Music Dance Theatre students are required to be cast in at least one off-campus production prior to graduation. Students must complete an application from the MDT Office and be approved for an off-campus production in advance of the audition. Many MDT students are cast in local productions at the Hale Center Theatre in Orem, Utah and the Hale Center Theatre in West Valley City, Utah. Both theatre companies are well-respected and offer a modest stipend for cast members. Roles at the Hale Center Theatres are double-cast, which allow MDT students to remain fully engaged in studies while in a production and receiving a paycheck!
Many MDT students also work at various summer theatre companies across the country during the Spring and Summer term. The MDT program has a long-standing relationship with Tuacahn Center for the Arts in St. George, Utah. Tuacahn is a fully professional company that now operates a sixth-month season making employment available only to graduates or those willing to not be enrolled at BYU for one fall term. Tuacahn’s annual budget is in excess of 12.5 million dollars and operates under a LORT contract with Actors Equity Association. Many MDT students receive AEA points towards their Equity membership via Tuacahn.
The Jackson Hole Playhouse in Jackson Hole, Wyoming often includes faculty members from the MDT program in directing positions. For several decades, The Jackson Hole Playhouse has been the first paid performance position many MDT students have experienced. Inclusive of a wild west styled ‘shoot out’ before most performances, the Jackson Hole Playhouse is a terrific way for students to be fully immersed in a performance experience during the summer months.
Other venues MDT students have consistently worked in during the summer season include many of the most prestigious in the nation such as, The MUNY Theatre in St. Louis, Music Theatre Wichita, Sacramento Music Circus, and Ogunquit Playhouse. Other summer companies in the mountain west include Sundance Summer Theatre, Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, The Playmill Theatre, Pickleville Playhouse, and the Carriage House Theatre in Alberta, Canada.
MDT students also are regularly cast as company members for the Nauvoo Pageant. The Nauvoo Pageant is a full stage production produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Core cast members remain in Nauvoo for the summer season and receive pay for their labors. Other volunteer performing missionary opportunities at Nauvoo are also available.
With a very active Media Arts program at BYU, MDT students have the opportunity to perform in student directed and produced films. These film projects range in scope from brief web series to complete feature films. MDT students interested in film are encouraged to audition and participate in these student projects. The LDS Motion Picture Studio is also nearby and several MDT students have worked in film projects produced by the LDS Church. These positions are paid and often can be accomplished quickly without missing more than a few days of class. There is also a very active commercial film market in Utah with three nationally televised series currently being shot in nearby as well as numerous LDS market films.