The Master of Fine Arts in Theater: Contemporary Performance is Naropa University’s
interdisciplinary studio-based performance degree.
This rigorous laboratory program has been created by a faculty of first-generation
innovators to encourage the next generation of pioneers in performance. Rooted in
physical performance techniques that emphasize the body as source, our training explores
the structures that underpin contemporary performance.
Naropa’s Contemporary Performance MFA is the first training program of its kind to
explore the intersections of performance-making with contemplative arts. Creating
vital and relevant new work is only part of the equation; the engaged artist must
also be able to speak and write about their work. We value practice as research and
dissemination; our immersive studio work will have you sweating both physically and
Theater and performance are multidisciplinary arts, and we are invested in building
a multidisciplinary cohort. Whether your background is in acting, directing, design/visual
arts, writing, performance theory, dance/movement, music, film/media, or performance
art, you will engage in intensive ensemble-based training using your body, mind, and
voice to create work that is unique in form and content.
We seek students from the United States and all corners of the world to create a truly
diverse international cohort where collaboration is informed by intercultural and
Contemporary Performance MFA Degree Highlights
Develop and create original work as part of a closely connected ensemble, while at
the same time being supported in your individual journey of discovery in the best
traditions of student-centered teaching and learning.
Complete a thesis project related to production, service learning, activism/social
justice, teaching, or research.
Immerse yourself in intensive studio training and rehearsals.
Work with nationally and internationally respected faculty and guest artists.
Learn from visiting guest artists, brought in annually to inspire and collaborate
with Naropa Theater students. See who we've worked with.
The Master of Fine Arts program in Theater: Contemporary Performance is a two-year
twelve-student cohort. At any given time, there are twenty-four students in residence,
including both cohorts.
“Naropa is giving me an opportunity to uncover my own artistic process under the mentorship
of amazingly loving and brilliant artists and teachers. The essence of contemplative
practice and ensemble support that are the foundation of my study at Naropa will serve
my artistic path and career. I can trust my instincts, breathe, and let my heart lead
Jeffrey Sichel is Vice President and Establishing Coordinator of the UNESCO-ITI (International
Theatre Institute) UNITWIN Network for Higher Education in the Performing Arts, a
consortium of over 40 international Theatre universities and training programs, promoting
global cooperation and networking for higher education in the performing arts of this
network. Since Jeffrey's arrival, Naropa University is now fully engaged in this network.
— Jeffrey Sichel, MFA Chair of the MFA Performance Program // Associate Professor, Core Faculty