UCF Master of Fine Arts TYA Program

UCF Theatre for Young Audiences MFA

One of the nation’s premier training programs


“The Theatre for Young Audiences MFA at UCF is distinguished by its innovative partnership with The REP, where our students are immersed in all aspects of professional theatre. As part of their assistantship assignments, students perform a variety of tasks, gain a wealth of experience and accumulate the equivalent of a two to three year internship in conjunction with graduate course work. UCF students who partake in this collaboration emerge as professional theatre practitioners, extending the footprint of both UCF and Orlando Repertory Theatre.” -Christopher Niess – Chair/Artistic Director – Theatre UCF


Through its partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF), Orlando Repertory Theatre is pleased to house the Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) graduate program. There are only five Theatre for Young Audiences degree programs in the nation, and UCF’s program is the only one where graduates complete assistantships in a professional theater setting. The REP benefits from this program by adding to its small full time workforce, while allowing the graduate students the opportunity to gain hands-on theatre experience while they are engaged in their studies. This experience has primed many of the students for exceptional positions in other dominant young audience theatres across the country and several large performing arts venues including the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, The Coterie, and Lexington Children’s Theatre. Graduate students are integrated into every aspect of The REP’s theater operations, including teaching, acting, and directing Youth Academy performances.

The MFA degree program in Theatre for Young Audiences at UCF is a highly selective, rigorous, three-year professional training program emphasizing both theatre theory and practice. The MFA degree is rooted in the belief that classroom study and practical experience in the theatre are of equal and complementary value. The production program, therefore, is integrated into the curriculum because it is the principal means available for the coordination of all the elements of dramatic art. All possible ways are sought to use the production program effectively for the purpose of teaching and training.

Students spend their first two years in residence at Orlando Repertory Theatre working in administration, production and education. Students are integrated into The REP’s season in all possible ways, affording them the opportunity to work with professional artists and administrators. Students also teach in The REP’s award-winning Youth Academy classes, camps and productions, all while studying with the university’s esteemed theatre faculty.

The MFA program in Theatre for Young Audiences offered by the University of Central Florida is unique because graduate students study and work within multiple departments at The REP. The TYA graduate students have worked in education, development, general management, production management, and costume shop. These students have also worked as teaching artists for a variety of REP programming including Youth Academy and community engagement initiatives. Graduates of the TYA program have leveraged their experiences at The REP and UCF to gain employment in theatre and arts education positions across the country.