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MFA Acting (PATP)

PlayMakers Repertory Company production of Three Sisters.

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. Regularly included in The Hollywood Reporter and Backstage rankings and currently ranked 16th in the world, 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 2025, and again in Fall 2027.

Our next auditions will be January and February of 2025 in New York City, Chicago, and Chapel Hill. See the “Apply” page on this site for information on applications and auditions and keep checking back for specific audition dates and locations.

The application process for 2025 opens up in August 2024.

A man acting in a production.

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: Guy, Leland, and Delia in Blues for an Alabama Sky, Horatio and Ophelia in Hamlet, Georgia McBride in The Legend of Georgia McBride, They Do Not Know Harlem, a solo performance created and performed by PATP alum Tristan Andre Parks, 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 Meredith McDonough, 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.

People standing in a circle while a man sings

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 PlayMakers’ 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
Actors and actresses practice in a studio

Regularly included in The Hollywood Reporter and Backstage rankings and currently ranked 16th in the world, 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 Guthrie Experience for Actors in Training, two of the country’s most influential summer programs for early-career professionals.

Recent Graduates

Class of 2023

• Myles Bullock: White Men Can’t Jump; S.W.A.T. and Runaways, Hulu

• Tristan Andre Parks: As You Like It, Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park; They Do Not Know Harlem, PlayMakers’ Rep

• Omolade Wey: The Three Musketeers, Oregon Shakespeare Festival

• Sergio Mauritz Ang: The Other Two, HBOMax

• April Mae Davis: For All Mankind season 4, Apple TV

• Rishan Dhamija: Blue Bloods, CBS

• Alex Givens: Soldier’s Play, National Broadway Tour

• Brandon Haynes: Law & Order; Power: Book 3; ABCD, Barrington Stage Company

• Shanelle Leonard: Confederates, Signature Theatre NYC; India in Shrill, Hulu; Little Shop of Horrors, The Village Theatre Seattle

• Christine Mirzayan: Kite Runner, Broadway; English, Berkeley Rep

• Emily Bosco: The Rat Trap The Mint Theatre NYC

• Josh Tower: Aaron Burr in Hamilton National Tour

• Nathaniel P. Claridad New Amsterdam, NBC; A Tuna Christmas, Portland Stage Company

• Allison Altman: Birthday Candles, RoundAbout Theatre Broadway

• Arielle Yodder: Birthday Candles, RoundAbout Theatre Broadway; Guest Star FBI: Most Wanted; Supporting Guest Star Law and Order: SVU; The Price of Thomas Scott, Mint Theatre Company;

• Benjamin Curns – Caliban in The Tempest, New Haven Arts; The Blacklist, NBC

• Tori Jewell: Chautauqua Theatre Company, Summer 2022

• Gregory DeCandia: Artistic Director of DreamWrights Center for Community Arts and Founder and Executive Director of Ignition Arts.

• Carey Cox: recurring role in Handmaids Tale, Season 5, Hulu; Stand-by for Laura The Glass Menagerie, Broadway; Laura The Glass Menagerie, Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis

• Jorge Donoso, At the Wedding, Lincoln Center

Class of 2022

Sergio Mauritz Ang:   Signed with Boals, Winett & Associates upon graduation.  Song of Me, World Premiere at Stages Houston, 2022; Flowers of Hawaii, Chautauqua Theatre Company, 2022; Chautauqua Theatre Company Intern Company member summers 2020, 2021 and 2022.  From Number to Name, East West Players. Directed by Kristina Wong; The Dalai Lama is Not Welcome Here, Arizona Theatre Company for RomeroFest.  Artistic Advisory Committee and Actor for Notch Theatre Company.

Tori Jewell:  Chautauqua Theatre Company summer2022; Unto the Breech Theatre Raleigh summer 2021

Class of 2020

Emily Bosco:  Seared at Gloucester Stage Company in Gloucester, MA; Pride and Prejudice at Greenbrier Valley Theatre in Lewisburg, WV; Steel Magnolias and Native Gardens in rep at Creede Repertory Theater in Creede.  Signed with VIE Model & Talent Agency and freelancing with Stefanie Talent & Entertainment in NJ

April Mae Davis:   Stephanie St. Clair in The Queen of the Policy Racket, History Channel, It Can’t Happen Herefrom the Cat’s Cradle music venue in Chapel Hill; Process Series workshop of Master Falls.    

Brandon Haynes:  Law & OrderPower: Book 3;  ABCD at Barrington Stage Company; Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s Lamentable Trial…  It Can’t Happen Herefrom the Cat’s Cradle music venue in Chapel Hill; Process Series workshop of Master Falls. 

Sarah Keyes:  Chautauqua Theatre Company, Summer 2020

Adam Poole:  Process Series workshop of Master Falls

Dan Toot:  Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre, Brevard College.  Starred in commercials and a variety of voice-over work.  It Can’t Happen Herefrom the Cat’s Cradle music venue in Chapel Hill; Process Series workshop of Master Falls.  

Class of 2019

Shanelle Leonard:  Confederates by Dominique Morisseau at Signature Theatre in NYC.  India in two episodes of HULU’s Shrill.  Has starred incommercials.  Best Actor at Burien Film Festival for her work in The Noise Made by People in Seattle, WA. 

