MFA in Acting

The LSU MFA in Acting Program provides a rigorous physical, vocal, emotional and critical approach to actor training and serves as the primary acting pool for the Equity resident theatre, the Swine Palace. Candidates conclude their thesis track creating and performing a 20-minute solo work of theatre.


Training offers daily practice in developing the body, voice, imagination and critical thinking, along with the ability to live truthfully and playfully in given circumstances in process and performance. Our actors are taught how to free themselves from unnecessary tensions in order to be responsive to the full range of internal and external impulses for action with boldness and courage.

Our program provides in-depth integration of foundational actor training techniques including Stanislavski, Meisner and Michael Chekhov actor training in contemporary and classic texts for theatre and on-camera. Instruction is informed by other techniques such as: T’ai Chi, Alexander Technique, Laban, Neutral Mask Work, Stage Combat, Fitness Training, Contact Improv, Viewpoints and Dance; and Linklater, Fitzmaurice Voicework and Knight-Thompson Speech work.

Beginning in August 2019 and graduating in August of 2021, program comprises six consecutive semesters of training for the professional actor. The program recruits a new cohort every two years.

Acceptance into the acting program is strongly encouraged before any formal application to the Graduate School.

This program distinguishes itself with several features:

  • Accelerated Program Geared Toward Professional Actors We provide an accelerated two years of training in a program designed for professional actors with an average of 4 years of professional experience after earning their undergraduate degree.
  • Assistantships and Tuition Waiver We offer assistantships of $15,500 annually along with a tuition waiver. Required fees and medical insurance still applies. Students should visit the LSU Graduate School for complete information on required fees.  Our graduates on assistantship become half-time employees of the university, working 20 hours per week in teaching and production or administration. Candidates become eligible to teach an undergraduate course after 18 hours of graduate credits earned.
  • Professional Equity Resident Theatre, the Swine Palace The MFA cohort is eligible for competitive casting in all Swine Palace productions. There is no guaranteed casting. All roles are earned. MFA cohort members may receive Equity Membership Candidate points if they are cast in a Swine Palace production.
  • International Diversity The program is committed to recruiting students locally, nationally and internationally to promote global citizenship and non-traditional casting.
  • Louisiana Film Industry Louisiana is a top state for film production in the nation. On-camera Acting courses are taught by actors and other professionals active in the industry. Louisiana is a “right-to-work” state, which means that actors may work in professional film and television without joining the Screen Actors Guild.
  • Influential Guest Artists Students are provided with multiple opportunities to work alongside professional theatre artists and scholars with international reputations of excellence. In the last decade, guest artists have included : Dog & Pony DC; Fiasco Theatre; Jane Page; Leigh Fondakowski of Tectonic Theatre; Sean Daniels; Period Movement specialist: Dr. Jennifer Martin; John Guare; Robert Wilson; Combat Director: Geoffrey Kent; Estonian Playwright and Director: Andri Luup and Maria Peterson; Actors Theatre of Louisville; Adam Rapp; Deb Alley; Jim Sullivan of the Pearl Theatre; Roger Rees; Ping Chong; Anne Bogart; and Tina Packer among many others….

To learn more about:


All classes are held in the newly renovated Music and Dramatic Arts (M&DA) building in state of the art rehearsal and teaching spaces. The M&DA complex also houses the beautiful art-deco proscenium Shaver Theatre and a flexible black box Studio Theatre. Those spaces along with the Reilly Theatre, a larger flexible space most often used as a thrust, are all used in our Swine Palace season and offer an opportunity to play in a variety of theatre configurations. The MFA class constitutes the core of the professional company, works with accomplished guest artists, and for those not already Equity members, earns membership points in Actors’ Equity Association (AEA). Learn more about our facilities.


The Faculty and Staff of the LSU School of Theatre is comprised of talented and dedicated theatre professionals – check out their bios.

Admissions Process

Applicants are admitted into the program only through an audition and interview with the program heads. One can audition through the University/ Resident Theatre Association (URTA) auditions in New York, Chicago, or San Francisco of 2019 or one can arrange an audition directly with the Head of the program on the URTA tour, at the LSU campus, or on Skype the months of January and February of 2019. Offers to selected applicants will begin March of 2019.

Please prepare two contrasting monologues no longer than 90-seconds each for the audition. Comic/Dramatic and Classical/Contemporary are preferred. Be prepared to be stopped or given adjustments.

If you wish to apply directly to our program, please send to Nick Erickson, the program head:

  • a professional actor headshot and resumé,
  • a statement of purpose detailing why you are pursuing graduate training at LSU,
  • and arrange to have sent three confidential sealed letters of recommendation.

Once accepted into the LSU MFA Acting Program through the audition/interview process, students must apply to the LSU Graduate School. The GRE is not required. Official transcripts with proof of an undergraduate degree will be required.

Any further inquiries about our program can be sent to:

Nick Erickson
Head, M.F.A. Acting Program
School of Theatre
Louisiana State University
105 Music and Dramatic Arts Building
Baton Rouge, LA 70803

Email: Nick Erickson