What Can You Do With An MFA in Acting?

If you’ve already studied acting at an undergraduate level or simply spent time studying the craft elsewhere, you may be wondering… why would I need an MFA? What exactly can I do with that degree? Look no further than here!

Act Professionally
Most MFA in Acting programs are designed to increase your connectivity, refine your skillset, and remove barriers to the professional industry.
Many MFA programs build into their curriculum the ability for their graduate students to earn their Actors’ Equity status by the end of the program. This is accomplished by partnerships with regional Equity theaters to ensure contracts and training for their actors. Having your Equity card enables you to go to Equity Principal Auditions, Equity Chorus Calls, and enables you access and the opportunity to be seen at more auditions. It also opens the door to different levels of pay and different types of contracts than before. Depending on the theater market you are hoping to live in and participate in, Equity status can either augment or limit your acting opportunities. It can be essential for acting in a place like New York City or Chicago. Additionally, many graduate degree programs in Acting run alongside MFAs in different disciplines such as Directing, Dramaturgy, and Playwrighting. As a result, your time in your MFA may help you build connections with other artists that elicit opportunities for collaboration in the future. Finally, the advanced curriculum in acting, movement, voice, theater studies, and more offers you a chance as an actor to refine the skillset you may have begun to explore in undergraduate or other previous experience, making you all the better for it. Strengthen your resume, polish your craft, and perhaps even discover a new skill!

Work at the Collegiate Level as a Teacher, Scholar, and Director
The requirement for teaching at the collegiate level is that you are an “expert” in your field, i.e. you have received the highest possible degree in that realm of study. The MFA is considered a terminal degree, meaning it is the highest level of study you can pursue in subjects such as Acting, Directing, or Dramaturgy. With this degree, you can teach as an adjunct, part-time, or full-time professor at the collegiate level as an acting professor, movement professor, or serve on the creative team of undergraduate productions. You can teach, but you can also research! Becoming a scholar of whatever types of work you love and act in is possible with an MFA degree. You can direct, research, and most important mentor the next generation of actors and theater artists.

Coach Acting
If you are a professional actor after graduation, it is likely that your schedule and location need to be flexible. Something you can do with an MFA in Acting that puts that degree directly in use is become an acting coach! This is a flexible gig that can be done in-person or remotely. You can coordinate your coaching schedule around both your clients’ schedules and your own! Having an MFA in the field of Acting makes you a credible expert and, having known firsthand what it’s like to be an actor, enables you to offer personal anecdotes and expertise based on your own lived experience. This is invaluable!

Become an Arts Leader
Just as there is no one right path to becoming an actor, there is no one path to many jobs in the creative field! Many MFA graduates go on to become acting-centric directors, arts administrators, nonprofit employees, and even artistic directors. Acting cultivates many multi-hyphenate skills such as communication skills, a sensibility for good and interesting plays, the ability to empathize and understand someone else’s situation, and the ability to multi-task. These sensibilities and deep knowledge of the craft come from further study in the discipline that can be offered and then utilized from an MFA in Acting degree.

These are just a few things you can do with an MFA in Acting. If you resonated with any of the above and are wondering what next steps to take, consider booking a consultation with one of our acting coaches here at Theater.Academy.

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