In the Department of Theatre at the University of Tennessee we are dedicated to creating rigorous educational programs that are fully integrated with the operations of a professional theatre serving our region. We believe that the best way for students to learn the art of theatre is to study in the studio and then to practice alongside first-rate professionals. This dual mission informs everything that we do.
The Department operates The Clarence Brown Theatre (CBT), a LORT D Equity theatre, and is a member of the University/Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA). The Department and the CBT are fully integrated in all aspects of mission and function. We offer a four-year Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and a three-year Master of Fine Arts in Theatre with concentrations in Acting, Costume Design, Lighting Design, and Scenic Design.
The integration of our academic programs with The Clarence Brown enables us to compete among the finest University theatre programs in the nation. Our MFA programs recruit nationally among the most elite professional programs, and our BA program is a leader in the region, offering a strong liberal arts degree with exceptional performance, design, and other production opportunities.
Our department and our theatre are strong and gr
owing stronger. The Clarence Brown Theatre is
a pillar of the east Tennessee arts community. Many of our shows sell out, and 35,000 people attend CBT shows each year. We enjoy the strong support of University leadership. The Clarence and Marian Brown Endowment, the state of Tennessee, and generous support from our community provide us with a stable fiscal foundation, and we are developing new resources to better our facilities, creative excellence, and national rea
We encourage you to learn more about us from this website. Just follow the links to the left. You are also more than welcome to come to UT for a visit, to have a closer look at all we have to offer. We can set up meetings with faculty, a tour of our facilities, or an audition. And while you are here, you can enjoy a wonderful evening at one of our shows!
UT recently received national recognition for its Master of Fine Arts program in theatre.
The Hollywood Reporter ranked the program 20th among the 25 best drama schools for an acting degree.
“We are proud to be ranked among the best master’s degree in theatre programs in the country,” said Jed Diamond, associate professor of acting. “The Department of Theatre has a particular strength in the way our educational programs are so fully integrated with a professional producing company, the Clarence Brown Theatre.”
In the training studio, MFA graduate students are able to analyze and practice the elements of art and craft, and then apply this training alongside established professionals before an audience.
Notable alumni of UT’s program include How to Get Away With Murder’s Conrad Ricamora.
In addition to creating accomplished actors, the three-year program sets students up for postgraduate success by allowing them to graduate debt free. It offers its eight students per year—chosen from more than 700 that audition—a full-ride scholarship plus a living stipend.
In addition to the financial support, students in the program are presented with the opportunity to perform in up to 11 main stage productions each year at UT’s Clarence Brown Theatre. An Actor’s Equity Association membership card also awaits students at graduation.
“Our faculty are nationally distinguished and highly active in their fields, and our MFA actors and designers come from diverse backgrounds across the country and internationally,” said Diamond. “We are developing exciting initiatives in new plays and in acting for film and have truly remarkable support from our audience. We look forward to moving higher on this list in the coming years.”
Miguel A. Faña just finished working on Imprisoned, starring Laurence Fishburne, Juan Pablo Raba, and Juana Acosta in Puerto Rico. The Film was written, directed, and produced by Paul Kampf, who has visited the department several times to host workshops. Last Semester Paul Kampf sent the script for the thriller, Imprisoned, for the MFA students to work individual scenes as part of the workshop. Miguel was offered a speaking role in the film and asked to be the Production Assistant for the filming.
Miguel has been in Puerto Rico since may 12th working on the film. He says, “it has been an absolutely life changing experience.” He began work as the production assistant, helping with locking up shots, walking extras to and from holding areas, and general running from department to department helping with whatever was needed. Miguel would spend anywhere from 12-16 hours working on the set, where he learned just how much time goes into making a movie. Miguel did take the time to geet to know everyone on the set, as best he could. He Enjoyed getting to know the mostly local crew and learning about their stories.
Miguel also enjoyed the day he was able to work on the film set as an actor. He enjoyed it more because he had spent time to get to know the crew. So he looked around and did not see alien cameras, boom mics, and set pieces; I saw Jesse (Camera B Operator), Manny Reyes (Boom Mic Operator), and Mayna (Production Designer). That was one of the moments that he realized just how much the crew depends on the actors to come in on time and bring something of substance in telling a story, and how much the actors depend on the crew to get the little details just right to make the shot work. It was a great opportunity for Miguel to put his MFA training to good use.