All Theatre Arts Performance BFAs, Theatre Arts Education majors, students in advanced theatre techniques classes, and intended Theatre for Youth concentration students are REQUIRED to audition for main-stage and Theatre for Youth–Storybook Theatre productions.
The B.F.A. degree in Theatre Arts with a Musical Theatre concentration is designed to train performers for competitive entry into the field of commercial, Broadway-style musical theatre. The pre-professional program offers students introductory through advanced level courses in acting, music and dance essential for a career in musical theatre performance.
Musical Theatre students may also seek admittance to the Professional Actor Training Concentration after their freshman year. The Professional Actor Training concentration is highly recommended to students who may qualify for admission to it since newer forms of musicals place ever-increasing emphasis on acting skills.
In addition to intensive study in acting, students do substantial training in ballet, jazz, tap and theatre dance techniques that offer students knowledge of choreographed movement and dance used in musical theatre productions. Program concentration courses in music are designed to enhance music skills expanding the student's knowledge of healthy vocal technique and musical repertoire.
At East Carolina University classroom work is put into practice by a very active production schedule. The East Carolina Playhouse and the East Carolina Summer Theatre present students with opportunities for practical demonstrations of their skills in actual performance situations in plays and musicals.
Students perform in McGinnis Theatre, which is a proscenium theatre seating 625, and in the smaller, more flexible performance space known as the Studio Theatre.
Roughly 10-14 slots open up for the program each year for new freshmen or transfer students who have secured accepted status at the spring incoming BFA freshmen auditions. If given a slot, students will begin the Musical Theatre Techniques sequence (the intensive core courses for the BFA) in the fall of the SOPHOMORE year, as all freshman students must begin fulfilling university general education requirements and complete prerequisite basic theatre courses prior to advanced BFA coursework in either the Musical Theatre or Professional Actor Training Concentration.