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MFA Programs IN THEATRE

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So, I'm seriously shopping for MFA programs. When I find and get into one, I'll look for a teaching job nearby and then make it happen a little bit at a time.

I'm looking for an MFA in Drama or Theatre or Directing.

I might even consider Pedagogy.

I don't want to narrow myself into just acting or design or even playwriting for that matter.

Ideas? thoughts? schools?

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Are you KIDDING??

www.spu.edu/mfa: How about the one run by Image Journal, during which you get to spend time with writers on Washington's Whidbey Island (my favorite place in the world) and then again in Santa Fe at the Glen Workshop, with folks like Eugene Peterson, Over the Rhine, Barry Moser, Luci Shaw, Paul Mariani, Scott Cairns, etc, etc, etc???

Sorry, but I am CRAZY for this program.

Oh, wait, sorry... that's an MFA in Creative Writing...

Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Right, JO. I've salivated plenty over that program, but it's too specified.

I think I want directing or pedegogy because I don't want to limit myself to just acting, just writing, or just design. The fields I've mentioned tap into the renaissance man I believe I am.

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So, I'm seriously shopping for MFA programs. When I find and get into one, I'll look for a teaching job nearby and then make it happen a little bit at a time.

I'm looking for an MFA in Drama or Theatre or Directing.

I might even consider Pedagogy.

I don't want to narrow myself into just acting or design or even playwriting for that matter.

Ideas? thoughts? schools?

Where do you want to work? What I always tell design students is to go to school where the profs are _working_ where you want to work. If they want to work in New York, they need to go to a school where the teachers and profs are actively working in NYC. If they want to work in LA, then they need to go to a school where the profs are working in LA. An MFA in Theatre is as much about networking as it is about the diploma. If the profs aren't working other than teaching, then they at least need to have the resume that says they don't need to work any more, as in everyone who _is_ working learned from them.

That's my thoughts,

Joe Futral


natureofthebeat.svbtle.com

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Good point. There are any number of regional theatre communities around.

And I really need to find a school that's at least within driuving distance of a housing market that's not WHITE HOT as Orlando is. I need to use the profit I make on selling my home to pay for this MFA.

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Good point. There are any number of regional theatre communities around.

And I really need to find a school that's at least within driuving distance of a housing market that's not WHITE HOT as Orlando is. I need to use the profit I make on selling my home to pay for this MFA.

Dan, I'd recommend Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. They offer theater MFAs in playwriting, acting, directing, production design, and technology. Ohio U. is particularly strong in the arts, primarily journalism and Radio and TV (Matt Lauer, Jay Mariotti, Roger Ailes, Joe Eszterhas, Martin Savidge), but they've done okay in theater, too (Paul Newman, Arsenio Hall, Richard Dean Anderson, Nancy Cartwright).

You'll find really, really nice houses for $100,00 - $150,000 because Athens is in one of the most economically depressed areas of the country. You'll find university professors, students, and former coal miners. And it's a pretty area of the world, right in the foothills of the Appalachians. Columbus is a little over an hour away; Pittsburgh about an hour and a half. Neither of these cities look like Cleveland, and are actually quite liveable, with thriving arts communities.

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So Dan, can my wife have your job in Orlando?

PM me for our phone number if you want to talk to her about the psychosocial mad scientists' lab that is the Cal Arts MFA program.

Dan, I'd recommend Ohio University in Athens, Ohio ... Joe Eszterhas ... Arsenio Hall ...

Amazing what you can do with ellipses, isn't it?


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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Good point. There are any number of regional theatre communities around.

And I really need to find a school that's at least within driuving distance of a housing market that's not WHITE HOT as Orlando is. I need to use the profit I make on selling my home to pay for this MFA.

Dan, I'd recommend Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. They offer theater MFAs in playwriting, acting, directing, production design, and technology. Ohio U. is particularly strong in the arts, primarily journalism and Radio and TV (Matt Lauer, Jay Mariotti, Roger Ailes, Joe Eszterhas, Martin Savidge), but they've done okay in theater, too (Paul Newman, Arsenio Hall, Richard Dean Anderson, Nancy Cartwright).

