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Graduate Acting
The body and mind of the actor are synthesized to serve as an instrument of expression. The actor must depend on his or her instrument to perform, and the program places great emphasis on the strengthening and tuning of that instrument. The innate talent of the student is nurtured, coaxed and challenged with individual attention from an extrordinary team of professionals and specialists in actor training.


Each year, intensive studio work in movement, voice, speech, and singing accesses, expands, and frees the physical body. Acting Process introduces a range of improvisational and rehearsal techniques that help the actor approach onstage events with imagination and a rich emotional life. In the first year, studio classes guide the actor through daily explorations that encourage change and enhance artistic expression. The second year is devoted to the study of classical texts as well as the specific vocal and physical skills required to perform them. In the final year, classes focus on the needs of individual actors as they prepare to enter the professional world.


Actors work on classical and contemporary texts as well as new plays with graduate student, faculty, and guest professional directors. Each year the department schedules from 10-15 productions of varying budget levels. Graduate students are given casting priority for all but a few plays. Student scheduled and produced Cabaret workshop productions occur year-round and provide additional acting opportunities.


All graduate students serve at least one professional residency with the La Jolla Playhouse and are cast in positions ranging from supporting to lead roles alongside professional actors and directors of national and international stature. In the past, students have worked in the pre-Broadway productions of The Who's Tommy and Big River . For many actors this opportunity establishes valuable networking relationships and exposure for future employment. Most recently, actor Jacques Smith's LJP residency led to a major supporting role on Broadway in Rent directed by one-time playhouse Artistic Director Michael Greif.

Research and Other Opportunities

Funds are occasionally available for the pursuit of research, special technique workshops, and travel to auditions and festivals. Students have traveled to New York City and Los Angeles, and as far away as the Netherlands. In addition, in the third year, the entire acting class receives a showcase presentation in both Los Angeles and New York at which specially invited groups of film, television, and theatre professionals are in attendance.


Our adjunct and visiting faculty have included: Anne Bogart, Joseph Chaiken, Robert Egan, Richard Foreman, Andrei Serban, and Robert Woodruff. Emeritus Faculty: Eric Christmas, Mary Corrigan, Luther James, Arthur Wagner. To see a list of our current faculty, with photos and bios, please visit our faculty page.
If you have questions or would like more information about our Graduate programs, call the Graduate Coordinator at 858-534-1046 or email at meward@ucsd.edu.

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