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MFA Acting, Audition and Application Guidelines

UTK MFA Acting has completed recruiting for the 2023 cycle and is not accepting further auditions or applications. We will recruit again for entry in Fall 2025 via SETC, URTA, and private auditions.   

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville is recruiting in early 2025 for a new cohort of eight actors to begin their training in August 2025. We will be recruiting at URTAs, SETC, and by private audition. 

Our program has been ranked among the top-25 MFA performance programs in the U.S., U.K., and Australia for the past 5 years. To learn more about the partnership between our training program and Clarence Brown Theatre, the professional theatre in residence at UTK, visit:

Acceptance into the program is by audition and interview, followed by an application process to the UTK Graduate School. We encourage applicants to take advantage of the audition processes at URTA and SETC. Details on these processes can be found at the links above. However, if you  are not doing URTA or SETC auditions, we are happy to schedule a private audition in New York or Chicago during the URTA tour, or in Knoxville on Friday, January 13, 2023 from 11a-3p. To schedule a private audition, contact Professors Kathryn Cunningham ( and Jed Diamond ( 

For information on requirements and deadlines for applying to the Graduate School, go to:

There is a $60.00 application fee.  

Unless you are an international applicant, it is not necessary to apply to the Graduate School or the Department of Theatre prior to acceptance into the program. If you receive an offer to join the program, you may submit a formal application at that point.

If you are attending SETC or URTA auditions, we will not schedule a private audition with you until we have seen you in those events. However, we do encourage you to send us a photo and resume and/or website link in advance of your SETC or URTA audition. You may send your materials to Professors Diamond and Cunningham via the email addresses above.

To be considered for admission, all candidates must:

1. Audition: You should prepare to present: 

  • Two contrasting monologues, each under two minutes
    • your pieces should contrast in tone (comedic vs. dramatic) and period (classical vs. contemporary)
    • your classical selection should be in verse
  • Also, please consider preparing a brief excerpt of a song that you enjoy singing. We are not a musical theatre program, and being a singer is not required in your audition or for acceptance into the program. However, we often ask for a bit of song to learn more about you and your voice. There are casting opportunities in musicals in the Clarence Brown Theatre, as we typically produce one musical each season. Your song selection can be a capella or with recorded accompaniment. No accompanist will be provided.
  • Please prepare at least one additional monologue, in case one is requested. 
  • We also strongly encourage all candidates to be prepared to submit a video of your audition pieces. All candidates who are called back will be asked to do so. You may include an additional monologue and/or song in the video if you wish. You should prepare this video before your SETC or URTA auditions, as timeliness of your submission can affect being selected for a visit to the UTK campus.

Video Guidelines

  1. Carefully attend to:
    • Background  
    • Lighting
    • Sound 
    • Clothing color and contrast
    • Editing for efficiency of viewing.
  2. The video should begin with a brief introduction/slate. Please clearly state:
    • Your first and last name, as well as any other names you may use
    • Your pronouns, should you choose to share them
    • What pieces you will be performing (character, title of play, and playwright)
  3. After the introduction: 
    • Please film one of your monologues in portrait orientation so that you are visible from head to knees or feet.
    • For the remaining 1 or 2 monologues, you may choose full-length or chest-up framing.  Please do not submit close-ups of your head and face only.
  4.  Please also fully review your video before submitting, to be sure that you can be clearly seen and heard throughout.

When submitting your video, please let us know of any additional recordings of your work that we might review.

Please upload your audition as a single video via either Google Drive or YouTube. Submit it to Professor Kathryn Cunningham at, and Professor Jed Diamond at Please ensure permissions are set appropriately. 

2. Interview:  Based on your audition, you may receive a callback and interview.

3. Callback to UTK campus:  Based on your callback and interview, you may receive an invitation to visit UTK as a finalist for acceptance. According to the availability of funds, the Department of Theatre will provide support for visits on a case-by-case basis.

4. Acceptance: If you are accepted, you must:

  • Complete the ONLINE Graduate School Application
  • Pay the $60 application fee by credit card or electronic check
  • Upload/Enter the following materials into the Graduate School Application:
    • Unofficial transcripts of all prior Undergraduate and Graduate coursework and degree confirmations
    • A current photograph of you and a professional resume
    • A brief essay (two pages maximum) about your commitment to a life in art, your interest in training, and your creative and career interests
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Note: a GRE exam is not required

5. Applicants whose native language is not English may be required to submit English language certification test scores.


For information regarding Department of Theatre application materials, questions about the  graduate school application process, to arrange a visit to UT, or for general information about our Department, please email Professor Kenton Yeager, Director of Graduate Studies, at

For more information on the MFA in Theatre, Acting program, contact Professors Cunningham or Diamond via email (noted above) at any time.

Thank you for your interest in the MFA in Theatre, Acting program at UTK. We hope to hear from you!