It's not secret that going back for a MFA Program is expensive. People get very excited when they hear there are programs out there that are fully funded. Meaning you don't have to pay for them. Or do you?
You will "pay" by being a Graduate Assistant. This means you could possibly teach, work the front of house, or even be a researcher for the Theatre Department where you are obtaining your MFA.
Working as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for one of the Theatre Faculty.
Your duties may include teaching a a beginning Acting class, Theatre 101, or even a beginning Voice & Movement class. You may have to attend lecture classes that one of the Theatre Professors teaches. Your job may include keeping track of attendance, teaching a smaller section that reviews the materials taught in the lecture, adminstering and grading quizzes and tests.
Working in the Box Office and/or Front of House.
Box Office Duties include but at not limited to ticket sales, working with patrons, possibly scheduling box office staff for day and show times. You may also work with the other front of house staff such as the House Manager and Ushers for show times.
Researcher for one of the Theatre Faculty.
This is generally something you find for PhD students, but it is possible that a position like this would be available for a MFA canidate instead. Your duties would be to assist a faculty member research for a number or projects or papers they are working on.
How does these jobs benefit you as a MFA Candidate?
These are jobs that support the department. They are also helpful to you even if you don't evern plan to teach or go into administrative work, they do give you skills you can apply to your craft. They are teamwork, leadership, empathy, problem solving, communication, time blocking/planning, etc.
Those are key skills that every successful Actor needs to be able to make it in this industry. They are super helpful when you're out there on you auditions, when you're in production, and when you're overall living your life while doing this wild thing called being an Actor.
You are in a MFA Program to work on your craft which is very important. Take the time while you're there to work on you as well. Build skills and tools that can help you when you get back into the world and you're out of the academic bubble.
Time blocking and planning was something I learned in graduate school. I still use the same methods I developed there that help me stay on top of my schedule, to-do lists, and goals. I learned more than just how to be a better Actor, I learned how to be a better at living life too.
Amelia Morse has her Master of Arts and Find Arts in Theatre. She was a long-distance commuter that didn't let distance get in her way of getting her MFA. To learn more about Amelia and The MFA Prep Program, click here.