Master of Fine Arts in Theatre with a concentration in pedagogy/performance

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students practicing in theatre class

About the Program

Applications to the theatre graduate programs in costume design and pedagogy/performance have been paused and are not receiving applications for Fall 2022. Sign up to receive updates regarding future program updates.

The Master of Fine Arts in Theatre with a concentration in pedagogy/performance is individually tailored to prepare early- to mid-career theatre professionals to enter the field of teaching at the university or college level. The program boasts more than 90 alumni who currently hold faculty positions at universities and colleges or key positions in education departments of major LORT theatres.

Upon acceptance, you will work with a faculty mentor and the department’s director of graduate studies to plan a two- to three-year curriculum integrating the practical application of teaching with that of well-rounded scholarly/academic training.

The program effectively combines classes in pedagogy, scholarship, academics, rehearsal and performance, and the practice of teaching. Additionally, you will receive training in the art of job preparation and application. Your thesis project may be related to a production or course in which you are  involved.

The program requires a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework; non-credit requirements of written teaching observations in the first year; and the submission of a formal paper/essay of publishable quality, or demonstration of equivalent by a presentation of work at a professional conference, usually in the second year.

Students in the Master of Fine Arts in Theatre with a concentration in pedagogy/performance program can choose to focus in the areas of performance, stage voice and speech, or movement.

students practicing in theatre class

Areas of Focus


  • In addition to classroom work, graduate students in this area are required to assist the teaching of classes and participate actively in the production of plays and musicals on the VCUarts mainstage and Shafer Street Student Alliance Laboratory Theatre. Upper-level graduate students may have the opportunity to teach classes in their area of specialization. Performance students often act and/or direct professionally for theatres around the city of Richmond.

Stage Voice and Speech

  • Graduate students have opportunities to coach plays directed by faculty and guest artists. When ready, they will teach undergraduate voice and speech classes in basic voice work, IPA, vocal dynamics, Shakespeare, and dialects, and have the opportunity to create and teach their own devised courses. At the end of their training, students may request to be certified in those areas in which they are proficient in teaching.


  • Movement courses are designed for students who desire to work professionally as dance or fight choreographers or movement coaches or to teach movement-related courses at the college/university level. The curriculum includes training in movement analysis, movement for actors, mime, clowning, stage combat, dance and fight choreography, musical theatre, and physical acting and directing physical theatre. Graduate students are expected to study a minimum of two to three of these areas.

Images on this page by Aaron Sutten