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. 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. Seven to eight acting graduates are recruited in odd numbered calendar years. MFA candidates undergo 3 years of rigorous training in the classroom, the studio, and in the professional 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. We have a strong commitment to diversity, and recent classes have reflected that commitment.
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. As of 2015, the program initiated a strong training component in acting for film, in association with screenwriter, director, producer, and teacher, Paul Kampf, of Paul Kampf Studios in Los Angeles.
In their third year, the MFA actors showcase for industry professionals in New York City. Recent graduates enjoy representation at Abrams Artists Agency, Judy Boals, Inc., Don Buchwald and Associates, Dulcina Eisen Associates, Henderson Hogan Agency, and other highly regarded agencies. They are at work in theatre, film, and television, including: How to Get Away with Murder on ABC; The King and I at Lincoln Center; Here Lies Love at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre; Hamlet at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Two Gentlemen of Verona at Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn, NY; Sweat at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.; Weeds on Showtime; Law and Order on NBC; and in many other places.
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 for each program to the left and for the MFA Handbook and Graduation Requirements above.