Since 1996, Cleveland Play House (CPH) has partnered with Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) to offer a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting.
Every two years, the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program accepts a class of eight actors into its three-year program. The intimate class size, and the fact that students are accepted only every other year, enables the program to tailor curriculum and performance experiences to suit the specific training needs of each class.
This intense physical and language-based conservatory program is designed to train a theatre artist capable of performing skillfully in a variety of roles from contemporary to classical genres. The program provides both technical skills and an aesthetic sensibility for a successful and sustained career in the professional theatre.
Throughout the three years of training, the acting, voice, speech and movement instructors work in concert to assess the individual student's progress and integrate the various disciplines in ways that will create maximum flexibility, freedom of expression and dynamic range. The program’s goal is to instill the skills, discipline and craft that will produce a distinctive and effective actor able to encompass the full range of professional demands.
These training objectives are pursued in an environment that integrates the educational, artistic and professional resources of one of the oldest academic theatre programs in the United States (Case Western Reserve University) and the nation's first regional theatre (Cleveland Play House).
The first year involves ensemble building, learning a shared vocabulary and addressing the habits and tensions in body and voice. The apprenticeship with CPH begins this year with classes and workshops with CWRU faculty and resident and visiting CPH artists. Students are introduced to all incoming casts, directors and designers and have company status at all CPH functions. The first year culminates in an MFA ensemble performance in the Helen Theatre.
As a cohesive ensemble, the second year class is challenged with a wide range of movement styles and more complex texts. The modernists and classics are introduced with a focus on Chekhov, Ibsen, Shakespeare and Shaw. Students are involved in classroom workshop presentations, singing tutorials and possible performance and understudy assignments in CPH’s season and New Ground Theatre Festival. The class also performs in fully produced MFA ensemble productions each semester in the Helen Theatre.
Performance experiences include a classical ensemble production in The Helen Theatre, along with mainstage and understudy work with CPH on a contract with Actors’ Equity Association. Depending on the extent of CPH opportunities, other performances are developed, such as workshop productions and/or fully staged presentations. At the end of the year, MFA candidates present an Industry Showcase for agents, managers 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 membership in Actors’ Equity Association.
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. Each year, once roles have been assigned, MFA acting students will meet with their advisors to determine roles that might be included in the thesis portfolio.
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 each role and how this synthesis affected the actor's choices in rehearsal and performance
At the end of the first semester of the third year, students submit the thesis portfolio to their faculty advisor in a timely manner. Satisfactory completion of the Thesis Portfolio and the third-year internship are among the requirements for being awarded the MFA degree.
The Allen, Helen and Outcalt theatres are located at Playhouse Square
1407 Euclid Avenue Cleveland, OH 44115
Administrative Offices and Education Center
1901 E. 13th Street, Suite 200 Cleveland, OH 44114 (216) 400-7000
7401 Detour Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44103