Skip to: Main Content Search Navigation Secondary Navigation


School of Dance, Film, and Theater
Ohio University > Fine Arts > Theater > Academics > Graduate Programs > Graduate MFA in Acting

Graduate MFA in Acting



The Professional Actor Training Program (PATP) prepares advanced students for careers as professional actors, with the expectation that students will take responsibility for the depth and development of their own artistic practices. Led by a faculty of working theater practitioners, the school offers a rigorous three-year M.F.A. conservatory program. Recruiting a class once every three years, each student is closely mentored by a faculty committed to a unified vision and individual student growth. The training is dedicated to producing well-rounded, skillful, and creative actor/artists. To meet the demands of the 21st century, actors must have expertise in a range of styles and be adept at working in any medium. To accomplish this it is essential that they have a clear, specific and personal approach to the craft of acting. We offer a comprehensive progression in acting, voice and speech, and movement: the principal components of the three-year program. Additional coursework will include on-camera technique, devised work, text analysis, specialized areas of voice and movement, and audition techniques.

The Acting Studio

With a strong foundation in the Meisner Technique, the first year of training puts rigorous emphasis on the authentic use of self, the reality of doing, the awakening of the emotional life, and the collaborative process. The second year of training focuses on creating complex characters through the application of the foundation work to scenes, exercises and performance. Style work begins in the second half of the second year with a semester long focus on playing Shakespeare. The third year more fully integrates the classical repertoire, encompassing a wide range of period style work. Third year students will also be exposed to industry professionals and hone their audition technique and business acumen in classroom and professional settings. In the movement studio, emphasis is placed on the human body as an instrument of expression, and on developing strength, alignment, flexibility, availability and stamina. Voice and speech work focuses on releasing habitual tension, increasing power and range, and utilizing specific speech choices.  A project driven on-camera class in the final semester is co-taught by faculty from the Film Division and the Theater Division.

Performance Opportunities

Every actor performs a minimum of one role per semester. This can be in the Theater Division's main stage offerings or in its studio or laboratory productions. Actors also work regularly in the development and production of new plays, both in workshop and in the annual Seabury Quinn Jr., Playwright’s Festival in collaboration with the students in the MFA Playwriting Program. Collaborations with the Film Division are frequent, and actors will have ample opportunity to work on camera. In all cases, special emphasis is placed on the student’s ability to synthesize the work of the studio with the practical realities of his or her casting.

Assessment and Admission

There is continual communication among the performance faculty members aimed at monitoring and advancing the preparation and process of each student. Semester evaluations inform students of their progress, outline specific strengths and weaknesses, and specify goals for the upcoming semester. Students demonstrating consistent growth are invited by the faculty to continue in the succeeding year of training. Admission to the program is by interview and audition at the annual U/RTA sites and at scheduled auditions on campus. The PATP is open to a limited number of talented, mature, and committed students.  On campus auditions will be scheduled by appointment throughout the fall of 2017, and on a weekend in February of 2018 (to be announced). A class of four women and six men is currently in their second year of training. We are accepting a class of ten actors for admission in the fall of 2018.

Professional Opportunities

Actors will be offered the opportunity to be involved in a summer of performance activities at the Tantrum Theater in Dublin, Ohio. Equity Membership Candidacy is available to participating actors. A wide range of industry guests visit campus each year - frequently for extended workshops.

Internship Opportunities

Internships are required, and a range of professional internships are available to all MFA candidates in acting. The internship credits may be fulfilled by acting in a production at the Tantrum Theater.

For additional information, contact Shelley Delaney, Head of the Professional Actor Training Program.

PATP Sample Curriculum

A minimum of 18 studio hours per week per semester

Fall, Year One

  • 5110: Acting Foundation: Introduction to the Meisner Technique, Introduction to Michael Chekhov Technique
  • 5160: Movement Foundation: Bartenieff Fundamentals, Yoga and Authentic Movement. Temporal and spatial explorations via Laban Movement Analysis and Viewpoints. Ensemble building and creating original movement scores.
  • 5170: Voice and Speech: Release of Physical Tension and Connection to Impulse
  • 5110: Introduction to Graduate Studies Seminar


Spring, Year One

  • 5111: Acting Foundation: Meisner Technique
  • 5161: Movement Foundation: Suzuki, Viewpoints, Neutral Mask
  • 5171: Focusing Voice and Speech through Action


Fall, Year Two

  • 6110: Meisner Technique: Application and Character, Spoon River Anthology
  • 6160: Movement Application: Embodied image and action. Character work via chakras, archetypes and animals
  • 6170: Voice and Speech: Heightened Language
  • Theater History, Theater Theory or Dramatic Literature Seminar


Spring, Year Two

  • 6111: Shakespeare; Michael Chekhov Technique
  • 6161: Movement: Stage Combat, with testing for certification
  • 6171: Voice and Speech: Accents, Dialects and Styles


Fall, Year Three

  • 7110: Style Scene Study: Anton Chekhov and British High Comedy
  • 7170: Movement: Devised performance project
  • 7170: Specific Applications of Voice and Speech, including Voice Over
  • 6940: Thesis
  • Theater History, Theater Theory or Dramatic Structure Seminar


Spring, Year Three

  • 7111: Acting: On Camera, Cold Reading, Marketing and Industry
  • 7161: Contemplative practice: Authentic Movement and integration
  • 7171: Voice, Movement and Acting Synthesis
  • 6941: Thesis


Shelley Delaney

Professor of Performance- Head Performance
(740) 593-4818

David Haugen

Associate Professor of Performance
(740) 593-4818

Brian Evans

Associate Professor of Performance
(740) 593-4818

Rebecca VerNooy

Associate Professor of Performance
(740) 593-4818