You'll find really, really nice houses for $100,00 - $150,000 because Athens is in one of the most economically depressed areas of the country. You'll find university professors, students, and former coal miners. And it's a pretty area of the world, right in the foothills of the Appalachians. Columbus is a little over an hour away; Pittsburgh about an hour and a half. Neither of these cities look like Cleveland, and are actually quite liveable, with thriving arts communities.

Thanks Andy. Good stuff. I'll look into it. Would you say Athens will increase in value? Or is it a dead town that's going to stay dead?

It'd like to be near Pitt. I hear great things about that city. It's third on my list of best buzz about cities. After Vancouver and Asheville, NC.

So Dan, can my wife have your job in Orlando?

Maybe. Is she willing to tolerate no perfromance space, loopy charasmatics, and sub-par pay?

In truth, it's a great place to work, but financially it is only advantagious if you have kids. Tuition is free for staff. (for the first kid and then 15% off for additional kids)

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Thanks Andy. Good stuff. I'll look into it. Would you say Athens will increase in value? Or is it a dead town that's going to stay dead?

Athens, Ohio is a quintessential college town -- 22,000 students, 10,000 townies. Because of the university there's a surprising amount of cultural life -- good concerts, great plays, some decent restaurants and coffee shops, etc. But when the students aren't around, it's pretty dead. I'm no real estate expert, but I wouldn't imagine that the housing values will fluctuate dramatically. The university isn't going away, and neither are the grim realities of a former coal-mining region where the current big employers are Wal-Mart and Pizza Hut. Unless you stick around and teach, you leave. But it's a wonderful place to hang out for a few years and pick up an MFA.

I hope that helps. Good luck in your search.

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University of Cincinnati has a top notch Conservatory, which gets into a lot of musical theater, and they offer an MFA in Production. Cincinnati's a good place, too, with a wonderful local arts scene, one of the coolest little mulitcultural urban churches around, great housing market (I have a 5 bedroom Tudor Revival bought for less than $200K that will most assuredly appreciate by the time I ever feel like moving).

I know they do non-musical theater, but I don't know much about it.

Edit: Here's the MFA in Directing page.

Edited by Buckeye Jones

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So Dan, can my wife have your job in Orlando?

PM me for our phone number if you want to talk to her about the psychosocial mad scientists' lab that is the Cal Arts MFA program.

Dan, I'd recommend Ohio University in Athens, Ohio ... Joe Eszterhas ... Arsenio Hall ...

Amazing what you can do with ellipses, isn't it?

Yeah. Joe Eszterhas and I took a bunch of creative writing classes together. He's gone on to ... well, however you would characterize a career that has included a stint at Rolling Stone, the screenplays for Flashdance and Basic Instinct, and a cameo role in a movie in which his character is described as a "penile implant."

Me? Creating Graphics for Your Commodore 64 and Visicalc for Novices, baby. On my worst days, I could certainly be described as a penile implant.

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So, I'm seriously shopping for MFA programs. ...Ideas? thoughts? schools?

Have you looked into the big three? Yale, NYU/Tisch, or NCSA? I mean if you are going for an MFA, why not make it from a school that counts? Their networking is pretty much second to none. They don't calll it the Yale/NYU/NCSA syndicate for nothing. I know they will be expensive, but they have a higher probablity of roi. Just a thought.

Otherwise, I know FSU has a good and respected theatre and dance program. And I have a friend that teaches at Cal/Berkley. At least I'm pretty sure it is Berkley. I had a friend get into Ohio State, but after he started one of his profs recommended he go to Yale. Go figure.

As for how good a school is academically, it will all boil down to you anyway. So "contacts, contacts, contacts".

Again, look at if the faculty is working in the real world (a must) and where. MFAs aren't cheap. Make it count. It seems to never fail on the theatre newsgroups. Around March or April someone gets on and says "Hi! I'm about to get my MFA in theatre_(fill in the blank)_ and I thought I'd check and see what work there is out there!" All I can think of is "What the heck have you been doing for the last 6+ years?"

