MFA Acting (PATP)


The Professional Actor Training Program (PATP) at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is an intensive three-year Master of Fine Arts program offering advanced acting training to early-career professionals. Training includes rehearsal and performance practice with PlayMakers Repertory Company. The program provides a bridge by which our graduates, with credibility and a significant circle of professional acquaintance, may enter the profession.

We accept 6-8 actors in each class. We accept a new class every other year. We will be accepting a new class in Fall 2023 and again in Fall 2025.

Our next auditions will be January and February of 2023 in New York City, Chicago, and Chapel Hill. See the “Apply” page on this site for information on applications and auditions.

The application process for 2023 opens up in August 2022.


About our Program

Classes are taught by resident master teachers and distinguished guest faculty within a conservatory structure. We cultivate expansive, versatile and authentic artists with a focus on technical proficiency as well as uniqueness of self. At the conclusion of training, PATP actors are seen by casting professionals and agents in a high-quality personally-crafted digital showcase.

The Program’s affiliation with PlayMakers Repertory Company, an Equity/LORT theatre, provides an opportunity for training and work within a nationally-recognized professional company. Each PATP student will be eligible to become a member of Actors’ Equity Association prior to or at the time of graduation.

About PlayMakers Repertory Company

PlayMakers is currently led by Producing Artistic Director, Vivienne Benesch. Vivienne was awarded the 2017 Fichandler Award for directing and is an Obie-Award-winning actor who served as Artistic Director of the Chautauqua Theatre Company and Conservatory for ten years, and has regularly taught at Juilliard and NYU in addition to her thriving directing career. Most recently she directed Debra Messing in Birthday Candles on Broadway.

Learn about her vision for PlayMakers and its relationship to the PATP in her Letter from the Producing Artistic Director.

Some PATP actors’ roles on the PlayMakers mainstage in recent seasons include: Meg and Clavin in Wrinkle in Time, Rosalind and Orlando in As you Like It, Bigger and Bessie in Native Son, Everybody in Everybody, Tateh in Ragtime, Miranda, Ferdinand and Ariel in The Tempest; Olivia, Orsino, Viola and Aguecheek in Twelfth Night; Demetrius, Lysander, Hermia and Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Ruth in A Raisin in the Sun; Isaac in Disgraced; Cinderella and The Wolf in Into the Woods; Jen and Macy in The Cake; Mayme, George, Mrs. Van Buren and Mr. Marks in Intimate Apparel; Irina, Natasha, Masha and Andre in The Three Sisters; Amalia and Kodaly in She Loves Me; Dez and Shanita in Skeleton Crew; Marianne and Elinor in Sense and Sensibility; among many others.

Recent guest directors at PlayMakers include Tyne Rafaeli, Desdemona Chiang, Dominque Serrand, Lee Sunday Evans, Jesse Austrain, Saheem Ali, Nicole A. Watson, Preston Lane, Libby Appel, Lisa Rothe, Valerie Curtis-Newton, Kirsten Sanderson, Whitney White, Taibi Magar, Zack Fine, Jeffrey Meanza, Colette Robert, Zi Alikhan, Orlando Pabotoy, Andrew Borba, Shelly Butler, Pirronne Yousefzadeh, and Patrick Torres.

Why choose UNC Chapel Hill for your professional training?

  • Train with master teachers
  • Be part of a professional LORT company with valuable stage experience
  • Work with professional guest directors, actors and industry professionals who join us for workshops and master classes
  • Perform in schools and other locations around the community with the PlayMaker’s Mobile unit
  • Perform in Ground Floor productions that are selected with you in mind
  • Film a Custom-crafted Digital Showcase in your third year, shared with industry professionals from across the country
  • Spend a week in NYC meeting and working with industry professionals
  • Be a part of a community that is committed to Access, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism
  •  Become a member of Actors Equity Association
  • Join us with full or partial competitive stipend and tuition remission

In addition to being ranked 7th in the USA and 11th and 23rd in the World by the Hollywood Reporter in 2018, 2017, and 2016 and listed as one of the top 25 MFA Acting Program in the USA by Backstage in 2018, The Program’s stature in the field is marked by the success we have had in placing our actors at the Chautauqua Theatre Company Conservatory and the Gunthrie Experience for Actors in Training, two of the country’s most influential summer programs for early-career professionals.

Recent graduates of the program and some of their work include:

Emily Bosco (‘20) – The Mint Theatre, NYC – The Rat Trap   

Nathaniel P. Claridad (‘14) – NBC: New Amsterdam

April Mae Davis (’22)Apple TV:  For All Mankind, season 4

Rishan Dhamija (‘19)  CBS – Blue Bloods

Alex Givens (‘19)National Broadway Tour of  Soldier’s Play

Sergio Mauritz Ang (‘22)HBO 

Brandon Haynes (‘20)Law & Order, Power: Book 3;  ABCD at Barrington Stage Company;

Tori Jewell (‘22) Chautauqua Theatre Company, Summer 2022

Shanelle Leonard (‘19)Confederates by Dominique Morisseau at Signature Theatre in NYC.  India in two episodes of HULU’s Shrill.  

Christine Mirzayan (‘19) Kite Runner on Broadway. 

Josh Tower Aaron Burr in National Tour of Hamilton

Myles – S.W.A.T. and Runaways on Hulu

Tristan – As You Like It in NYC and upcoming Playmakers show

Arielle Yodder and Allison Altman – Birthday Candles on Broadway

Arielle Yodder  – Guest Star on FBI: Most Wanted; Supporting Guest Star on Law and Order: SVU; Mint Theatre Company; 

Benjamin Curns – The Tempest

Gregory DeCandia – Artistic Director Position

Carey Cox – Season 5 recurring role in Handmaid’s Tale.   Stand-by for Laura in the Broadway production of The Glass Menagerie and went on in the role.  She later played the role at the acclaimed Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis.

Jorge Donoso – at Lincoln Center