Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the program cost?

The Governor’s School is free of charge to student participants. The Virginia Department of Education and The University of Virginia’s College at Wise together spend over $3000 for each student participating in the program. In order to pay the tuition for the course credit that the participating student receives, a parent or legal guardian will be asked to complete a State of Virginia Financial Aid Application. This is so that each student can be qualified for in-state tuition which the program will pay for the student’s course credit. 

Do I really get college credit?

Yes.  Each student who successfully completes the entire Governor’s School program receives three college credits in a theater course titled “Rehearsal, Ensemble, and Performance.”  That credit is conferred through The University of Virginia’s College at Wise.  Students who choose to subsequently matriculate and full degree seeking students at UVa-Wise after graduating high school (as many Governor’s Students do) will find the credit already on their transcript when they arrive as freshmen.  It can beapplied toward the fulfilling of the general education requirements in the Arts or Humanities.  It also counts as a required course in the theater major for those students who choose pursue a degree in theater.  Students who attend another college or university to continue their education can apply to have the credits transfer to the school of their choice.  Acceptance of the credit is the sole discretion of the institution to which the transfer is attempted.  Most accredited institutions accept transfer credits without question, but may only accept them as electives instead of requirements.  Consult your intended institution for more information. 

Gov School props 2Is the program hard work? 

Yes, sort of….  We like to say that we want students to have fun working hard.  Our Governor’s School is intended to introduce students to college-level learning and practices in theater and students who successfully complete the program earn three college credits.   So, there is a high level of expectation of students in the classroom and rehearsal studio.  However, the program is specifically designed for and targeted to students who have demonstrated a passionate interest in theater.  Most students who share that passion find that the work, while challenging, is also enjoyable and even fun.  If you are looking for a vacation, this isn’t it.  If you are looking for an opportunity to meet other students with a passion for thinking about and practicing theater and you are willing to work hard to grow artistically and achieve a new level of performance in theater, then this program is for you.  Since the beginning of our program in 2008, anonymous student evaluations unanimously suggest that some students find the program challenging, but none of them found it to be too hard. 

Gov Group ShotI’m afraid I won’t make friends there.

Since 2008, anonymous student evaluations have unanimously suggested that one of the BEST parts of the program was the great new friends they made.  Some students even report that Governor’s School was one of the best experiences of their lives and almost a fifth of Governor’s School students choose to continue their education after high school by attending UVa-Wise for college.

Is it true I’m not allowed to use my cell phone during the program? 

Sort of….  We dare students to disconnect.   Human beings lived profound and amazing lives for millions of years before the invention of the cell phone!  Furthermore, the practice of theater is about living spontaneously and playfully, in special places and time, live, with other human beings.  The primary skill required to do that is the ability to give over your attention to others’ imaginings.  If you have to check your texts every 30 seconds, you are destroying your capacity for sustained concentrated attention and any promise for yourself as an artist!  Finally, we want you to meet new people and try new things.  If you are spending all your time trying to keep up with what’s going on at home, you won’t be able to engage new opportunities and experiences.  With that said, students are welcome to use their cell-phones during free time in the evening and on weekends.   If you NEED your cell phone more than that… stay home!

Why is the program focused on Shakespeare?Governor's School 2009 1708

Shakespeare is considered one of the most profound writers of the English language and his plays are masterpieces of dramatic literature which deal with the concerns and promises of human beings in ways that are still relevant and insightful today.  Consequently, Shakespeare’s plays are some of the strongest tools to use in studying and practicing how to make great theater.  Since that is our intention, we don’t bother with trivialities; we stick with the best and we plan to inspire you to love Shakespeare as much as we do.   If you leave our program without a new appreciation for and understanding of Shakespeare, we’ll refund all the money you paid us for this great program! 😉 

What kind of student should attend Governor’s School?

We are looking for driven and responsible students who have demonstrated mature and significant achievement in theater—onstage or behind the scenes.   Generally, these students also excel academically, particularly in communication, English and the humanities.  This new program will be focused on bringing Shakespeare’s texts into performance and will be intense and demanding, both intellectually AND physically! Students will be involved in strenuous activity for significant portions of the day for 3 weeks straight.  So, lots of energy and a positive attitude are fundamental to a successful candidate for the program.  Students who come without such willingness hinder the morale and progress of the entire program and preclude other students from participating.  As this is a residential program for which students receive college credit, participants are required to remain on campus throughout the entire 3 weeks of the program.

Directions to Campus

List of “What to Bring”

Student Code of Conduct

Email your question/s

If you have any questions, contact Michael McNulty, Program Director at
276.328.0226 or theater@uvawise.edu.