Theatre M.F.A.

Degree: Master of Fine Arts
https://www.towson.edu/cofac/departments/theatre/gradtheatre/

Program Director: Steven Satta
Phone: 410-704-5993
Email: ssatta@towson.edu

The Towson University's Master of Fine Arts in Theatre is a two-year, cohort program. 

The MFA cultivates the self-generative artist through an interdisciplinary, process-oriented, collaborative experience. The program is dedicated to educating and invigorating world citizens of theatre who engage deeply in our local and global communities, and who wish to combine the life of an artist with the skills and sensibilities of entrepreneurs, educators and activists. It is for artists who cannot be content working in a single discipline or occupying a single "role" in the creative process.

The program emphasizes practice and community. Over the 24-month program students are constantly creating work which grows out of class exploration. Sometimes these are ensemble projects, but even on individual or solo projects, students work together to support each other. Learning and cultural exchange happens between students as fully as it does between students and faculty or guest artists.  

Every student will engage with a diverse range of practical approaches and theoretical perspectives in order to help develop an individual aesthetic that is expressed through the creation of new work. In support of this, students also pursue serious scholarship and develop a firm grounding in the history of experimental performance in the United States and internationally.

Students are encouraged to explore interests and techniques which reach beyond the curriculum, through self-directed research, independent study with faculty, or through off-campus experiences such as workshops or apprenticeships. Past student explorations have included: Bunraku puppetry; translation of contemporary European drama; object theatre; integration of video with live performance; experiments in autobiographical performance; and community art projects. 

Members of the full-time faculty at Towson University teach the majority of classes. However, this curriculum is augmented by seminars and workshops with distinguished visiting artists. Guest artists may facilitate a master class, lecture or demonstration as part of a required class, or work in a residency with the students of the program. Recent guests include Lee Breuer, Holly Hughes, Dan Hurlin, Kari Margolis, Sandglass Theatre, Rinde Eckert, Tim Miller, Joan Lipkin, Richard Armstrong and Double Edge Theatre.

Through a long-standing collaboration with the Center for International Theatre Development, students have toured performances and participated in workshops in countries that include Poland, Egypt, Slovakia and Bulgaria. Artists from countries such as Japan, Russia and South Africa have also had residencies in the program.

The program culminates in a final project created and presented by each student. The final project can take many forms - performance, written work such as books and articles, pedagogical inquiries, etc. - and serves as a demonstration of the student’s personal aesthetic and vision that reflects the explorations and discoveries made during their time in the program. The emphasis is on process — not product. 

Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university** with a GPA of 3.00 or higher based on the applicant’s last 60 units of undergraduate and post-baccalaureate study. A minimum GPA of 2.75 is required for conditional admission. All matriculated students are accepted conditionally for one year. At the end of the first year of study, students are evaluated for continuance based on their readiness to undertake their final project, as demonstrated by their academic standing, portfolio review and final project proposal.

Candidates are screened by both the M.F.A. program and by University Admissions. 

This program admits for fall of even years only.

Please complete the online application, including the following:

  • A graduate application with required fee
  • Official transcripts from every college or university attended
  • A personal artistic statement outlining the candidate’s goals as a theatre artist and the specific relevance of the M.F.A. program at Towson to the candidate’s objectives
  • A current professional résumé
  • Slides, photographs, video, reviews, papers, scripts or other supporting materials in multiple artistic disciplines
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to the applicant’s talent, scholarship, collaborative skills and ability to thrive in a self-directed program
  • A list of at least three other references, with telephone numbers, whom the department may contact for additional evaluations

An interview may be granted at the discretion of M.F.A. faculty following initial admission screening.

Non-immigrant International Students

Program Enrollment: F-1 and J-1 students are required to be enrolled full-time. The majority of their classes must be in-person and on campus. See the list of programs that satisfy these requirements, and contact the International Student and Scholars Office with questions.

Admission Procedures: See additional information regarding Graduate Admission policies and International Graduate Application online.

**See Exceptions to Policy in Graduate Admissions.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Fine Arts in Theatre requires 60 units. Students will complete this requirement over the course of 24 months.

Curriculum

Performance
THEA 605PERFORMANCE: ENSEMBLE3
THEA 670PERFORMANCE AND SOCIETY3
THEA 760INTERNATIONAL THEORIES AND AESTHETICS3
Design/Tech
THEA 608THEATRE DESIGN TECHNIQUES3
THEA 610THEATRE SYSTEMS1
Theory
THEA 601THEORIES OF THE AVANT-GARDE3
THEA 602HISTORY OF EXPERIMENTAL PERFORMANCE3
Writing
THEA 609TEXT CONSTRUCTION3
Artist As Entrepreneur
THEA 607SELF-EMPOWERMENT IN THEATRE3
Independent Study
THEA 680SPECIAL TOPICS3
Synthesis
THEA 675SYNTHESIS I: FORMAL ELEMENTS3
THEA 720SYNTHESIS II: DIRECTING3
THEA 770SYNTHESIS III: WORKING WITH DESIGN IN PERFORMANCE3
Thesis/Project
THEA 695INDEPENDENT PROJECT IN THEATRE (First year presentations)3
THEA 780PROJECTS IN PROCESS3
THEA 740GRADUATE PROJECT LABORATORY4
THEA 750GRADUATE PROJECT AND PERFORMANCE4
THEA 880MFA FINAL PROJECT9
Total Units60

A project proposal and portfolio review is required before registering for the final project.

Towson University reserves the right to change degree requirements for the M.F.A. Information on changes will be available on the Towson University M.F.A. in Theatre website or from the graduate program director.

In this program, students will:

  1. Develop and/or refine their own personal aesthetic as makers of theatre
  2. Expand their capacity to engage with and use the elements of theatre - design (costume, lighting, sound, etc.), text, performance, technology, etc. - in new and exciting ways
  3. Explore the intersection of theatre and other art forms/areas of academic study to create interdisciplinary work.
  4. Acquire techniques to create new work effectively in an ensemble, as a collaborator with other artists, or as an independent artist.
  5. Discover ways their art can speak to and/or grow out of work with specific communities.
  6. Demonstrate a firm grounding in the history of experimental performance and theories of the historical avant-garde, and articulate the relationship between these histories and theories, and their unique individual aesthetics.