Dec 03, 2021  
2014-2015 Graduate Bulletin 
2014-2015 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Theatre, M.F.A.

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The Master of Fine Arts in Physical Theatre is offered in conjunction with the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy. Students must be admitted to the graduate program at MUW prior to enrolling in courses leading to the MFA degree.

The MFA in Physical Theatre combines the study of movement/dance, Italian language, vocal study, and music with the study of circus arts, the techniques of the commedia dell’arte, and contemporary mime/masks. The program will provide students with a high level of technical training for the actor, as well as a study of the aesthetic, historical, and social contexts of the commedia dell’arte. The degree emphasizes the “actor as creator” and creative autonomy to prepare students for solo performance. As a terminal degree program, students also may opt for a career in teaching.

The MFA program takes place across a 26-month period divided into modules that range from 8 weeks to 12 weeks. The total instruction is over 1800 hours. The MFA requires 60 semester hours of coursework, including a performance project and a thesis. Students in the program must follow the modules as outlined in their Bulletin of record from their entering year.


In order to secure a place in the MFA in Physical Theatre, candidates are required to pay a deposit within 15 days of receipt of emailed acceptance letter.

Deposit amount: $2000.00 (this payment may be made in one transaction or several installments by agreement with Accademia dell’ Arte and MUW.)  This deposit will be credited toward first semester’s tuition.

The Deposit is refundable at any time under the following conditions with appropriate documentation:

  1. Serious accident, injury or ill-health to candidate or to a family member (parents, siblings)
  2. Student is refused financial aid or other grant sources

Students wishing to transfer to another MFA program or withdraw from the MFA in Physical Theatre must do so prior to May 1 in order to receive refund on Deposit.  Deposit will not be refundable for this reason after May 1.

Fall: Module One - Arezzo (12 weeks)

Module one is conceived as a foundational unit that prepares the student to work in their new environment, to develop the habits necessary for serious training and to introduce the actor to some of the basic elements of physical performance.

Spring: Module Two - Arezzo (12 weeks)

Module two is an extension of the skills developed in the foundational module with an emphasis on the development and exploration of style. It leads into a series of scene studies that are researched, designed and performed by the actors under the guidance of core faculty, utilizing the skills developed in the first module.

Summer: Module Three - FLIC, Torino (8 weeks)

Module three provides a unique opportunity to work in one of the most respected circus schools in Europe. Located in Torino, Italy, FLIC will provide students with introductory level circus skills and expose students to an exciting performative practice that will stimulate an aesthetic crossover between circus and theatre.

Fall: Module Four - Arezzo (12 weeks)

Module four is dedicated to an in-depth exploration of Commedia dell’arte, its history, its aesthetic, and its ethos. The actors will focus on the mastery of the historic masks, movement, attitudes and hierarchical relationships through improvisation and rigorous work on various lazzi and cannovacci. While the module principally focuses on the historic form, it is with a perspective for a creative reinvention appropriate for the modern theatre.

Spring: Module Five - Arezzo (12 weeks)

In module five the emphasis shifts toward the actor as creator. While new skills and stylistic forms will continue to be explored through a series of master classes, students will be moving toward creative autonomy. The module will culminate in an evening of cabaret devised by students that will incorporate the wide variety of technical and creative skills developed in the previous modules.

Summer: Module Six | Contemporary Mask | Familie Flöz, Berlin | Summer (6 Weeks)

Module six offers students an in-depth study of a stylistic form of theatre that has a tremendous power to communicate through simplicity universal themes of the human condition, as well as an opportunity to develop performance through ensemble improvisation. In addition, students will be exposed to traditions and influences of twentieth century German theatre.

Module Seven | Performance Autonomy | Continuo Theatre, Czech Republic | Fall 6 Weeks

Possible extension for performances

Module seven is the culmination of two years of training and creative evolution. At this point in the program students will be on their way to defining their personal style, both as individuals and ensemble collaborators. Under the direction of Pavel Stourac and in collaboration with the permanent members of Continuo Theatre, students will devise and perform a full-length original work in Plum Yard Theatre, Malovice, followed by a short tour in the Czech Republic.

Master of Fine Arts in Physical Theatre | Total Course Hours: 1932 | Total Semester Hours: 60

Following the performance projects in the Czech Republic, students will submit a final thesis that will represent the culmination of their research and creative work.  Further information concerning the parameters of the thesis are forthcoming.  Please refer to the academic schedule for the thesis completion timeline.

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