Theatre Pedagogy

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The MFA in Theatre Pedagogy Program 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 over 90 alumni that currently hold faculty positions at universities and colleges or key positions in education departments of major LORT theatres. The program allows the student to work with a faculty mentor in planning a two to three year curriculum integrating the practical application of teaching with that of well-rounded scholarly/academic training.

Upon acceptance into the MFA in Theatre Pedagogy, a two to three year program is designed by the Departmental Director of Graduate Studies to aid the candidate in planning a curriculum that best prepares him or her for successful entry into the teaching profession. The program effectively combines classes in pedagogy, scholarship, academics, rehearsal and performance, and the practice of teaching. Additionally, candidates receive training in the art of job preparation and application. The thesis project may be related to a production or course in which the student is involved.

The requirements for the MFA in Theatre Pedagogy consist of a minimum of 60 credit hours of course work, and 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).

The Core Requirements of 21 credits are:

Four Courses in theatre history, dramatic literature and theory: 12 credits
Minimum of two topical seminars: 6 credits
One semester of Theatre Pedagogy: 3 credits

The Thesis or Creative Project will be for either 3 or 6 credits, depending on the area of focus, and if a student’s thesis is connected to teaching or production work.

Students also take a minimum of 9 to 15 credits in their area of specialization and frequently have a secondary area of interest.

Electives make up the remainder of the program, and include other graduate-level courses in Theatre, (with options in English), practical work in teaching, independent studies, creative projects, research assignments or internships.

Core (including Theatre pedagogy): 21
Thesis: 3 – 6
Major Concentration: 9 – 15
Electives: 24 – 27


The MFA in Performance Pedagogy includes all acting, directing, voice and speech, and movement courses.

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The graduate program in Performance Pedagogy is designed for people who desire to teach acting and/or directing at the university/college level. The 2-3 year curriculum includes a wide range of courses in acting and directing under the mentorship of professors from the performance track .

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 VCU 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.

Graduate students in the Performance Pedagogy track frequently design their curriculum under the mentorship of their faculty mentor.

Additional focus areas in Performance include Stage Voice and Speech and Movement Pedagogy.

For more information please contact the Director of Graduate Studies Dr. Keith Byron Kirk 

Stage Voice and Speech

The graduate focus in Voice and Speech Pedagogy is geared toward mature students who have some teaching/coaching experience beyond college/university level. The program can take 2-3 years, depending upon the background of the candidate.

In addition to coursework, graduate students will have the 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 as well as having 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.

Please contact the Head of Voice and Speech, Karen Kopryanski for additional information at or Director of Graduate Studies Dr. Keith Byron Kirk 


The graduate focus in Movement Pedagogy is designed for people 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 two-three year 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-three of these areas.

Under the training of Professors Aaron Anderson, pedagogy students are mentored through an intense combination of classroom and production work, assisting, small group tutorials and extra-curricular activities that require a strenuous commitment on the part of students.

Dramatic Literature and Dramaturgy

The MFA in Dramatic Literature and Dramaturgy includes both core courses and independent studies in theatre history and dramatic literature, as well as seminars in dramaturgy, courses in playwriting (Department of English) and special topics classes. Students also serve as teaching assistants and instructors for undergraduate courses in theatre history, introduction to drama, and dramatic literature; they also work in the VCU production program as dramaturgs. There are opportunities to work in local theatres as well as to create courses in areas of specialization. Each student designs their own program under the guidance of Graduate Studies director Dr. Keith Byron Kirk.

Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies/Theatre, Dr. Keith Byron Kirk for additional information at

This program prepares students to teach at the college level or to pursue doctoral studies in theatre.


Go to  VCU Graduate School for general information.

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For course descriptions click here.

For course requirement for Performance Pedagogy see the VCU Graduate Bulletin here.

For course requirements for Dramatic Literature and Dramaturgy see the VCU Graduate Bulletin here.