M.F.A. in Acting

An Introduction to BRIAN McELENEY


Professional actor training is based upon a rigorous daily schedule of prescribed classes, required of all students. The single core curriculum is comprised of acting, voice, and movement classes taught by a resident faculty, and supplemented by frequent workshops in specialty areas led by guest artists from the professional and academic arenas. Technique work continues throughout the three years of study, but as the student moves through the program, there is a progressive shift in emphasis from the acquisition and refinement of skills to their practical application. Although it is Brown/Trinity Rep’s goal that all students complete the program, admission to the second year is by invitation only.

In addition to classroom work, frequent acting assignments in Brown/Trinity Rep or Trinity Repertory Company productions are an important component of actor training. Acting students are expected to participate in a variety of fully mounted studio and mainstage productions. Understudy duties in Trinity Rep productions may also be assigned; the combination of understudy and performance work enables students to acquire their Equity cards upon graduation.


The course of study is organized as follows:


  • Acting: scene study in modern and contemporary realism
  • Movement and Physical Theatre: the juxtaposition of technique and spontaneity through the practice of Clown, Contact Improvisation, and contemporary dance.
  • Voice: breathing, resonance, and production of sound
  • Speech: pitch, articulation, and introduction to the International Phonetic Alphabet and Standard American speech
  • Directing: interaction between artists, text analysis, and staging of realism
  • Collaboration: the intersection of dramatic texts with other areas of artistic exploration such as history, architecture, and music, as well as the development of effective rehearsal techniques
  • Playwriting: an introductory workshop culminating in a festival of one-act plays


  • Acting: scene study in Shakespeare and Moliere
  • Movement and Physical Theatre: advanced technique and continued ensemble work through contemporary dance, composition, and Viewpoints
  • Voice: application of vocal technique to classical verse texts, as well as private lessons in Singing and Alexander Technique
  • Speech: introduction to dialect work
  • Directing: conceptualization of classical plays in verse
  • Playwriting: solo work, one-act and full-length plays (elective)


  • Acting: problems in style from Greek drama to contemporary non-realistic texts
  • Thesis Recital: conceptualization, rehearsal and performance of a twenty-five minute solo piece
  • Showcase: rehearsal and performance of an end-of-year showcase for industry professionals in Los Angeles and New York, and extended workshops in professional development and on-camera acting
  • Movement and Physical Theatre: advanced professional practice in contemporary forms, an exploration of extremes and character, and construction of original pieces
  • Voice and Speech: advanced dialect work and application of good vocal usage to performance work, with additional sections of Singing and Alexander Technique
  • Directing: viewpoints and style work
  • Playwriting: continued work on one-act and full-length plays (elective)