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MFA Specialization in Acting



The Meisner-based acting program cultivates the students’ fuller understanding of themselves and of human behavior to enable them to work within a framework of truth onstage. Actors achieve this ability through developing their imagination, their sense of conversational reality, their responsiveness and spontaneity and their capacity for a full emotional life which can be expressed with meaning and clarity. The individual components of voice, movement and technique work are taught concurrently as disciplines within themselves but sharing an essential interrelationship that supports the overall development of the performance training.

An important element of this approach is that an ensemble of graduate acting students is created that trains, works and performs as a cohesive unit for the entire tenure of the degree program. Students are not added to the program until the current group of students graduate, then a new ensemble is created. Consequently, applications to the program are accepted only every three years. The next class will be formed for the Fall 2016 semester. Consequently, applications to the program will not be accepted until the Fall of 2015.


Candidates for the specialization in acting are required to audition in person. Every candidate must choose and present two memorized audition pieces, a classical selection in verse and a contemporary piece. One selection must be in the comic mode and one serious. The total time of presentation should not exceed four minutes. The acting candidate is also asked to supply the audition committee with at least one current photograph and a resume. An option of a video tape (VHS) of the audition pieces may be accepted if the candidate lives 500 miles or more from DeKalb and is unable to appear in person. For more information, or to set up an audition, please email

Course Work

Students enrolled in the acting specialization will take a wide variety of courses including the following:

  • Stage Combat Acting Studio: On-Camera
  • Theatre History
  • The Business of Theatre
  • Topics in Theatrical Performance
  • Research Techniques in Theatre Arts
  • Period Style for Actors: Text Analysis
  • Period Style for Actors: Physicality
  • Acting Techniques
  • Advanced Voice and Diction: Freeing the Voice
  • Advanced Voice and Diction: Building the Voice
  • Advanced Voice and Diction: Voice Characterization
  • Advanced Voice and Diction: Stage Speech
  • Advanced Acting: The Actor's Inner Life
  • Advanced Acting: Clarity and Character
  • Advanced Movement: Relaxation and Response
  • Advanced Movement: Expression and the Body
  • Advanced Movement: Specificity
  • Verse Drama