Jenny Latimer: Founder and Artistic Director of Center Theatre Company in Chapel Hill.  Performed in the Off-Broadway production of Sideways.  Directed Around the World in 80 Days and Into the Breeches with Theatre Raleigh.  

Christine Mirzayan:  Kite Runner on Broadway.  Heritage Festival Theater. Two US Air Force Industrials.  

Rishan Dhamija:  Yoga Play and The Play That Goes Wrong with Geva Theatre Center and Syracuse Stage.  Two episodes of a new Apple TV show with the working title Little Voices/Voice.

Tristan ParksThe Amen Corner at the Arena Stage.  Since graduation the one-man show that Tristan wrote (and performs) during his third year with the PATP has been performed at Duke, and as part of the Process Series at UNC, it will be produced by PlayMakers Repertory Company in 2023.  Performed in and was assistant choreographer of Ragtime with PRC. 

Alex GivensHow to Catch Creation, GeVa Theatre Center.  Leading roles at the Great River Shakespeare Festival. 

Geoff Culbertson:  Discovery Channel project.

Class of 2017

Allison Altman:  Birthday Candles on Broadway.  Chautauqua Theatre Company; St. Ann’s Warehouse in NYC; Denver Center for the Performing Arts; Tank Theater and Westport Playhouse.  She was in the film “Five Stars” that went to Cannes Film Festival; “The Wood Thrush” which won the Alfred P. Sloan Award; Compulsive Love Webseries and a US Air Force Industrial.  She performed in PlayMakers’ The Stuck Monologues in the summer of 2020.  

Katy Castaldi: has starred in several independent films and performed at Northstar Playmakers, Wilton Playhouse, and with the New Canaan Town Players.

Myles Bullock (Myles Be’):  S.W.A.T. and Runaways on Hulu.  Directed the film Hypothetically.

Schuyler Mastain: Based in LA Schuyler has acted in, directed, written and or produced several short films and full-length plays.  

Benjamin Curns: Indy horror flick The Institute.  Directed Red Velvet at Southern Connecticut State University and As You Like It with the Shakespeare Academy at Stratford. Stars in short film Batman: Master of Fear with Red Fist Productions. McDermott Visiting Teaching Artist for Mary Baldwin University’s Shakespeare & Performance MFA program.  Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; Investigation Discovery; Elm Shakespeare Company; ABC’s Quantico; Virginia Stage and Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre.  Resident director for The Shakespeare Academy at Stratford.  Directed CoriolanusMacbeth for American Shakespeare Center.  Fight director for Two River Theatre, Longwood University, Guilford Tech, and Shakespeare Forum. 

Class of 2016

Arielle Yoder: Birthday Candles on Broadway.  Guest Star on FBI: Most Wanted; Supporting Guest Star on Law and Order: SVU; Mint Theatre Company; Sun Valley Shakespeare Festival; Broadway National tour of The Humans; The New Ohio; New Dramatists; Theatre for the New City; Shaker Bridge Theatre.  She wrote, produced, and directed the short film Ordinary World. Associate Director at DreamStreet Theatre Company, a 501c3 non-profit for neurodiverse performers.

Caroline Strang:  Acting credits include London Assurance at Off-Broadway Irish Repertory Company in NYC; Peoples Light and Theatre Company; Tiny Beautiful Things at Merrimack Repertory Theatre; Redhouse Art Center in Syracuse; The Guthrie; The Hippodrome Theatre….

Carey Cox:  Viacom/CBS Diversity Showcase.  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.  Lincoln Center – Restart Stages: An Evening of Short Plays.  Corie Bratter in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park at Queens Theatre in the Park, and Everyday Inferno’s Glassheart.

Jorge Donoso:  At the Wedding, Lincoln Center Theatre; Buyer and Cellar, and Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors at the Weathervane Theatre; Off-Broadway production of “Baby”. 

Gregory DeCandia: Artistic Director at DreamWrights Center for Community Arts in Philadelphia.  Assistant Professor at Oklahoma City University where he was Head of BA Theatre and Performance Program.  Founder and Executive Director of Ignition Arts.  Frost/NixonMama Mia, and Rock of Ages at Lyric Theatre in Oklahoma City.  

Class of 2013

Nilan Johnson: Received a Drama League Artist-in-Residence Award for his play Endangered Species, #BLACKLIVESMATTER, Investigation Discovery’s Most Evil

Nathaniel Claridad: Recently received a Drama League Artist-in-Residence award to direct Endangered SpeciesHere Lies Love at the Public Theater, Awesome 80’s Pro, The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., Imagination Stage, Barrington Stage Company, Cape Fear Regional Theater, Two Rivers Theatre Company, Hangar Theatre, Folger Theatre, and The Kennedy Center.

Class of 2012

Katie PaxtonThe Blacklist, The Good Wife, Forever, Billy and Billie, Bedroom Farce at The Huntington

Josh Tobin4000 Miles at Baltimore Center Stage, Ricki and the Flash, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre

John DreherThe Slap, Ricki and the Flash

DeeDee Batteast: Associate Professor at Ball State University

Up Next:
Ground Floor Project 

Featuring PATP Actors