MFA Theatre (Performance)

Our MFA (Performance) program is an intense, full-time course of study for experienced performers. It is the only program of its kind in Canada, and offers experienced performers an opportunity to re-examine their approach to their craft by deepening their knowledge and honing their skills in a unique 5-semester conservatory environment. There are two programs of study currently offered, Acting and Performance/Creation.


The first year consists of full days of classes with evenings and Saturdays reserved for workshops and rehearsals. Performance projects in the first year include an introductory group project, The Shakespeare Project, and two unmounted productions. Students can expect to be in the studio for classes, workshops, or rehearsal 25 – 50 hours per week, and can expect to practice/prepare a further 5 hours per week.

In the second year of study, students take a full complement of classes in the fall term and work on their MFA thesis. Performance projects in the second year include one small scale devised creation, The Shakespeare Project, and one or more fully mounted productions in the Theatre @ York season.

Acting Curriculum

The studio courses include training in a classic theatrical base of movement, voice, text, and acting techniques, which are then applied to various theatrical and media styles. Our faculty feature internationally respected experts in Acting for stage and screen, Voice, Speech, Text, Movement and Dance.

The program includes:

  • an examination on a comprehensive reading list of 100 plays
  • acting classes
  • movement classes
  • voice and speech classes
  • text study
  • scene study
  • film acting workshops
  • solo show workshops and project
  • stage combat workshops
  • graduate research seminar
  • Shakespeare projects
  • unmounted, one-act projects in the first year
  • fully mounted productions in the second year (including one thesis role)

Students spend the summer term working on their thesis research as well as creating a solo show that is presented at the beginning of the second year.


A hybrid program of performance, devising, and directing. This program is designed for those who want to create and devise performance. Students take courses in performance, design and directing while being given time to develop their own work.

Performance/Creation Curriculum

Year 1

FALL (required)

  1. Research Seminar
  2. Solo Creation
  3. Directing
  4. Design
  5. Minimum 1 studio course, max 3 of Voice, Movement and Acting

Winter (required)

  1. Solo Creation
  2. Directing
  3. Design
  4. Maximum 2 studio courses: Voice, Movement and Acting
Year 2

FALL (required)

  1. Creation and Collaboration
  2. Directing
  3. Design
  4. Maximum 2 studio course: Voice, Movement and Acting

Winter (required)

  1. Creation and Collaboration
  2. Thesis performance

There are many other courses available in School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design, including:

  • Sustainable Staging Techniques
  • The Interactive Stage

How to Apply