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M.F.A. in Theatre

Perform. Grow. Inspire.
Direct your future.
The theatre has become your home and you’re ready to take the next step. Earning an M.F.A. in Theatre at Penn State will build upon what you have learned and help you to grow into the artist you dream of becoming. Our world-class faculty is ready to help you advance your career and discover your artistic voice with highly specialized instruction tailored to your goals. Our M.F.A. degree includes programs in acting, theatre design and technology, directing for musical theatre, and music directing for musical theatre.

The next chapter of your theatre story is waiting to be written. Stay in the spotlight and take your career to another level.

Our M.F.A in Theatre program has proven to be an incubator for elite theatre talent. By offering a wide range of degree concentrations, Penn State is a place where you will have room to grow as an artist while being part of one of the most respected theatre programs in the country.

Graduate students enrolled in our M.F.A. in Theatre program focus on acting, theatre design and technology, directing for musical theatre, or music directing for musical theatre.

Penn State’s Theatre 100 Company is a unique assembly of eight graduate actors who learn and perform alongside of graduate directors. Accepted students are eligible for an assistantship that will cover tuition and offer a stipend.

The highly specialized theatre design and technology concentration offers students the opportunity to focus on costume design, costume technology, or scenic design.

If a career in directing musical theatre is in your future, our highly competitive and groundbreaking directing and music directing for musical theatre programs offer training from industry leaders that will prepare you to be a uniquely skilled director in the evolving musical theatre landscape.

All of our degree concentrations offer various professional production opportunities and collaborative educational experiences with established theatre professionals that will help you to hone your skills while making invaluable connections to the industry.

Is an M.F.A. in Theatre right for you?

The M.F.A in Theatre program is one of the most unique and well-respected theatre education programs in the country that consistently exists as a conduit to Broadway and beyond.

Collaboration is at the core of the educational experience at Penn State, as evident in our assistantship opportunities. Penn State’s Theatre 100 company highlights the program’s wholistic approach to developing artists and acts as a model for modern theatre education.

The strength of the three-year graduate training programs lies within our students who are committed to growth, accept challenges, and are eager to perform in a program that encompasses both rigorous classwork and demanding production experience.

Alongside of their specialized training, graduate students in acting and directing may teach Theatre 100 and/or Theatre 102 in addition to other assignments.

M.F.A. Theatre student showcasing his costume design work.

Considering the M.F.A. in Theatre? Consider this.

Focus on acting, design & tech, directing for music theatre, or music directing for music theatre.

  • Highly specialized courses and individualized attention prepare you for the industry.
  • Acting students perform as part of the Theatre 100 company.
  • Numerous opportunities to interact with and learn from guest artists with a range of experiences.

Being 'scene'

Student's costumes and set designs from initial sketches through final fabrication.

Alumni Spotlight

Penn State provided the specialized training required to succeed in my field in the “real world,” as well as a strong network of alumni to guide me once I got there.
Penn State alumna and events professional Carolyn Quinn wearing headset.

Alumni Spotlight

Carolyn Quinn

B.F.A. in Theatre 2016

Carolyn Quinn is an events professional based in New York City. She is currently a production coordinator at Sequence Events, a Global Top 50 Events Agency. Prior to Sequence, Carolyn spent time at Baseline Theatrical and in the general management office of Hamilton: An American Musical, as well as freelancing for high-profile corporate and non-profit events, new
theatrical works, and television and film, including working on the production team for the 71st Annual Tony Awards.

An overhead shot of the 2018 Global Forum hosted in the Oculus World Trade Center. Carolyn Quinn production managed the event with Sequence for the Wharton School of Business.

News from A&A

Theatre professor wins two Helen Hayes Award nods

Milagros Ponce de León, associate professor and head of the B.F.A. Design and Technology program, was recently nominated for two Helen Hayes Awards for outstanding set design.

Milagros Ponce de León, associate professor and head of the B.F.A. Design and Technology program, was recently nominated for two Helen Hayes Awards for outstanding set design for her work on Into


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2020 Art Business Ideas Competition now accepting entries

Jonathan Gangi, assistant professor of music and arts entrepreneurship is now accepting entries for the 2020 Arts Business Ideas Competition.
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