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Graduate Studies: Professional Actor Training Program

The Professional Actor Training Program at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is a rigorous three-year Master of Fine Arts program. The purpose of the program is two-fold: to offer advanced training to early-career professionals in acting, voice and speech, movement, and professional rehearsal and performance practice; and to provide a bridge by which our graduates, with credibility and a significant circle of professional acquaintance, may enter the profession.  Our graduates leave with the confidence that comes with having contributed to the creative process of making theater at the highest professional level.

Why should you choose UNC for your professional training?

  • Train with master teachers and leading guest professionals as part of a professional LORT company
  • For many candidates, full or partial competitive stipend and tuition remission
  • A commitment to diversity and inclusion
  • Membership in Actors Equity Association
  • Prestigious New York Showcase

The Program’s affiliation with PlayMakers Repertory Company, an Equity/LORT theatre, provides an ongoing opportunity for training and significant work within a nationally-recognized professional company. In addition to other criteria, actors auditioning for the Professional Actor Training Program are selected for their ability to function as core members of the PlayMakers acting company. Each PATP student will be eligible to become a member of Actors’ Equity Association prior to or at the time of graduation. Immediately following the conclusion of training, PATP actors are seen by casting professionals and agents in a Showcase presentation in New York City.

Classes are taught by resident master teachers and distinguished guest faculty within a conservatory structure. The training is progressive and cumulative and must be completed in three consecutive years.

The acting sequence honors traditional methods in American acting training while integrating contemporary practices. The work we prize and foster, whether in Shakespeare or on camera, is truthful, personal, robust, and compelling.

The movement sequence is designed to approach the actor as creator, and to promote a strong, grounded and responsive physical instrument, one that is capable of transformations that best communicate the honest self as well as character.

The voice sequence follows the Miller Voice Method (mVm) progression. Miller Voice Method integrates all acting disciplines: voice, movement and moment-to-moment truthful behavior. The core of the work, the Active Breath, allows your pure intentions to survive intact through the tense obstacles created by performance. The ultimate goal is to breathe and speak where intention perfectly aligns with expression in a way that compels an audience’s complete and utter attention. Speech work is descriptive in focus rather than prescriptive, with modules in Detailed American English, International Phonetics, dialects/accents, all of which anchor to the idea that speech/articulation is a tool for conveying information, need, and meaning. There is no “proper” way to speak, only the way that we discover is most useful for a character in a given circumstance and performance space.  Students will undergo a year of immersive on camera training in their 3rd year. The work will explore commercial technique and production, varied forms of Film/TV production, and will create self-produced web series episodes to better prepare the actor for the evolving industry.

Rehearsal and performance are ongoing throughout the training period at PlayMakers Repertory Company, in fully mounted PATP productions, and in studio rehearsal projects.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a strong commitment to serving underrepresented populations.  The PATP shares this commitment, as does PlayMakers Repertory Company, where fully one half of all productions are written and/or directed by women and artists of color.

To view our current PATP company and most recent New York showcase presentations, go here.

For information on Applying to the Program, go here.

For Curriculum information, go here.

For PATP Faculty, go here.

Find out about PATP Alumni here.

To read a letter from the Artistic Director, go here.

To read a letter from the Head of the Program, go here.