VSU Theatre and Dance is dedicated to the training of professionals. One way that this is accomplished is with the pro-conn program (Professional Connections.)
pro-conn involves bringing theatre and dance professionals to campus to give workshops and masterclasses, advice, and to answer questions about the reality of the theatre and dance industries as well as providing Theatre & Dance Students with opportunities to audition, learn from and network with these professionals. Additionally, bi-ennial trips are planned to major markets for intensive workshop and networking opportunities with industry professionals and Area alumni as well as experiencing a metropolitan environment. (Photo above right: VSU Students with Mara Newbery Greer (A Christmas Story, Broadway) following a dance workshop during pro-conn 2015.)
pro-conn has expanded to include the professional showcase at the end of each academic year. The professional showcase brings regional hirers to campus to respond to the work of the upperclassmen who audition or present their portfolios.
Another professional connection aspect of the Area is summer experience. Students are encouraged to seek performance-work opportunities and summer intensive programs in their field of study. These summer experiences are an important step in building each student's personal network. Faculty are available to offer advice and to assist with audition and portfolio presentation for these opportunities.
One example is Southeastern Theatre Conference's annual professional auditions. Each spring dozens of professional theatre companies meet at the SETC Spring Convention to audition actors, singers, dancers and interview technical theatre specialists for work - both summer and (for the graduating senior) year round opportunities. Theatre technicians can register for the Job Contact Service; dancers interested in theatrical dance can apply for a "Dancer Only" audition. Actors are required to pass a screening audition in the fall held at Georgia Theatre Conference's convention.
Another example is American College Dance Festival Association. ACDFA's sponsorship of regional conferences and the national dance festival provides the venue for students and faculty to engage in three days of performances, workshops, panels, and master classes taught by instructors from around the region and country. The conferences also provide the unique opportunity for students and faculty to have their dance works adjudicated by a panel of nationally recognized dance professionals in an open and constructive forum. Through performances, masterclasses and networking, the conferences are the primary means for college and university dance programs to perform outside their own academic setting and be exposed to the diversity of the national college dance world.