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Master of Fine Arts in Theatre

PLEASE NOTE:  DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THE MFA IN THEATRE, ACTING PROGRAM WILL NOT BE RECRUITING IN 2021.  Regular recruiting of 7 or 8 actors will resume in January of 2023, for entry in August of 2023.

The MFA in Theatre at the University of Tennessee exists to identify, cultivate, and train individuals of diverse backgrounds who have the talent to contribute substantially to the arts of acting and design, to their profession, and to the national culture.

The Department of Theatre offers a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre with concentrations in Acting, Costume Design, Lighting Design, Scenic Design, and Sound and Digital Media.  MFA candidates undergo 3 years of rigorous training in the classroom, the studio, and in the professional “laboratory” context of the Clarence Brown Theatre, including designing main stage productions and acting in major roles.

UT MFA programs recruit among the most elite professional degree programs in the nation.  Seven to eight design graduates are recruited every other year in even-numbered calendar years:  two in costume design, two in lighting design, two in scenic design, and one or two in sound and digital media.  The next design cohort will be recruited in Spring of 2022.  Seven to eight acting graduates are ordinarily recruited in odd-numbered calendar years. 

While in residence at UT, MFA designers have won more than 100 regional and national design awards since the inception of the program, and have 100% placement in the profession over the last five years.  MFA designers travel extensively.  In recent years, they have visited Ireland, Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam, Prague, Amsterdam, New York, Istanbul, London, Bulgaria, Berlin, and Munich.  During these visits, students took master classes, worked with internationally renowned artists, showcased their work, and competed at conferences, while also seeing theatre, touring cities and museums, and absorbing world culture.

MFA actors enjoy national and international guest artist workshops throughout their training, including annual intensives with renowned British voice and text teacher Barbara Houseman; workshops and intensives in acting for camera, clown, Shakespeare, and career workshops with agents and casting directors, etc.

In their third year, the MFA actors showcase in targeted markets nationally through digital media, including a master website featuring the graduating class (with links to recent alumni); departmentally supported development of professional caliber individual websites; video clips published through actors access; taped audition submissions, and more.  Recent graduates enjoy representation at Abrams Artists Agency; Boals, Winnett and Associates; Dulcina Eisen Associates; and other well regarded agencies. They are at work in theatre, film, and television.  Theatres in which they have recently appeared include:  Lincoln Center (Broadway); Ahmanson Theatre (L.A.); the Guthrie Theatre; Oregon Shakespeare Festival;  Arena Stage; the Shakespeare Theatre (D.C.); the Folger Theatre; Theatre for a New Audience; Classic Stage Company; Hudson Valley Shakespeare; the Joseph Papp Public Theatre; and more.  Recent film and television jobs have included recurring roles in Hunters; Elementary; Godfather of Harlem; How to Get Away with Murder; and more.

Our MFA programs are strong and growing stronger.  We are entering a period of increased revenues and facilities enhancement.  Have a closer look at all we have to offer by following the links to the left for each program and those above for the MFA Handbook and Graduation Requirements.