Find other people who are doing what you want to do and doing it well and ask them, too. Learn from the best, I always say.

Joe


natureofthebeat.svbtle.com

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So, I'm seriously shopping for MFA programs. ...Ideas? thoughts? schools?

Have you looked into the big three? Yale, NYU/Tisch, or NCSA? I mean if you are going for an MFA, why not make it from a school that counts? Their networking is pretty much second to none. They don't calll it the Yale/NYU/NCSA syndicate for nothing. I know they will be expensive, but they have a higher probablity of roi. Just a thought.

Otherwise, I know FSU has a good and respected theatre and dance program. And I have a friend that teaches at Cal/Berkley. At least I'm pretty sure it is Berkley. I had a friend get into Ohio State, but after he started one of his profs recommended he go to Yale. Go figure.

As for how good a school is academically, it will all boil down to you anyway. So "contacts, contacts, contacts".

Again, look at if the faculty is working in the real world (a must) and where. MFAs aren't cheap. Make it count. It seems to never fail on the theatre newsgroups. Around March or April someone gets on and says "Hi! I'm about to get my MFA in theatre_(fill in the blank)_ and I thought I'd check and see what work there is out there!" All I can think of is "What the heck have you been doing for the last 6+ years?"

Find other people who are doing what you want to do and doing it well and ask them, too. Learn from the best, I always say.

Joe

The big three are wayyy out of my range in regards to my GPA requirements which aren't particularly stellar, and in regards to my financial resources, which don't even know what stellar means.

I have a somewhat specific jhob market in mind. I want to do theatre in an atmosphere where I will influence the Church's complete lack of interaction with the arts. Which probably means teaching at a Christian College or directing a theatre company of my own or one like Lamb's Players, Taproot or Pacific Theatre. Companies who do professional shows that might attract Christians and present them with hard-hitting truth.

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So ya wanna direct at Taproot?

You might call Scott Nolte there and ask him about MFA programs. I think he did his with a university in Spain, mostly by correspondence, and one or two other folks on staff have gone through U. of Birmingham in England.

Leaving Los Angeles right after finishing her Cal Arts MFA was probably not the best move for my wife's theatre career. She had built relationships with faculty that could've led somewhere, but they didn't do her any good in Seattle. So if it matters to you that the faculty are working in the area, make sure it's an area where you wouldn't mind sticking around for a few years.


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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I brought this up with some friends while we were loading in a show today. UConn apparently has 6 theatres these days and recently got a huge grant. A couple of Yalees teach there and really involve their students in their outside projects. Carnegie Mellon (sp?) came up as did Emerson, Boston College, Brandice, and UCLA (which is where my friend teaches, I was corrected).

Someone also brought up attending an URTA (http://www.urta.com/ I think). Apparently they hold a "conference" where you set up and the schools come around to you. She had high regard for the process.

Also, The Huttington and American Rep Theatre in Boston are each affiliated with a college, but both escape me right now.

Don't be afraid to dream big! If God is with you (I can't imagine he isn't as this is what we need right now!) He'll take care of the rest!

I'll be praying for you!

Joe


natureofthebeat.svbtle.com

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Someone also brought up attending an URTA (http://www.urta.com/ I think). Apparently they hold a "conference" where you set up and the schools come around to you. She had high regard for the process.

Yep, it saves you having to fly all over the country for interviews/auditions. You pretty much have to go if you're trying to get into an acting program; you can audition for a bunch o' different programs in a weekend. Don't know whether URTA is also useful for someone like Dan interested in directing/teaching, but it might well be.


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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Yep, it saves you having to fly all over the country for interviews/auditions. You pretty much have to go if you're trying to get into an acting program; you can audition for a bunch o' different programs in a weekend. Don't know whether URTA is also useful for someone like Dan interested in directing/teaching, but it might well be.

