MFA Student Testimonials

What do our current MFA students think about their University of Louisville Theatre Arts experience? We asked the MFA cohort to answer a few questions about the program. Their answers highlight the many reasons why you might also be interested in pursuing your MFA in Performance at the University of Louisville.

“I came to visit the campus and met other MFA students and the faculty. Everyone was wonderful! I was unsure about graduate school at first, but everyone at UofL was so kind and excited, and I wanted to be a part of the community, too.” - Jordan Haggard 1st year MFA

“During my senior year of undergraduate school, I had the privilege of attending the Southeastern Theatre Conference. The University of Louisville Theatre Arts Department was one of the schools featured at this conference. I received a callback and earned the opportunity to speak with the faculty, and from this moment I was very intrigued by this institution. Not only did I learn about their Graduate Certificate in African American Theatre, but the faculty members were very welcoming.”- Kala Ross, 2nd year MFA

“I was very interested in the African American Theatre Program because of my interest in translating and adapting African Diaspora playwrights. I wanted to use these plays to explore the characteristics and close connections between African Diaspora communities. I came to get the Graduate Certificate in African American Theatre so as to go deeper into my own research.” -Manuel Viveros 2nd year

“The African American Theatre Program is only offered at University of Louisville! That was something that sold me on this program immediately. This program has allowed me to continue to learn about the history of black theatre and encouraged me to delve deeper when developing characters in African American works. However, this program has also introduced me to plays from other cultures and times.” - LaShondra Hood, 3rd year MFA

“Shakespeare Behind Bars, the AATP and the faculty. Many graduate programs concentrate solely on performance. You see many people receive a huge amount of training just to starve in a void. I have already been hungry in a void and do not wish to learn more about that.” - Terry Tocantins, 3rd year MFA

“Theatre raises a mirror up to society, as is true of our Mainstage season. My participation in Lorraine Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun will deal specifically with reclamation of heritage along with race separation within the US, which we are still seeing today in the form of gerrymandering and underlying prejudice.” - Caisey Cole, 1st year MFA

“Even my class work is directly applicable to the world. A good example is my Movement class work with Grotowski. As an artist, it is never about me; I will also try to connect what I learn to a larger idea.” - Tyler Tate, 1st year MFA

“I am interested in the use of theatre as a way to empower people. I have used theatre in my work with domestic violence victims, immigrants, ex-combatants, etc. In each case, theatre functioned as an accessible, deep, and effective tool to encourage people to express themselves. When I work with groups that don’t know each other, they engage as friends and partners. I would like to use theatre to help people understand our differences. Theatre inspires us to work together and not to divide.”- Manuel Viveros, 2nd year MFA

“During my first year, I had the privilege of playing Undine Barnes in the production of Lynn Nottage’s Fabulation, or the Re-education of Undine, directed by Jacqueline Thompson. Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine was my first show with the African American Theatre Program. I am so honored to be a part of a program that promotes and uplifts the work of African American playwrights. I truly enjoyed working with the talented cast and production team; their hard work illuminated this show.”- Kala Ross, 2nd year MFA

“I am the proudest of my work and preparation for playing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop. I am looking forward to gaining more experience in shows and acquiring more techniques to add to my repertoire of skills. My work engages the constant attack and scrutiny of black men in this country. It also wrestles with the stereotypical perceptions of what black manhood is or should be.” - Xavier Harris, 2nd year MFA

“I am proudest of my process in The Mountaintop. I have truly enjoyed the journey, from working with Johnny Jones to working with Xavier Harris. I am honored to have the role of Camae on my resume. It was an experience like no other.” - LaShondra Hood, 3rd year MFA

“U of L, rather than being an enclosed hot house, encourages you to branch out. I have been able to study the physical technique of Japanese theatre director Tadashi Suzuki in depth. Doing that has gotten me in touch with dozens of other people of my particular stripe I would never know otherwise.” - Terry Tocantins, 3rd year MFA

“The faculty is passionate and energetic. They inspire me to be a better teacher and actor every day I am in class.”- Jordan Haggard 1st year MFA

“Each faculty member inspires something different. Some inspire me to read more, some to go beyond what I think I can, challenging my traditional way of thinking. After working with them over the past few weeks, I may even consider getting my Ph.D.”- Tyler Tate, 1st year MFA

“The faculty members have focused areas of research, and within those have their own process and interests. I am presented with a variety of techniques in movement, acting, and voice. They have worked hard to make sure they are all working in unison, and have made an attempt to have a professional relationship with all of us.”- Alex Gordon, 1st year MFA

“I am inspired by Professor Carter because of her particular point of view about the relationship between a professor and students. I have learned a lot about teaching from how she plans class sessions. Professor Kelly inspires me because of his commitment to the work.” - Manuel Viverios, 2nd year MFA

“I appreciate the faculty and staff more than they will ever realize. I think they have found a happy medium between friend and professor, nurturers and pushers. I am thankful that they pushed me over the last few years as hard as they did. Due to their high demands, I have accomplished things I never would have dreamed of years prior to this program. I have shocked myself at all that I can do because of what they have pulled out of me. I like that I have a relationship with each of them. I am more than just a number here; these are lifetime connections!”- LaShondra Hood, 3rd year MFA

“I am looking forward to The Taming of the Shrew right now! I am excited to dive into a Shakespeare script, and the production has a very relevant concept. Making art that speaks to the political climate is always exciting.”- Jordan Haggard, 1st year MFA

“I am looking forward to A Raisin in the Sun and working with Baron Kelly.”- Tyler Tate, 1st year MFA

“I am starting to create a community between Colombian and US Black theatre practitioners and scholars.”- Manuel Viverios, 2nd year MFA

“The Studio Theatre Program provides opportunities for students to stage their own productions. I have the honor of staging Brave, a one-act play that I composed and will direct this upcoming year. This project was inspired by Dr. Russell Vandenbroucke’s final project in Play Script Interpretation. Brave tells the story of a young girl who uses her art to share the truth of her rather difficult journey. Brave premieres in the Thrust Theatre, November 29-December 2nd.”-Kala Ross, 2nd year MFA