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Master of Fine Arts in Theatre


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 Media Design 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 for enrollment in the Fall of even-numbered calendar years:  two in costume design, two in lighting design, two in scenic design, and one or two in sound and/or media/projection design.  The next design cohort will be recruited Spring 2024 for admission Fall 2024.

Seven to eight acting graduates are ordinarily recruited for enrollment in the Fall of odd-numbered calendar years. The next acting recruitment cycle is in Spring of 2025 for admission Fall of 2025.

2023-2024 Department of theatre Handbook

MFA designers travel extensively.  In recent years, they have visited Ireland, Thailand, India, Mexico, Vietnam, Prague, Amsterdam, New York, Istanbul, Wales, 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 guest artist workshops throughout their training, including workshops in voice and speech, acting for camera, clown, Shakespeare, career workshops with agents and casting directors, and more.

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.