Man of LaMancha

CWRU/CPH MFA Program

Overview

In Arabia We'd All Be Kings, 2012

In Arabia We'd All Be Kings, 2012

Since 1996, Cleveland Play House has partnered with Case Western Reserve University to offer a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting. In 2003, it became a conservatory program completely housed at Cleveland Play House.

Every two years, the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program accepts a class of eight actors into its three-year program. All three years are spent in residency at Cleveland Play House, providing students with unique access to its state-of-the-art facilities and the professional expertise of its staff.

The program is designed to instill the physical, mental, and practical techniques needed by today's successful theatre artists. Its intimate class size enables the curriculum and performance experiences to be tailored to suit the specific training needs of each class and individual student. Together, instructors in acting, voice, speech, and movement work to train and assess the progress of each student, integrating the various disciplines in ways that will create maximum flexibility, freedom of expression, and dynamic range, with the ultimate goal of instilling the skills, discipline, and an aesthetic of craft necessary to develop a distinctive and effective actor capable of encompassing the full range of professional demands.

The Winter's Tale, 2012

The Winter's Tale, 2012

First Year

In the first year of study, students are immersed in rigorous classes in Acting (Contemporary), Movement, Voice, Speech (Skinner), and Text Analysis, culminating in a year-end performance in the Helen Rosenfeld Lewis Bialosky Lab Theatre at Cleveland Play House. The apprenticeship with CPH begins with classes and workshops with resident and visiting CPH artists, introductions to all incoming casts, directors, and designers, and Company status at all CPH functions.

Second Year

Second-year students continue their intensive training and performing. Coursework continues in Acting (Chekhov & Ibsen - The Modernists and Shakespeare), Voice, Speech (Dialects and Classical Text), and Movement (Period Styles and Commedia). Involvement with CPH and Actors' Equity Association expands with assignments to Mainstage understudy work and performances in the New Ground Theatre Festival.

Third Year

Third-year students perform in at least one Classical production, with opportunities to perform during The CPH season. Depending on the extent of Mainstage opportunities, other performances are developed, such as workshop productions and/or fully staged presentations. At the end of the year, MFA candidates present a showcase audition for producers, agents, and casting directors in New York City.

Upon successful completion of the program, the student is awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting, along with the opportunity to join Actors' Equity Association, either through accumulation of weeks through the Equity Membership Candidate program or through assignment of an AEA contracted role.

The Academic Structure

  • A minimum of 60 semester hours of graduate work beyond the bachelor's degree
  • A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 for all course work on the graduate level
  • Performance in the Graduate Ensemble productions and Cleveland Play House season, as assigned
  • Departmental assessment of student progress on a semester-to-semester basis

Thesis Portfolio

The portfolio will consist of a detailed, articulate account of the actor's rehearsal process and related preparation for the performance of at least three roles created during their MFA course of study.

  • Content of the portfolio will include a narrative outlining the synthesis of craft and class work with research directly relevant to the creation and performance of the role, as well as how this synthesis affected the actor's choices in rehearsal and performance. The portfolio will include a minimum of three roles, two of which must be "major" roles.
  • Each year, once roles in the theatre's production season have been assigned, MFA acting students will meet with their advisors to determine roles which might be included in the thesis portfolio.
  • In the final semester of the third year, the thesis portfolio is turned in to the students' faculty advisor in a timely manner. Satisfactory completion of the portfolio and the third-year internship are among the requirements for awarding of the MFA degree.

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