MFA - Theatre Management

The mission of the Master of Fine Arts Theatre Management program is to prepare students to make a thoughtful and impactful influence in the professional theatre. Through this three-year, fully-immersive program, students receive both the academic and practical training to lead professional theatres and other cultural institutions.

Our next cohort of MFA Theatre Management graduate students will join us in the Fall of 2022. Deadline to apply is Friday, February 11, 2022.

Who is this program ideal for?

This program is ideal for any prospective student that wishes to enhance their education and build their professional skills in order to become a leader in the nonprofit American theatre. Our goal is to provide students with the skills, language, best practices, an aptitude to support the future of the American theatre and to inspire students to think innovatively in their approach and tools.

Career areas may be, but are not limited to: 

  • Executive Leadership
    • Executive or Managing Director
  • Marketing Leadership
    • Director of Marketing & Communications, Director of Marketing, Director of Marketing & PR, Director of Marketing & Audience Engagement
    • Public Relations or Communications
    • Social Media Manager or Marketing Content Creator/Producer
    • Email Marketing Manager
    • Analytics and/or Database Manager
    • Audience Engagement Manager
  • Development Leadership
    • Director of Development
    • Grant researcher & writer
    • Individual giving 
    • Corporate giving
    • Government & Foundation giving
  • Operations Leadership
    • General Manager
    • Company manager
    • Operations manager
    • Facilities manager
    • Database administrator
    • Box Office/Guest Relations manager
    • Front-of-House manager

Courses

While the focus of the MFA Theatre Management student's academics is on professional theatre training, many classes include students from the Master of Arts in Arts Administration program, where students follow one of three tracks: gallery management, music business, and theatre management. This overlap allows for profound collaboration and engagement with students from across many areas of the University.

MFA Theatre Management students take on courses in: leadership in the arts, marketing the theatre, arts marketing and data decisions, media and the theatre, public relations and the arts, accounting for nonprofit organizations, board governance, entrepreneurship, human resources, funding and grant writing, among many additional courses.* The faculty is comprised of working professionals, providing students the opportunity to learn from real-world experiences.

* Course of study is subject to change.

Theatre management student working at Ferndale PRIDE
Theatre management student, Jared Lee, engages community at Ferndale PRIDE

Practical Training & Internships

From day one, MFA Theatre Management students serve as members of the Theatre and Dance at Wayne management team, gaining hands-on experiences.

In each year, students work together on show teams while managing a a staff of undergraduate assistants. This immediate engagement in leadership roles serves as a laboratory for applying academic training.

Additionally, students work in a variety of other areas including but not limited to: audience development and engagement; box office, front of house management, department public relations, development and donor relations, among others. Assignments may change.

During the course of their studies, students are required to complete two semester-long internships with a professional theatre or other cultural organization.

Exit Project

In the third year, each student produces a research project, vetted by the faculty, aimed at both supporting their ongoing education and preparing them for the transition to outside employment.


Our MFA Theatre Management students operate on a single cohort system, where the same group of students proceeds through the program together. Our next cohorts will begin their studies in the Fall 2020 semester. Those wishing to enroll in a graduate program earlier may wish to consider our MA Arts Administration program which accepts students each semester.

When applying, applicants must provide the following in addition to their WSU Graduate School application.

  • Personal Statement & Statement of Objectives: Please upload one document that contains a 500-word personal statement followed by a 500-word statement on objectives. In your personal statement, please discuss your academic and professional background and how it has prepared you for admission to this program. In your statement of objectives, please articulate how your current academic and professionals goals are related to the program, placing special emphasis on where and in what capacity you plan to implement your training in the professional field.
  • A resume
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • unofficial transcripts
  • 3 samples of writing (business letters, memos, press releases, brochures, term papers, etc.)

Support material listed above must be received by the deadline listed below and e-mailed to: jchavez@wayne.edu

Alternatively, support materials may be or sent to:

Jessica Chavez
Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance
Wayne State University
4841 Cass Ave., Ste. 3226
Detroit, MI 48202  

APPLICATION DEADLINE (including all support material): Monday, February 10, 2021.

Interview requirements

After applications are received, the faculty reviews candidates and selects a list of top candidates who are invited to interview. Interviews are typically in-person, allowing the candidate an opportunity to explore campus and the city of Detroit. During this global pandemic, interviews will be conducted by video chat. Because of the competitive nature of admission, not all top candidates will be selected.

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:  $19,967 (2019-2020)
  • Full Tuition Waiver
  • Insurance: Medical/Dental/Vision (employee contribution)

Questions

Thomas Karr
Director of Marketing & Audience Engagement
Program Director, MFA Theatre Management
Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance
Wayne State University
p: 313-577-7895
a: 4841 Cass Ave., Suite 3226 Detroit, MI 48201
e: thomas.karr@wayne.edu