Mississippi Theatre Graduate Programs and Masters in Drama

For the student with a passion for the performing arts, theatre and drama, earning a Masters Degree in Theatre could potentially open the door to pursue a variety of careers as actors, directors, stage managers, playwrights, dramaturges, administrators, teachers, and theatre critics.

Masters Degree In Theatre and Drama Masters Programs

The term ‘theater’ is a collaborative form of the fine arts that uses actors and performance to present a theme in front of a live audience. Performers use a wide variety of modalities to including recitation, gestures, and song and dance, as part of their performance. Some of the technical aspects of theatre can involve modes of production, writing the literature and texts for theatre, and the collective of talents that it takes for set designing such as lighting, costumes, stage managers and sound producers.

Western theatre as a form of cultural expression has been around since ancient Greece[i]. The performing arts offer entertainment to us, providing the spectator with an escape into a fictional world or a creative space where new ideas are communicated. Theater and Drama professionals may take on any number of different roles whether in production, the artistic processes, or as an academic theater scholar who interprets, researches, or teaches. Typically, masters degree in theatre programs are designed for students who wish to pursue careers the world of theater in any one of these avenues.

Fun Facts about the history of the theater

  • The city-state of Athens is where western theatre originated[i]
  • There are references to theatrical entertainments in China as early as the Shang Dynasty[i]
  • The term, drama, is used to denote the specific mode of fiction represented in performance, and comes from the Greek work meaning “action”[i]

How to search for MFA or MA Theater programs

GradSchools.com makes searching for mfa theatre graduate programs very simple to do. You can perform a location search to determine where you can or want to earn your masters in theatre and drama. Just use the location tabs, and enter your preferred city, state or country. Next, you can decide which learning format best suits your needs. Choose from a selection of campus theatre masters programs, or, if you are currently a working theatre professional wishing to up date your technical skills or deepen your knowledge in theatre education, search mfa theatre programs online or look into a hybrid format. Both of these distance-learning options could be a good fit when you need to balance studies with other factors in your schedule. Many actors enhance their skills through formal dramatic education[ii]. Stage directors also often complete a degree in theatre and some for on to receive a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree[iii].

You can further refine your search for Masters Degree in Theatre or masters of fine arts in theatre by looking into any concentration that you are passionate about. For instance, you can find theatre masters programs such as an M.A. in Theatre Arts Administration, Drama, Theatre Education, or an MFA in Acting or Screenwriting and Playwriting.

MA and MFA theatre programs are typically designed for the developing theatre practitioner, and can be interdisciplinary to give the students an awareness of the entire process of theatrical production. Some of these processes can include acting, directing, dramaturgy and criticism, theatre management and playwriting.

Masters Degree in Theatre Possible Curriculum

Masters degree in theatre programs can vary between schools, and may offer concentrations that can then become the focal points of the program curriculum. There are different degree types, so it is always best to review individual curricula and requirements for the program you wish to enroll in.

Master of Arts in theatre and drama programs curricula can focus on the history, literature and critical theory of the performing arts, and may serve as a stepping stone into a PhD in theatre. This can be interesting for the student who is aspiring for a teaching career in theatre and drama[iv].

MFA theatre programs are typically designed for the developing theatre practitioner, and can be interdisciplinary to give the students an awareness of the entire process of theatrical production. Some of these processes can include acting, directing, dramaturgy and criticism, theatre management and playwriting.

MS in theatre education programs can be geared towards the student interested in the academic or teaching aspects of theatre and drama

Some of the topics that students in masters degree in theatre programs might learn can include:

  • Theatrical production
  • Theory
  • Criticism
  • Analysis of dramatic literature
  • Fundamentals of research
  • Playwriting
  • Set Design
  • Acting
  • Directing

Potential Career Paths for Masters in Theatre Graduates

Earning a masters degree in theatre may offer graduates a versatile credential for potential career paths such as actors, producers, directors and production roles[v]. According to the BLS, industries in the performing arts can include four basic processes[v]

  1. Producing and presenting events
  2. Organizing, promoting and managing events
  3. Managing and representing entertainers
  4. Providing the artistic, creative, and technical skill necessary to the production of these events.

Some of these potential career paths may include:

  • Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians: set up, operate, and maintain the electrical equipment for radio, and television broadcasts, concerts, sound recordings, movies, in office and school buildings[vi],
  • Actors: express and portray characters in theater, film, television, and other performing arts and media[vii]
  • Directors and Producers: create motion pictures, television shows, live theatre, and other performing arts productions[viii].
  • Art directors: are responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and movie and television productions, including set design[ix]
  • Writers and Authors: develop written content for advertisements, books, magazines, movies and television scripts, songs, online productions[x]
  • Postsecondary teachers: instruct a wide variety of academic and vocational subjects[xi]

Ready to pursue a Master’s in Theatre?

Whether or not you have a clear sense of where you are hoping your master’s in theatre degree will take you, enrolling in a theatre graduate program could lead to a variety of interesting career paths. Why not start browsing options on GradSchools.com to find the one that inspires you!


Sources: [i] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theatre | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/actors.htm#tab-4 | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/producers-and-directors.htm#tab-4 | [iv] onetonline.org/link/summary/25-1121.00 | [v] bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag711.htm | [vi] bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/broadcast-and-sound-engineering-technicians.htm | [vii] bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/actors.htm | [viii] bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/producers-and-directors.htm | [ix] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/art-directors.htm | [x] bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm | [xi] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-1

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