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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Academics & Research

Director of master’s program touts first graduating class

The new UH Master’s of Fine Arts Acting program recently graduated its first class to attend the three summer sessions.

The program is built around teachers who work full time and are unable to attend classes during the regular school year. They are admitted into the program and study intensively throughout the summer.

This was what director Steve Wallace intended when he began the program three years ago, and said he is proud to have graduated his first class since its inception.

“We brought in 16 — which was the limit — the first year, and we had no idea if they would come back the second year because they have their own lives going on,” Wallace said. “They’re teaching for nine months, some as far away as Japan. This year we graduated our first class, and all 16 of them are graduating.”

Once they graduate, these teachers will resume their work with a master’s in theatre arts immediately.

“We want to see them apply what they are learning immediately, so after the first year they have a whole new approach for acting that they can experiment with,” Wallace said. “Until they apply it in a classroom it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just something that they were taught at school.”

The recent graduates ended their semester with a trip to London, where they studied under the supervision of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

This was not a typical visit for a student, which gives this program its exclusive nature. There are three other universities that host a graduate program for teachers of the dramatic arts. UH has the only traveling master’s program.

The degree plan takes three years, and students will travel to London, New York and Chicago, where they continue their teaching and studies.

“What we’re able to set up through our contacts is a lot of behind the scenes, private tours and very specific events, that as a tourist in London you would not have access to,” Wallace said. “They get to do and see a lot of things that they would never be exposed to otherwise.”

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