Theater: Contemporary Performance MFA

Contemporary Performance

The MFA Theater: Contemporary Performance program is committed to creating a laboratory for the research of new techniques, aesthetics, and pedagogies based on an understanding of the evolution of traditional forms from Eastern and Western lineages. The program provides tools to both create and disseminate performative work as active social and cultural entrepreneurs.

A single cohort of students is admitted in alternate years for this 48-credit, two-year degree (currently recruiting for fall 2020). The first graduate program of its kind combining performance-making with contemplative practices, our curriculum encourages and explores authenticity in the arts. Students are plugged into an immersive studio environment, engaging the body, mind, and voice in performance-making.

Production work and learning to communicate eloquently about what we experience on stage as performers and observers are also central to the development of well-rounded and engaged practitioners.

The core curriculum centers around training the whole being are as follows:

  • Contemplative arts and meditation training
  • Psychophysical acting techniques 
  • Performance-making techniques, including a unique perspective on Viewpoints theory and practice as created by Mary Overlie and Wendell Beavers, with support of SITI Company members and "Moment Work" as developed by Tectonic Theater Project
  • Vocal work integrating Extended Vocal Technique, in the tradition of Roy Hart Theatre, and Fitzmaurice VoiceworkTM  applied to spoken and sung text 
  • Alternative techniques of generating text through ensemble playwriting and self-scripting 
  • Somatic movement techniques, including BMCTM and experiential anatomy
  • History of Theatre in practice including dramaturgy and scripted texts
  • Building a career in the arts in the 21st century

Our program is a laboratory, ensemble-based training in which you will work in close collaboration with your cohort. Learning is student-driven, with special attention given to each individual’s talents and interests. While you may choose to focus on a particular discipline, the training is interdisciplinary by nature, encouraging cross-pollination and the exploration of hybrid forms.

We are interested in encouraging artists to take their place as entrepreneurs, leaders in contemporary performance, and educators, developing and presenting socially, politically, and culturally relevant works in a national and global context.