M.F.A. in Directing | Intro

  • Penelopiad, by Margaret Atwood. Directed by Sara Rodriguez ’20 (photo by Paul Kennedy)
    Penelopiad, by Margaret Atwood. Directed by Sara Rodriguez ’20 (photo by Paul Kennedy)
  • Penelopiad, by Margaret Atwood. Directed by Sara Rodriguez ’20 (photo by Paul Kennedy)
    Penelopiad, by Margaret Atwood. Directed by Sara Rodriguez ’20 (photo by Paul Kennedy)
  • Corialanus, Shakespeare, directed by Paul Cook ’17 (Photo Paul Kennedy)
    Corialanus, Shakespeare, directed by Paul Cook ’17 (Photo Paul Kennedy)
  • Plumas Negras, by Juliette Carrillo. Asst director, Josh Feder ’20 (photo by Paul Kennedy)
    Plumas Negras, by Juliette Carrillo. Asst director, Josh Feder ’20 (photo by Paul Kennedy)
  • Corialanus, Shakespeare, directed by Paul Cook ’17 (Photo Paul Kennedy)
    Corialanus, Shakespeare, directed by Paul Cook ’17 (Photo Paul Kennedy)
  • Community-Based Project with LGBTQ+ community, directed by Josh Feder ’20 (Photo by Josh Feder)
    Community-Based Project with LGBTQ+ community, directed by Josh Feder ’20 (Photo by Josh Feder)
  • Living Out, by Lisa Loomer. Directed by Jane Page. Asst Directors: Chloe King/Summer Session
    Living Out, by Lisa Loomer. Directed by Jane Page. Asst Directors: Chloe King/Summer Session
  • Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage, Directed by Jane Page. Asst Directors:  Josh Feder/Sara Rodriguez
    Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage, Directed by Jane Page. Asst Directors: Josh Feder/Sara Rodriguez
  • These Shining Lives, by Melanie Marnich, directed by Sarah Butts ’16 (Photo Paul Kennedy)
    These Shining Lives, by Melanie Marnich, directed by Sarah Butts ’16 (Photo Paul Kennedy)
  • The Refugee Hotel, by Carmen Aguirre. Directed by Juliette Carrillo. (photo by
    The Refugee Hotel, by Carmen Aguirre. Directed by Juliette Carrillo. (photo by
  • Mrs. Packard, by Emily Mann. Directed by Melissa Livingston ‘19
    Mrs. Packard, by Emily Mann. Directed by Melissa Livingston ‘19
  • Mrs. Packard, by Emily Mann. Directed by Melissa Livingston ‘19
    Mrs. Packard, by Emily Mann. Directed by Melissa Livingston ‘19
  • These Shining Lives, by Melanie Marnich, directed by Sarah Butts ’16 (Photo Paul Kennedy)
    These Shining Lives, by Melanie Marnich, directed by Sarah Butts ’16 (Photo Paul Kennedy)
  • Antigone, by Sophocles (Covid-era film shoot), directed by Chloe King ’21 (Photo by Juliette Carrill
    Antigone, by Sophocles (Covid-era film shoot), directed by Chloe King ’21 (Photo by Juliette Carrill

*Please note, we are accepting applications for Fall 2021 admission. We accept students for the MFA in Directing program every other year.

Core Values

The MFA Directing program at UCIrvine Drama is dedicated to the idea that theatre should challenge and expand the mind, move the soul, and delight the spirit.   We are committed to training professional directors who want to make this kind of theatre in the 21st Century.

It is not enough to have a bright idea, an inspiration.  A director must have the skills to evaluate and develop the idea, articulate and inspire others with it, and guide a production to a fully developed realization.   A director must be able to make difficult decisions, ask provocative questions, and guide a team of collaborators.   We believe a director grows and improves through a combination of hands-on projects and robust academic studies.

Applicants and Admission

Admission to the program is highly selective; it is geared for individuals who have the passion and potential to be professional directors.   Applicants must have a vivid imagination, a strong intellect, personal courage, and boundless curiosity.  These directors should aspire to become skilled storytellers, inspiring leaders, mindful intellectuals, and collaborative artists.   They must want to challenge, enhance, and enlarge their vision and skills.

The MFA Directing program is committed to having the flexibility to adjust to each individual’s artistic voice and goals. The directing faculty mentors include working professionals (Juliette Carrillo, Eli Simon, Andrew Borba, Annie Loui and Jane Page) as well as international director Mihai Maniutiu, Artistic and Executive Director of the National Theatre in Cluj, Romania.

UCIrvine will attend the URTA auditions in New York and Chicago. Interested applicants may also visit our campus by contacting our Co-Heads of Directing, Professor Jane Page, JanePage@uci.edu, and Professor Juliette Carrillo, juliette.carrillo@uci.edu

Apply Electronically

See “How to Apply

The Training

We believe that a director’s vision and skills are developed through practice, critique and coaching and then . . . more practice.  The MFA Directing program is a three-year course of study.  The program’s first year focuses on directing realistic “character driven” work, along with script analysis and collaboration skills.  In the second year, the student director focuses on “language driven” plays, the components of production, and communication in collaboration.  The third year centers on original and devised work as well as self-produced projects.

The Productions

Each student is expected to direct every quarter – in the classroom, with student directed projects, and/or in production.  In addition, each student will be engaged in full-length plays in the second year.   During their tenure at UCIrvine, each student will receive, at a minimum, one fully produced show in the main season.  One of these will be the student’s thesis production in their third year.

The Connections

UCIrvine affords its directing students outstanding professional opportunities through its strong ties to Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory and to the Utah Shakespeare Festival.  There are internships and opportunities to assistant direct at both of these companies.