Classical Acting; Four performers on stage

Classical Acting


Offered in partnership with the Shakespeare Theatre Company and the George Washington University, this program has been creating a new community of classical actors since 2000.

The Master of Fine Arts in Classical Acting is an immersive, intensive program developing the actor’s instrument to handle the rigors of Shakespeare and other classical texts. The mission of the MFA in Classical Acting program (also known as the Academy for Classical Acting, or ACA) is to create a body of artists who are able to perform classical texts with skill, clarity and inspiration, for American audiences who deserve better than an imitation of the British tradition.

This unique program runs for 44 consecutive weeks, from late August through the following July. The participants work in the studios on the GW campus, for 40 to 60 hours weekly (including rehearsal time and preparation). Classes include:


  • textual analysis
  • voice and speech
  • movement
  • dance, mask, and clown work
  • Alexander technique
  • character analysis and scene work
  • dramaturgical research into the Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Restoration periods
  • Certification in stage combat




What you'll study




At the ACA, our 12-month graduate program offers both artistic and practical advantages that set it apart from other MFA acting programs. Many actors desire additional classical training but cannot devote three years to a conventional MFA program. Such programs take them out of the field for a long time and, most significantly, only focus marginally on classical acting.

The ACA’s highly physical, rigorous training is part of a true immersion program, with an exceptional number of contact hours between students and our professional faculty. Our curriculum consists of six full days of classes and rehearsals weekly, and a culminating project of two fully-staged ACA productions, directed by guest artists and performed in repertory.

In addition to receiving ongoing feedback in classes, students meet twice during each semester with each faculty member, individually. These conferences allow for private one-on-one conversations to clarify their progress, define areas for growth and develop strategies for improvement and change.

Program Details


Male actor on stage




Dance students stretching

Our faculty include award-winning artistic directors, founders of theatres, dancers, actors, teachers, writers and experts in movement and stage combat. Many of the faculty members are award-winning actors associated with the STC, and visiting artists like Laura Linney, Maria Aitkin and Fran Dorn are invited to offer Master Classes when in town.

Our Faculty






Sam Parrot


Female performer on stage


male performer on stage

Class of students in a discussion around a table with books and papers

female performer on stage


The Academy for Classical Acting
at The George Washington University
2129 G Street NW, Building L, Rear
Washington, D.C. 20052
Phone: 202-994-2819
[email protected]

Director of Graduate Studies; Graduate Faculty Advisor
Matthew Wilson
[email protected]

Program Administrator
Mallory Miller
[email protected]
(202) 994-2819

Program Head
Carl Gudenius
[email protected]

Program Director, STC
Alec Wild
[email protected]
(202) 994-2820