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Master of Fine Arts in Theatre; Concentration in Performance

The MFA performance program admits a new class of 10-12 actors every three years. The program is a comprehensive, inter-disciplinary professional actor training program designed to prepare the actor for the challenges of contemporary, classical, new works, and musical theater performance.*

*The MFA performance program will be accepting its next class in fall of 2016.

In the first year of the program, students receive foundation training in action, subtext, environment, sense memory, emotional preparation, ensemble building, characterization, language, and script analysis.

Each semester the student trains in a different specialized acting style. Style training classes include Shakespeare, comedy of manners, modernism, american classics, contemporary realism, musical theatre, audition technique, acting for the camera, and new works. Each style unit has a scene study and a technique component taught concurrently.

Integrated voice and movement technique, speech for the stage, dance technique, strength-based movement work, and private singing lessons are also required in each semester.

MFA candidates from all disciplines enroll in a team-taught two-credit graduate seminar course each semester, which explores essential elements of theater literature, history, and criticism in a collaborative setting.

Additionally, actors in the program participate in productions with the Nevada Conservatory Theatre, Las Vegas' premiere regional theater company, working alongside experienced professional actors, directors, designers, and faculty guest artists.

Learning Objectives

  • Advanced Acting Technique. The MFA performance student will learn Stanislavsky based acting technique. The student will be able to analyze, stage, and perform in scenes selected from the modern American theatre movement of the 20th> century.
  • Acting Styles. The MFA performance student will be able to act in, and understand the historical context and relevance of a variety of styles & genres of plays including Shakespeare, Comedy of Manners ( Moliere, Restoration Comedy, Wilde, Coward) and Modern Styles (Chekhov, Ibsen, Shaw, Strindberg, etc.) , Musical Theatre and Acting for the Camera.
  • Advanced Voice, Movement & Speech Technique. The MFA performance student will learn and be able to apply advanced technical skills of voice, movement and speech for the stage that will enhance characterization skills necessary for work on a variety styles and genres of plays.
  • Musical Theatre Skills. The MFA performance student will learn singing technique for the musical theatre and dance technique in a variety of disciplines including Ballet, Jazz, Modern and Ballroom dancing.
  • Professional Preparation. The MFA performance student will learn to audition and market his/her skills at a level appropriate to entering the acting profession.
  • Principles of dramatic structure and script analysis. The MFA performance student will be able to analyze a script from any period and style and discern its structure, form, and theme.
  • Theatre History and Dramatic Literature. The MFA performance student will be able to draw upon knowledge of theatre history when creating a theatrical performance.