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Applying to the Professional Director Training Program

Our next admissions deadline for the MFA Directing Program will be January 3, 2024 for Autumn 2024 admittance.

Questions? Please take a look around our web site, then:

  • If you have any questions about the application procedure, please contact the School of Drama's Graduate Program Advisor at (206) 543-0714 or email uwdrama@uw.edu.

This program admits students every other year.

UW’s Directing program almost exclusively selects candidates who show evidence of enterprising energy and accomplishment in the professional field. Successful applicants may have assisted seasoned directors and should have some degree of professional and artistic work of their own on record. It is extremely difficult to gain admission directly out of a BA program with no other credentials.


The deadline to submit the below application materials to the School of Drama is January 3.

Please email the following to uwdrama@uw.edu. Application materials received after that date cannot be guaranteed consideration for admission.

  1. Directing application form (PDF)
  2. A current résumé of training and experience in your field.
  3. A statement of purpose (up to three pages)
    • In this letter we’d like to hear about your mission and vision as a director, in your own creative work and how you see it in the context of the larger theater field. Please also share how you see your graduate training fitting into the arc of your career, some of the goals you hope to gain from this educational experience, and why you think UW is the right school to achieve them. If you like, you can also speak to your unique creative process and/or identity and how that fits into the above.
  4. Three letters of recommendation. Each recommendation must state whether the letter is or is not available for review by the applicant. Forms for this purpose are available here (PDF). These should be emailed by your recommenders directly to the School of Drama (uwdrama@uw.edu).
    • The three letters of recommendation should not come from the same source (e.g. your BA program's faculty).
  5. One set of unofficial transcripts.
  6. An analysis of a past directing process that culminated in a public performance, either script-based or devised, along with a work sample (up to five written pages plus five minutes of video or six images)
    • This question asks you to reveal insights into your conceptual vision as well as the functional capacity to execute your work as a director: what the play was about at the larger level and how you translated your research and initial ideas into a realized production out in the world. Use the questions below as catalysts, not as a blueprint: we're interested in your authentic response as well as your analysis. It’s helpful if you can link what you describe in the written portion to elements of the finished performance shown in the work sample.
    • Share insights into your starting points for the work. This could be an articulation of your initial vision, the main action/spine you articulated for the piece, how your central characters’ actions relate to the play’s overall message, core design or performance elements you wanted to include, its timeliness as a production, themes or social/political issues that resonated with you, staging challenges and/or aesthetic questions. etc. For scripted works, please reference how you approached your initial text analysis. For devised works, speak to how you solidified your core investigative questions.
    • Share a bit about your rehearsals/development process. What were some of the challenges you encountered and how did you navigate them? What were places of growth and/or learning for you? How did you negotiate collaboration with other team members?
    • Share insights into the production outcome and how that related to your initial goals. What aspects of the starting vision held through to the final performance? What shifted during process and why? What aspects do you deem most successful about the show and what places didn’t meet your goals?
    • Share a five-minute work sample OR six images that give a sense of the final piece. Provide a link to a video excerpt of the finished work OR six production images of the play. If you provide a link to a full length work, please indicate starting and ending timestamps for the reviewers. You may share an edited link with more than one scene from the same work (i.e. two or three short excerpts from the same play) or indicate up to three sections within a longer video. Do not share an edited marketing trailer or reel of multiple pieces. Images can be shared as individual files or a pdf of all six images.
  7. A final question, contingent on your answer to #6 (one to two pages)
    • The UW directing program aims to build directors capable of navigating a wide breadth of the future theater field. Our goal is that MFAs graduating from our program will leave with a comfort directing works in both playwright-centric processes (akin to regional or commercial models) and generative works (created through devised processes in collaboration with other artists).
    • If you chose to feature a devised play above, please share some insights into your experience with scripted works and your directorial approach to text analysis. This might include questions like: How do you approach existing plays at the script level to mine meaning and action in preparation for rehearsals? When reviewing a script, what questions are critical to your directing process and how are those questions shared with others in the preproduction process? How do you identify works that resonate with your interests and skills? Feel free to use past works as examples.
    • If you chose a scripted work above, please share some insights into your experience and/or interest in generative/devised theater. This might include questions like: What experiences have you had creating works from scratch? How have you navigated the dramaturgical and process questions that arise in co-creative works? If you have past experience in this realm, what (if any) are the unique skills you’ve used in approaching devised directing compared to scripted plays? If you have not worked in a generative setting, what makes you interested in (or scared about) creating original performance? What differences do you imagine between these two modes of working? Do you imagine this kind of work fitting into your future career

SECOND STEP - For selected applicants

    A selected group of candidates will be invited to continue the application process and Zoom interview with the head of the program. Interviews will occur from mid January to early-February.

    1. Candidates will interview for 30 minutes with the directing faculty.
    2. Candidates will also be asked to respond to a 2-page questionnaire provided by the School of Drama.

    THIRD STEP - For final short listed applicants

    A small group of candidates (3-5 people) will be invited to Seattle from February 8 – 14th, where they will be interviewed in person by a group of faculty. As part of this interview each candidate will conduct a rehearsal with actors provided by the School of Drama. Candidates will receive additional information when they are notified of their selection to this short list.

    Accepted applicants will be required to apply online to the Office of Graduate Admissions upon acceptance. Graduate Admissions charges an application fee of $85. A waiver is available in cases of academic hardship.

    The GRE is not required for any applicant. International applicants must meet minimum TOEFL or IELTS scores and other Graduate School requirements.

    For questions about the application process, contact our Graduate Program Advisor at (206) 543-0714 or email uwdrama@uw.edu. For questions about the program, contact Adrienne Mackey at amackey1@uw.edu.