Directing (M.F.A. in Theatre)

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Directing (M.F.A. in Theatre)

The directing program is a vital, ascendant, highly selective professional training program targeted to mid-career theatre artists of proven expertise who embrace the evolving role of the 21st century director.

The Master of Fine Arts in Theatre with a specialization in directing program at The University of Texas at Austin is a vital, ascendant, highly selective professional training program targeted to mid-career theatre artists of proven expertise who embrace the evolving role of the 21st century director.

As a department committed to the comprehensive training of directors and the creation of new works for the stage, we believe directing to be both a collaborative and generative craft - and thus our program welcomes artists from a variety of theatrical disciplines and backgrounds who seek a vigorous interdisciplinary approach to the art of making theatre.

This unique degree plan combines a rigorous immersion in the tactical craft of directing with a bold embrace of collaborative theatre models. As part of our focus on new work, M.F.A. directing students work closely and regularly with the university's award-winning M.F.A. in Theatre playwriting program, directing/developing aesthetically diverse new work in both classroom, workshop and production settings. In addition to preparing our directors for scripted work (by both established and emerging playwrights) - we also expect them to be conversant and accomplished in a variety of non-traditional approaches to creating new theatre: generative, adaptive, devised and community-based.

Graduate directors at the university have abundant opportunities for production and play development resources, including the Cohen New Works Festival, the mainstage season, workshop and lab seasons and annual premiere productions in UTNT (UT New Theatre). Directors have also participated in Austin-based festivals such as Fusebox and the Hyde Park's FronteraFest. Directors receive feedback on both their coursework and major productions from artistic leaders in the profession such as Tim Bond (Syracuse Stage/University of Washington), Maria Goyanes (The Public Theater), Lisa McNulty (The Women's Project) and Giovanna Sardelli (Theatreworks).

Graduate directors have access to targeted professional residencies around the country such as Soho Rep, Southern Rep and Kitchen Dog theaters and ongoing summer observerships. Students have observed at venues such as Clubbed Thumb, Steppenwolf Theatre, The Orchard Project, O'Neill Theatre Center, PlayPenn, the Contemporary American Theatre Festival and Oregon Shakespeare Festival, among others.

Core faculty include: Annie Baker, KJ Sanchez, Kirk Lynn, Alexandra Bassiakou Shaw and Patrick Shaw. 

Recent guests include Recent guest artists include playwrights Les Waters, Risa Brainin, Anne Kaufman, Ken Russ Schmoll, Pirronne Yousefzadeh; playwrights Erik Ehn, Aditi Kapil, Sherry Kramer, Ty Defoe, Kevin Kling, Sarah Ruhl, Aya Ogawa;  and artistic leaders Sarah Benson (Soho Rep), Jeremy Cohen (The Playwrights' Center), Hannah Sharif (Repertory Theatre St. Louis), Marya Sea Kaminski (Pittsburgh Public Theater), Lue Douthit (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Maria Goyanes (Public Theater), Adam Greenfield (Playwrights Horizons), Aimee Hayes (Southern Rep), Meredith McDonough (Actors Theater of Louisville), Joy Meads (Center Theatre Group), Tanya Palmer (The Goodman theatre) and Maria Striar (Clubbed Thumb).

Download the Program Guide

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From studios to stages, see what facilities make up the F. Loren Winship Drama Building.

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UTNT (UT New Theatre)

Learn more about UTNT (UT New Theatre), an annual showcase of new plays written and directed by students in the Playwriting/Directing area at the Department of Theatre and Dance and Michener Center for Writers.


Meet the Faculty

  • Annie Baker

    Associate Professor of Practice, Playwriting/Directing
  • Kirk Lynn

    Associate Professor, Playwriting and Directing
    John D. Murchison Fellow in Fine Arts
    Fellow of Bennett Cerf Regents Professorship in Writing
  • KJ Sanchez

    Head, Playwriting/Directing
    Associate Professor, Playwriting/Directing
  • Patrick Shaw

    Assistant Professor of Practice, Playwriting/Directing
    Undergraduate Executive Committee Member

In the News

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