Jun 19, 2024  
Graduate Record 2010-2011 
Graduate Record 2010-2011 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Master of Fine Arts in Drama

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The Master of Fine Arts in Drama is a terminal, pre-professional degree preparatory for work in the academic, regional, and commercial theatre. Every three years the Department of Drama recruits nineteen graduate students who train in one of five program areas: Acting, Scenic Design, Costume Design and Technology, Lighting Design, and Technical Direction. Through structured coursework, one-on-one faculty mentoring, and realized production work, students are challenged to express their talent, vision, and creativity both in and out of the classroom. Program start dates are: Fall 2011, Fall 2014, etc.

Candidates for the M.F.A. program must hold a bachelors degree from an accredited institution and are selected based on an audition or portfolio interview in addition to the general application requirements of the Graduate School. Three years (six semesters) in residence and completion of a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework is required. Specific course requirements must be satisfied in each degree area, culminating in the M.F.A. Thesis Project.


All graduate students in the Department of Drama serve as Graduate Teaching Assistants and receive full tuition remission, a stipend, and a UVA health insurance voucher. Graduate students serve as instructors for undergraduate courses, teaching assistants, graders, production lab instructors, and/or in various production positions.

Degree Areas


Eight actors are selected for their demonstrated acting ability, vocal and physical flexibility, and suitability for ensemble work with peers and faculty in seminars, studios, and public performance. All work is closely monitored and evaluated in order to produce serious, versatile, informed, and articulate actors. This three-year, 60-72 credit program coordinates production work with four integrated, progressive training sequences: voice and speech, movement, acting styles, and core academic courses. Throughout, the emphasis is on discipline, inventiveness, and depth. A thesis project involving a mainstage performance and an original composition is required. Each actor has an opportunity to perform with the Heritage Repertory Theatre in its summer residency.

Scenic Design, Costume Design and Technology, Lighting Design, Technical Direction

A total of eleven design and technology students are admitted into each cycle of the program. Each program consists of 60-72 credit hours of coursework in related design and technical classes, studios, seminars, labs, and individually-mentored projects.

In addition to coursework, students participate in the mainstage production seasons as designers and technicians, in collaboration with guest artists, faculty, staff, and other students. Each degree area culminates in a thesis project that includes a written, research-based project and/or the design or technical execution of a mainstage production. Students in the design and technology programs are prepared for careers in a wide range of theatrical and performance-related professions.

Production Programs

The production activities of the Drama Department include the main-stage season of plays, musicals, and dance performances; guest artist residencies and performances; and student-produced class and studio productions. The Drama Department’s resident professional company, Heritage Repertory Theatre, produces a season of five plays and musicals each summer. All productions are presented in the Culbreth or Helms Theatres, located within the Drama Building on Culbreth Road.


All activities of the Department of Drama take place in the Drama Building located at the center of the newly developed Arts Grounds on Culbreth Road. The modern, well-equipped building houses two theatres; rehearsal and studio spaces; scenery, costume, and lighting shops; classrooms; and offices. The Culbreth Theatre is a 575-seat proscenium theatre with an electric winch fly system, hydraulic orchestra pit, and state of the art sound and lighting systems. The Helms Theatre is a 200-seat black-box theatre with flexible seating, walking catwalks, and state of the art sound and lighting systems.

Course Descriptions

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