The way one person described it, I got kind of a picture of that commercial where all the lenders are competing for your loan! She felt she was able to balance academic offerings and financial incentives as a result. According to the folks I was hangin out with yesterday they were saying it was mostly/originally performer types, but more design and production, and other people were also using the service. I never heard of it myself. But I'm an old fogey. When I went to school we pushed scenery up hill both ways in ten feet of snow and lekos were steam powered. And we liked it!

Joe


natureofthebeat.svbtle.com

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Okay wow!

I love this board!!

URTA looks like all the information and resources I need in one place! Thank you thank you thank you!!!

I also need to contact Scott Nolte. His name's been brought up by two separate sources.

Thanks all!!

Two more questions:

1. I'm curious about programs with a general Theatre MFA. Directing seems the closest to that, but I don't want to specialize too much.

2. Does an MFA exist that I could get part time over a number of years? I'm pretty sure I couldn't take off three years of work AND drop that much money. Education is for the rich, I suppose.

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2. Does an MFA exist that I could get part time over a number of years? I'm pretty sure I couldn't take off three years of work AND drop that much money. Education is for the rich, I suppose.

University of Cincinnati's site mentions both a part time MFA and a graduate assistanceship (sp?) program, wherein you can receive a stipend in exchange for teaching undergraduate classes. In UC's case, it looks focused on the musicianship cases, but check into it for other universities.

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The other standard piece of URTA advice: You may not get all the interview/audition slots you want. What you do in that case is get the hotel room numbers of the representatives of the schools you're interested in, call them and set up an unofficial appointment. Pretty much an accepted practice. Sarah set up a number of such auditions.


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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I have a somewhat specific jhob market in mind. I want to do theatre in an atmosphere where I will influence the Church's complete lack of interaction with the arts. Which probably means teaching at a Christian College or directing a theatre company of my own or one like Lamb's Players, Taproot or Pacific Theatre. Companies who do professional shows that might attract Christians and present them with hard-hitting truth.

A question I have, and not to question or doubt the value or validity of an MFA, is what do you think achieving an MFA will do for you that not having one doesn't? What is your purpose behind having an MFA in Theatre?

Joe Futral


natureofthebeat.svbtle.com

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I want to understand my art better. I LEARNED some, and then DID some, now I'm ready to LEARN more, so I can DO more. I feel I've hit a wall in my knowledge, and subsequently, in my enjoyment, of my art.

I also would love to work with people who know the art form and love it. In high school, I'm half selling and half teaching and usually half showing them how to do it. (I know, that's one and a half) An MFA gives me the opportunity to work with more advanced students who love theatre already.

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I want to understand my art better....

I also would love to work with people who know the art form and love it....

I feel ya! Great reasons!

Looking forward to having more Christians in the business. God be with you, man.

Joe


natureofthebeat.svbtle.com

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An MFA will be of some value in getting people from the theatrical side to engage more with the church.

It is not necessarily of any value at all when trying to get the church to engage more with theatre.


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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An MFA will be of some value in getting people from the theatrical side to engage more with the church.

It is not necessarily of any value at all when trying to get the church to engage more with theatre.

There is a lot of truth in what you say. There are many talented, respected people in theatre who have no degree whatsoever.

But with what Dan mentioned as what he wants out of the MFA, I can certainly commiserate. At the college where I was an adjunct, I have to admit I was more able to freely experiment as an artist. That is a luxury which doesn't exist all to plentiful in the real world. I've worked in some really creative environments and with some really creative, talented people who challenged me artistically. But when "butts in seats" becomes important, priorities do shift. In school one can fail in a project and still pass the course. In life, if you fail, you go hungry!

But I will say there is a difference between working (as in a job) with other people who love what they do and working with people who are _learning_ what they love in an academic environment. Which is why I think it is important that the faculty of a chosen school should be _working_ in their field and not just teaching.

Learning more of one's craft and art _can_ (though, as you say, not necessarily _does_) contribute to greater flexibility in communicating with both artists and the church. It won't hurt.

And many schools consider an MFA a terminal degree for collegiate teaching. At least that is what their job postings say.

Joe


natureofthebeat.svbtle.com

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