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Josafath Reynoso scenic designs for the Clarence Brown Theatre. (Image credit: Josafath Reynoso)

UT has moved ahead five spots in the rankings of Master of Fine Arts acting programs, landing at 11th in the Hollywood Reporter’s annual list of top programs.

It is the third consecutive year that UT has been ranked among the top graduate schools for acting in the United States and United Kingdom, and the second year that the MFA program has moved up more than four spots (from 20th in 2017).

The Hollywood Reporter considers several factors in its rankings, which are made after consultation with academics, influencers, and alumni.

“Affordability and creative support seem to be instrumental in our ranking,” said Calvin MacLean, head of the Department of Theatre and producing artistic director for the university’s Clarence Brown Theatre.

The eight actors accepted into the MFA program each year receive a full-ride scholarship plus a stipend. They also have the opportunity to perform in up to 11 main-stage productions at the CBT.

“Our students work with a variety of highly regarded guest artists,” MacLean said. “Grad students have extended contact with professional film directors, movement and voice specialists with international reputations, and playwrights who are commissioned to write a play especially for them. These kinds of experiences augment the project work in the Clarence Brown over their three-year residency.”

Along the way, students earn an Actor’s Equity Association membership card.

Notable alumni of UT’s program include Conrad Ricamora (2012) of How to Get Away with Murder; Matthew Bassett (2010), artistic director of the Hub Theatre in Washington, DC; and Cycerli Ash (2010), an actress and director known for her role on Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists.

Media coverage: WBIR, Lacey Keefer, June 11; Arts Knoxville, Alan Sherrod, June 14


Brian Canever (865-974-0937,

Amanda Womac (865-974-2992,