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Philosophy and Program Description

The Program

The MFA program immerses students in current European theatre training approaches through its faculty, who have trained and worked in a range of European countries and settings. Physical Theatre, circus arts, Commedia dell’Arte, music, voice and dance all come together in this unique MFA program for actors. Rooted in the spirit of the Commedia dell’Arte, or the ethos of the actor/creator, the program provides a high level of technical training for the actor leading into devising and creating, contextualized by the study of aesthetic, historical and social factors. In addition, the program is resident not only in Arezzo, Tuscany, but also in Torino, Czech Republic and Berlin.

An essential feature of the program from its inception has been its focus on students honing their skills in devising and composing. Regular, bi-weekly presentations throughout the program offer the Faculty the opportunity to give feedback and reflect with the students on the devising process.

Each training module of the program prepares students to move to higher levels of creative mastery and is divided with full attention to:

  • Technical Mastery (physical acting skills)
  • Aesthetic Studies (form)
  • Historical/Political/Social (content or context?)
  • Imaginative Realization (the performance)

The program is divided into seven distinct modules, each with a unique focus, yet always with a well-considered continuity that will allow students to conceptualize their own experience as an individual performer/creator. The Accademia dell’Arte is working in collaboration with well-established schools, theaters, and theatre companies in Europe in an effort to broaden the scope of student experience and training. These experiences will culminate in public performances and presentations in Arezzo, Torino, and Berlin, with the final module held in the Czech Republic. During this module students will generate and produce their own work under the guidance of Pavel Stourac.

Total Course Hours 2150

Total Credit Hours 60

*Mississippi University for Women reserves the right to adjust schedules and, where necessary, change module venues.

A Distinctive Approach 

The Master of Fine Arts program has developed a distinctive approach to actor training for physical theatre, wherein the text is no longer the sole driving force behind theatrical action. The actor’s body and voice, the capacity to embody images and tell stories through all our senses, including the verbal, is paramount. Training is thus aimed at the total mastery of the physical and vocal articulation of the actor through the study of movement, dance, acrobatics, equilibrium, object manipulation and mask work, along with vocal extension, power, stamina and versatility. As the body is the expressive tool of the actor, it must be technically capable of conveying the creative content devised by the actor. With this in mind, technique must be understood as having value as a means to an end, not an end in itself. While a refined and personalized technique is essential for modern performance, we must not forget that such techniques have emerged from a rich and varied past. A full appreciation of this past is a fundamental component of the training that breathes life and passion into the work of the artist.

The Context

Artistic research, training, and development evolve best through a multi-disciplinary approach in which unique cross-fertilization can occur in the hands of the artist. This enables the students to utilize what they have learned (and are in the process of learning) in relation to broader artistic thought, practical experience, history and a given socio-cultural context.

For this reason, the program at Accademia dell’Arte seeks to integrate historic and living traditions of performance into the actor’s vocabulary, both as a rich source from which the imagination can develop and as a model that provides a high-level point of departure for personal artistic development. The artist is not only a reflection of society and its cultural history, but also–and perhaps more importantly–a social vector that plays an active part in the understanding, evolution and transformation of society. It is thus the human relationships developed between student and teacher that are privileged in the program, as a direct expression of cultural, artistic and human continuity. The school favors the transmission of skills through a pedagogy that adapts to the skill level of each student, revealing method through first-hand experience and tested approaches.

The Musical World

Prospective students will notice that music constitutes an integral element to the acting program, and with good reason. We believe that music is the primordial ground from which all performance originates; the organization of sound and rhythm provide the essential structure of the movement of the human body in space. Students therefore study to create and perform both sung and instrumental music as an integral and irreplaceable part of the theatrical action: the soundscape.


Devising (generating material as an individual or as an ensemble) is an essential component of the MFA in Physical Theatre. Students are expected to engage in devising both within the class structure and outside of the official class time. Presentations enable students to address issues of dramaturgy, applied skills, ensemble building and time management. They test students’ resourcefulness in creatively responding to prompts, and engage them in a process that implies collaboration and strategies for decision-making.

The Vision

While the work takes place primarily within an Italian context during the training, the program will take students to Berlin, Torino and the Czech Republic, exposing them to a variety of training and aesthetic traditions. The aim here is to stimulate cross-fertilization and mutation between stylized forms of theatre, circus, mask and music. Within these diverse currents of performance students gradually assert their own autonomy and independence of vision. Exchanges with faculty and other professionals across Europe encourage networking and offer opportunities for further career and professional development. It is the ultimate goal of the program to launch students into the world as confident, creative and autonomous artists with a strongly developed aesthetic sensibility that unites the wonder of performance with a genuine search for human meaning.

Now accepting applications for MFA program commencing August 2018

Application Deadline:
April 1, 2018

For further information:

APPLY NOW for this program.

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