MFA Directing | Theater | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

dancing partners onstage


Photo above: SIU Theater production of Crazy, a thesis production directed by Courtney Laine Self (MFA, Directing 2011), currently freelance director and choreographer in New York City.

Thank you for your interest in the Directing program in Theater here at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The MFA in Directing is a three-year sequence that includes courses in playwriting, theater history, performance theory, dramatic literature, design, and script analysis, as well as a variety of electives. Directing instruction is divided into five major areas:

  • Directing Seminar: The theoretical background of directing is explored alongside practical in-class assignments.
  • Qualifier: In the first year, a directing MFA student will direct a production chosen together with the Head of Directing.
  • Heightened Language: In the second year, a directing MFA student will direct a production of a script with heightened language, for instance, Shakespeare or other classical texts.
  • Thesis Production: For third directing students, the thesis includes directing a fully-realized production of a script chosen in collaboration with the Head of Directing. The production will include a full team of designers for the directing student to lead.
  • Thesis Document: There is also a written component of the thesis in which the director connects his or her work to directing theory and reflects on the experience.

By the end of the three years, students will have directed three major productions, many projects, and amassed knowledge of the art, craft, and business of directing.