School of Theater

Directing Program

Head of Directing Program:
Travis Preston

MFA Program

Dedicated to artistic experimentation, this rigorous three-year MFA program enables talented directors to formulate their personal vision for the theater and redefine the boundaries of performance. Under the leadership of internationally celebrated director Travis Preston, the mission of the Directing Program is to identify and nurture directors who can have a seminal impact on the future of the American theater. To that end, we foster the development of powerful individual visions in an environment of continuous artistic experimentation. This program is specifically designed to respond to the needs and artistic interests of each student, who, in turn, is expected to put forth an ambitious vision for innovative, cutting-edge theater.

With a clear and abiding emphasis on practical experience, students in this program are directing as frequently as possible—in classes, studios, labs and productions at one of the school’s five theaters. The program comprehensively addresses the full spectrum of the dramatic canon while it also recognizes the growing importance of work generated by directors. Additionally, students participate extensively in the Acting Program as well as in the Programs in Design and Production. They are further encouraged to take classes offered by other CalArts schools. Many MFA candidates engage in interdisciplinary collaborations with students throughout CalArts, while others take advantage of our many internship opportunities. Two students are accepted into the program each year, with significant directing experience a prerequisite for admission. This course of study culminates with a thesis project.


Every student is assigned a faculty mentor who is responsible for guiding the student through the artistic and academic programs. CalArts emphasizes the creation of strong student-to-faculty relationships, which enable students to draw from their instructors’ knowledge and creative spirit.

Apply to CalArts

For application requirements, please visit

If you wish to speak to a counselor for useful information on assembling a portfolio for admission, more information about our program, or for general questions about the application process, please email, or call (661) 255-1050.

Last edited by rsdavid on Nov 27, 2013
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