The ChiArts Theatre Conservatory offers a rigorous program of instruction at the highest artistic and academic level. The program has a mission to prepare students for admission into competitive college/university programs and/or to work in the profession. Students in the Theatre Conservatory have the unique experience of working with a range of artists from the Chicago theatre community, giving them unique insights into and experiences with professionals in the field.

The Theatre Conservatory currently includes two programs: Acting and Musical Theatre. The Acting major focuses on a progression of study that includes acting, voice and speech, movement, history of theatre practice and literature, stage production and design, periods and styles, and devising new work. The Musical Theatre major works with faculty from the Theatre, Music and Dance conservatories, and focuses on a progression of study that includes acting, vocal technique, dance, music theory, keyboard, chorale, the history of musical theatre practice and literature, stage production and design, and devising new work.

Students of all abilities and levels of experience may audition for admission into the Theatre Conservatory. ChiArts recognizes the need to provide opportunities for students who have had prior theatrical instruction and students who have not had prior training but demonstrate strong natural abilities and a desire to learn.


What can I expect from ChiArts Theatre?
Our programs are modeled on college-level Conservatory programs and tailored for high school students. It is a rigorous training program that is taught by professionals in their fields who have high standards of excellence and a commitment to training the next generation of artists. Classroom instruction is supplemented by a variety of performance opportunities in which training is put into practice. Whether or not a student chooses to ultimately pursue a career in the arts, the curriculum will provide a wide variety of learning opportunities and experiences that can benefit them throughout their lives and in whatever field they choose to pursue.

What does ChiArts Theatre expect from me?
The school day at ChiArts is from 8 am to 5 pm and includes some evening rehearsals and performances. You are expected to attend for the full day, and to schedule other activities and appointments after 5 pm or on weekends. Students must have stamina and focus throughout the entire day and must be committed to both academic and arts education. Students are expected to arrive to each Conservatory class on time, fully prepared to work with all of their materials, and dedicated to their craft, ensemble and community. Students should be open to taking risks and providing a safe learning environment for others. Your attendance affects the work of your ensemble as well as yourself. So you must stay healthy, be organized and have your work completed, and bring a positive and supportive attitude to every class, every day.

What is the difference between the Acting and Musical Theatre programs?
See the Course Descriptions for the Acting and Musical Theatre programs for information on the scope and sequence of classes. Musical Theatre combines classes from the Theatre, Music and Dance Conservatories and focuses on repertoire from Musical Theatre such as Show Boat, Anything Goes, South Pacific, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, A Chorus Line, Evita and Into the Woods, to name a few. Acting focuses on theatrical repertoire such as The Glass Menagerie, A Raisin in the Sun, the work of William Shakespeare, contemporary ten-minute plays and Improvisation. The Movement and Voice & Speech classes in the Acting program are not dance or music based.

What is the difference between ChiArts and other high schools?
By coming to ChiArts, you receive fifteen (15) hours per week of free, intensive arts training. What we do, we do well. However, we are not all things to all people. We are different from some traditional high schools in that we do not offer as wide a range of activities as others may. For instance, we do not have a football team or a cheerleading squad or a drill team. Students need to think hard about the type of high school experience that they want and if you do come to ChiArts you must readily accept that you will get a tremendous amount with regard to the arts but it means that there will not be some things that other high schools have.

Theatre Audition Process

Acting Program

Musical Theatre Program