MFA acting programs focus on deepening the actor’s craft. The curriculum is a combination of on-camera and stage work. Through a series of intensive classes and workshops, students explore the various aspects of their craft and hone their skills. In addition to the academic training, the program also focuses on helping students become critical thinkers and industry entrepreneurs.
Students will have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of actors, directors, and other professionals. These include professional performers in the theatre, film, and television industries. A wide range of class offerings are available, including classical canon, acting theory, and script analysis. Most classes are taught in small groups and individual coaching is emphasized.
Actors must have a working knowledge of the human psyche and body. In addition to a strong acting skill, they must have an in-depth understanding of the dramatic literature they will be studying. They must be well-versed in the fundamentals of dramatic literature, character development, and motivation. This knowledge is the foundation of their work.
At the end of each semester, students are evaluated by an academic advisor. Students will also participate in a semester-long thesis project, which consists of a creatively challenging creative project and substantial written documentation. An MFA thesis is the final project of the year and serves as the opportunity for students to synthesize their learning and create their own work.
In the first two years of the program, students are enrolled in a 3-credit graduate seminar course that explores the essential elements of theater criticism, history, and literature. During the third year, students begin to increase their involvement with the Play House. It is through this program that students work with a variety of guest artists and directors to develop their craft as a professional actor.
Students are required to complete a minimum of 60 credits to earn their degree. Additionally, they must show evidence of national and regional recognition, significant mentoring, and documented professional activity. If they meet these requirements, they will receive their MFA.
Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to join the Actor’s Equity Association. This union, which primarily involves actors, is the largest American professional stage management union. Graduates of the program are employed by major theatres and agencies, such as Broadway, the Ahmanson Theatre, and Guthrie Theater.
The Master of Fine Arts in Acting is a competitive program designed to prepare students for professional careers in theatre. Students in this program are exposed to the professional world, and receive the opportunity to showcase their talents through taped audition submissions and through department-supported individual websites. As they progress through the program, they will also have the chance to work with leading industry professionals in a number of diverse workshops.
Graduates of the program have appeared in Broadway shows, television, and the film industry. Notable alumni include Mahershala Ali, Marcia Gay Harden, Corey Stoll, and Andre Holland. Some of the recent theatres in which graduates have performed include Arena Stage, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the Ahmanson Theatre.