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Directing MFA

With an emphasis on the collaborative process, the Directing Program's purpose is to develop directors with a solid foundation in the components of production and the interpretation of text, learn the specific language of theatre and express their own vision through strong theatricality, clear scenic situations, visual metaphors and innovative concepts. Individuals are encouraged to make challenging choices, to break down barriers, and to create exciting, meaningful theatre.


The core curriculum of the program, Directing Process, offers students opportunities to hone their skills in text analysis and scene work in all three years. In their classes Directing MFA students will practically go through the most important moments of the History of Performance as well as through the main dramaturgical and theatrical styles. In the History of Directing they will study the work of the greatest directors of the 20th  Century and of the Contemporary World Theatre. The first year student also completes a sequence in the acting process and the development of a visual vocabulary in theatrical design and visual arts courses. Also in the first year Collaborative Process explores community and collaborative issues for all MFA students via theatrical means. Working with actors is on the top of the Collaborative Process, but directing students will be able to collaborate with designers, playwrights, stage-managers, choreographers, too in both productions and practical courses.


Directing Students will direct from two to four department-scheduled and faculty supervised productions in the Mandell Weiss Center for the Performing Arts during their time at UCSD. The production season offers opportunities to assist guest and faculty directors. In addition, workshop and cabaret productions of the director's choosing are strongly encouraged


In the second year, the Tony award-winning La Jolla Playhouse provides a residency during which student directors typically serve as an Assistant Director with such directors as Robert Falls, Athol Fugard, Michael Greif, Neel Keller, Des McAnuff, Mark Rucker, Robert Woodruff and Tina Landau. Students also have the opportunity to attend the European Theatre Union's Festivals or other important European Festivals (Avignon, Edinburgh, BITEF, Salzburg etc.) as well as the possibility to assist great Directors of the moment in their rehearsal process.

Research and Other Opportunities

It is common for the directing faculty to take MFA directors with them to work as Assistant Directors at theatres around the United States. Students have worked as Assistant Directors to Richard Foreman in France and to Athol Fugard on the premiere of a new play in South Africa. Others have produced shows in San Diego, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.


The permanent directing faculty led by Gabor Tompa is frequently augmented by guest directors who teach in the program. Those who have held full-term appointments in recent years include Anne Bogart, Robert Egan, Des McAnuff, Andrei Serban, Robert Woodruff, Dominique Serrand, Richard Foreman, David Esbjornson, Loretta Greco, andBrian Kulick. Emeritus Faculty: Theodore Shank. To see a list of our current faculty, with photos and bios, please visit our faculty page.


Of Interest:

TheatreForum - An international theatre journal since 1992
La Jolla Playhouse - UCSD is home to this Tony Award winning theatre
UC San Diego Home Page - UC San Diego's Main Web Site
9500 Gilman Drive MC0344
La Jolla, CA 92093
Tel: (858) 534-3791