Applying to our MFA program is straightforward and relatively painless.
Here's an overview.



Find out about STC Academy. Browse our site, review our curriculum, and look at some of our production photos. If you have a question, email or call us!

September-November, 2023

Begin your application.

Begin your application online at GWU. Sign up for an account, and have a look around. You can always save your application and resume it later. You'll want to gather your official undergraduate transcripts and two letters of recommendation, start your personal essay, and think about audition pieces.

GWU Online Application
October 2023/January 2024

Schedule an audition.

We prefer to meet you in person if we can! We’ll have local auditions on November 4th, 2023 and February 3rd, 2024 in Washington DC. Regional audition dates to be announced soon! Most candidates audition with two contrasting verse monologues - but if you feel better represented by other material, do that instead. If you'd like to submit a video audition, that's great too. When you schedule your audition, we'll set up an interview so we can get to know you a little better.

February 15, 2024

Application Materials Due.

Be sure to get all of your material in by our due date! We know that you might be waiting on materials from other people, like transcripts or letters of recommendation. If so, let us know we can keep your application open.

GWU Online Application

The Details

Answers to (almost) all admission-related questions. Remember, you can always email or call us if you don't find what you're looking for here.

Yes. And . . . no. If you want to earn your MFA, you must have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Many of our students have undergrad degrees in Acting; many have degrees in other disciplines too! Actors without an undergraduate degree may still attend the Academy and receive the same training and opportunities. These students earn a Certificate rather than a degree.

We’re seeing Academy auditions in various cities this year:

Washington, DC: November 4, 2023 & February 3, 2024
New York: January 13, 2024
Philadelphia: January 20, 2024
Chicago: January 28, 2024

We generally like to see two contrasting classical monologues – Shakespeare’s a great choice, but other verse plays are good too! If you’re not feeling confident about your classical pieces, bring whatever two pieces you believe best represent you. Any text that you consider heightened, or poetic, would be a good choice here. Each monologue should run for about two minutes (four minutes or so of monologues total).

The Director of STC Academy, Alec Wild, and Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Head of Voice and Text, Lisa Beley.

We’re looking for actors with a facility for language, a solid vocal instrument, a connection to physicality, instincts toward action and objective rather than behavior, and an appetite for the big questions. In the interview, we hope to get a sense of your commitment to the acting profession, your work ethic, and get a sense of what sort of growth you hope to see in yourself.

Any camera that records video and good audio will be fine – most people use their smartphones. Stand back from the camera so that we can see as much of your physicality as possible. Make sure you are well-lit, and that the space allows for good capture of sound (not too echo-y or noisy). Please don’t look directly into the camera – rather, imagine your scene partner just off camera, and speak to that imaginary partner. You may also use an off-camera friend to play to.

This is where you can express your personality, individuality, and goals. Anything goes here, but we’re most excited by the essays that feel honest, authentic, and don’t have boilerplate language (as in, “I believe [insert school name here] is the best place for me to pursue my artistic goals.”) By all means tell us why you’re interested in this school, and why at this time in your life. Why is it a good fit? What will you bring to the school that no one else can? How do you see your path after graduation?

Most of all, we want to get to know the real you. So be brave in your essay.

We’d like to hear from people who know your work deeply, and who can assess your potential for growth. Directors, mentors, professors, or other colleagues are all great places to start.

Every class is different, but generally we admit actors who have been out of college for a few years. But don’t let your age (younger or older) stop you from applying! We’ve had actors as young as twenty-one, and as old as sixty in the program. The most important thing is your talent, commitment, and desire to grow and change your work.

George Washington University tuition is normally in the $80,000.00 range. Steep, we know. And the cost reflects the excellence of the institution and its reputation. We’re proud to offer every Academy student a 42% tuition reduction scholarship, which considerably lessens the student tuition obligation, and makes the full program tuition $48,000. (Specific tuition each year can be found here). We also have limited scholarship funds available (see next section), to lessen the burden for students who might otherwise have difficulty attending.

Because our program is an intensive one year, rather than two or three, the overall cost for your MFA is considerably lower than at other major universities. It’s why we conceived the program in the first place!

Yes! The program is run by Shakespeare Theatre Company, which is a not-for-profit organization, which means that our scholarships are funded by our generous donors and the hard work of our development and fundraising team. Though we cannot offer “full ride” scholarships, we do have significant tuition-reduction awards to offer students most in need. Our students are also eligible for federal assistance through the Federal Student Aid program. You can apply for aid at the FAFSA website.

George Washington University does not provide housing to graduate students. Our students generally rent apartments in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas. Often, students connect before the program begins, in order to share a flat. Check in with our Program Coordinator about connecting with fellow Academy actors!

We’re proud that most of our graduates have made lives in the theatre, and are working on stage, film and television all over the world. Some have started their own theatre companies (we love that); some have become master acting teachers at other institutions; and some have simply worked as actors – on Broadway,  and in regional and international theatre.

About a third of our graduates remain in D.C. after graduation – at least for a while. It’s a wonderful town to work in, with more than fifty AEA theaters and a vibrant artistic community. Roughly another third go to New York; and the last third go to other cities and countries. Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, Beijing, Warsaw, and London are a few of the places recent grads have landed.

It’s all done online, and uploadable. Just click on “Sign Up” to make an application account, and start submitting your stuff! You’ll need your official transcripts from your previous college/university experience, your essay, and your recommendation letters. Then email (or better, call us) to set up an audition appointment. We look forward to meeting you and getting to see your work!

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