Wayne State University

Master of Fine Arts - Acting

The Hilberry Acting program was conceived with the belief that one of the best systems of theatre training is an intensive, performance-guided experience based on a series of European and American classics, combined with noteworthy contemporary plays performed in rotating repertory. Continual performance before a live audience is considered a fundamental part of the learning process.

Highlighted explorations include the processes of Konstantin Stanislavsky, Michael Chekhov, Jacques Lecoq, and Sanford Meisner. Styles and genres covered include psychological realism, neutral mask, Greek chorus, commedia dell'arte, high comedy, revenge tragedy, Shakespeare and expressionism/surrealism. Movement classes emphasize alignment, agility and strength, as well as period dance/deportment and Pilates. Voice classes employ a somatic approach based in the work of Catherine Fitzmaurice.

The department regularly invites guest artists and teachers who provide additional instruction in movement, dance, acting, voice and Shakespearean text analysis, as well as professional talent agents from a variety of regions who offer additional industry insight and training.

The following selection of courses is typical for actors:

  • Studio Acting
  • Studio Voice and Speech
  • Studio Movement and Dance
  • Repertory Theatre (rehearsals and performances)
  • Advanced Script Analysis
  • Dramaturgy
  • Advanced Development of Drama
  • Studies in Dramatic Criticism
  • Seminar: Period Drama
  • Seminar: Modern Drama
  • Seminar: Theatre History
  • Theatre Aesthetics

Application requirements

  • A headshot
  • resume
  • 3 or 4 letters of recommendation
  • unofficial transcripts

Audition requirements

Candidates for the acting program are required to audition in person. Each candidate must present two memorized audition pieces: a classical selection in verse and a modern or contemporary phrase piece. The total time of this presentation should not exceed four minutes. Candidates will be interviewed briefly following the audition.

Admission is based off audition and/or interview and you must also be admitted by The Graduate School at Wayne State University.

To apply, please visit the Graduate School Application Portal.

Financial Package

  • Stipend: 2017-2018 $17,994 (will be increased for 2018-2019)
  • Full Tuition Waiver
  • Insurance: Medical/Dental/Vision (employee contribution)


Cheryl Turski
Assistant Professor of Theatre

150 years in the heart of Detroit