MFA in Directing

The Master of Fine Arts in Directing program trains artists to know who they are in themselves, so that they will know who they are in the world.

The MFA program pursues this goal by guiding each director to discover, develop and apply their individual artistic voice with vision and integrity. We accept three highly motivated individuals each year – artists with a passionate drive to work in the theater at the highest level of creativity and accomplishment. We give strongest consideration to those who have been directing work, running theater companies, and contributing to the emerging landscape of contemporary theater. These directors seek out a graduate program because they are ready to slow down and engage in a deep examination of what they want to say, how they want to say it, and why they want to say it in the theater. We provide a place for this crucial introspection, supported by rigorous scholarship, a fully-funded assistantship, and intensive mentoring. We prioritize each artist’s role and opportunity in a professional community.

We train directors to: 

  • Understand and define the work they want to make
  • Develop their collaborations with other artists
  • Explore their practice in a rigorously informed historical and critical context
  • Articulate what they believe theatre should do in the world
  • Build relationships with audiences and communities

Directors accepted into the program will work side by side with a gifted cohort of MFA designers and our award-winning faculty. The course of study includes a rich and unique curriculum that puts the focus on a director’s personal vision, depth of craft, leadership, creativity and collaborative voice, and how these skills are employed in relationship to the community context in which they will work.

Directors are exposed to an expansive range of artists, scholars, and critical perspectives, while being supported in close tutorial relationships with a core faculty. While collaborating with actors and designers in classroom and production activities, they also learn advanced directing theory and practice from working directors at such prestigious national theatres as Steppenwolf, The Goodman Theater and Lookingglass, among many others. As well as having opportunities to develop and lead projects on campus, students may pursue varied production opportunities such as professional internships in the multifaceted and thriving Chicago theater community.