Mysteries of Laura and The Man in the High Castle

Sarah Combs ‘04
Lead Vocalist, Crystal Cruises

Larkin Bogan ‘05
Broadway credits include Wicked and Hair

Mara Wilson ‘05
Former actor in Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire, now a successful author

Lucas Lilieholm ‘06
News Editor, Al Jazeera English in Doha, Qatar

Marina Dompke ‘06
Development Executive, Valhalla Entertainment

Learn More About Idyllwild Arts Alumni…

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