Calvin Olsen, College Professor, Poet, and Editor
Carrie is right: most schools with reputable MFA programs are going to have majors (or at least classes) that will add variety and depth to your degree. As in all things college, there are a lot of options. I’m familiar with a handful of different programs, so let me explain two of them.
Some programs will have you acting in or working on the production of theatre pieces almost immediately (the top-tier programs require a formal audition). For a great example of this, take a look at the Acting program at Boston University. You’ll see a link to the Freshman Performance Core, which will give you an idea of what you’re looking at course wise. In addition to all this focus on acting in the major, BU has its own theatres on and off campus, and Boston is full of theatres. As for creative writing, BU doesn’t have a creative writing major, but they have a world class MFA program and many undergraduate courses to choose from.
Another type of program is one that prepares students to teach theatre once they leave college. Boise State University (in Idaho, where I grew up) is one of these. They have a handful of theatre arts majors, minors, and certificates, but they also have the Theatre Arts Secondary Education BA. This degree gives students experience in many aspects of theatre, and prepares them to teach theatre in high school. This type of program would give you a well-rounded education with the added bonus of being more “employable” once you graduate (which is really nice with an arts degree).
So Boston University and Boise State University are both out-of-state in your case, so do the type of search Carrie mentioned. To get you started, a few highly ranked programs in California are UCLA, Loyola Marymount, and Chapman.