M.F.A. in Acting

An Introduction to BRIAN McELENEY


Professional actor training is based on 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 professional productions. Understudy duties in Trinity Rep productions are also assigned; the combination of understudy and performance work at Trinity Rep 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: an introduction to Somatics through the practice of Contact Improvisation and explorations in communal and ritual dance forms of the West African diaspora
  • Voice: breathing, resonance, and production of sound
  • Speech: pitch, articulation, and introduction to the International Phonetic Alphabet and sounds of spoken English
  • Directing: interaction between artists, text analysis, and staging of realism
  • Dramaturgy: focuses on the forces that shape individuals and how to use those tools to create art, and become powerful artists and collaborators
  • Playwriting: an introductory workshop culminating in a festival of one-act plays


  • Acting: scene study in Shakespeare and Moliére
  • Movement and Physical Theatre: tuning physicality and building ensemble through contemporary dance techniques, stage combat, 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: heightened language, articulation, and vision
  • 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 practice in contemporary forms with intensive workshops in techniques such as Laban, Lecoq, and Grotowski
  • Voice and Speech: advanced dialect work and application of good vocal usage to performance work, with additional sections of singing and Alexander Technique
  • Directing: synthesis and expanded forms
  • Playwriting: continued work on one-act and full-length plays (elective)