M.F.A. in Stage Management | Introduction
The M.F.A. Stage Management program at the University of California, Irvine is dedicated to the professional training of advanced students interested in developing their skills, knowledge, and abilities in production stage management.
The graduate program at UC Irvine is comprised of 5 key components:
Students pursue the art and science of stage management via a theme for each quarter. Training also includes the study of dramatic literature, the development of theatre works, concepts and collaboration, and script analysis to build communication skills with all members of a production team. As a M.F.A. candidate, students are also able to take a various range of courses in other areas of interest to further round their expertise as individuals. Some of these options include figh choreography, voice work, all areas of design & construction, along with many other courses offered campus-wide (e.g. business management, languages, engineering, etc.).
Each graduate stage management student will stage manage or assistant stage manage at least seven UCI main-stage productions, growing in complexity throughout the course of the program. In turn, professional faculty and staff will mentor graduate students throughout every phase of production. Graduate stage managers at UCI work with both faculty and fellow graduate directors, choreographers, musical directors, and designers in various genres including drama, musical theatre, dance, concerts and special events.
As a part of our program’s financial and health insurance package and as a source of additional training, you are given the opportunity to work in the various areas of production on a revolving basis. Stage managers can teach or T.A. a class or be assigned to work within the various technical theatre areas (e.g. with the Production Studio, Prop Shop, or Costume Shop.) and are assigned by the Heads of Stage Management based on your interests and the needs of the department.
In your third year (or before), you will seek out a professional internship to build professional relationships and create potential job opportunities. The stage management program will help you secure the internship with letters of recommendation and provide input on finding an internship which best suits your career goals.
In the third year, you will complete a thesis project of your own choosing, in consultation with and approval by the faculty of stage management.
The professional credentials of the faculty and staff includes work in theatre, dance, music, themed entertainment, and special events. In addition, instruction is augmented by a long list of professional guest speakers from every area of the live entertainment industry, television, and film. These ties to industry professionals, along with UCI’s alumni network, provide graduate stage management students with multiple opportunities for internships and future employment.