Page: Meet Stage

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Some graduate theatre programs stress scholarship, others stagecraft. The Shakespeare and Performance program at Mary Baldwin University offers a marriage of both aspects that attracts applicants from around the world.

Students in our coed Master of Letters/Master of Fine Arts in Shakespeare and Performance (MLitt/MFA) study, direct, experiment, and perform on campus and in the authentically recreated Blackfriars Playhouse downtown — home of the internationally acclaimed American Shakespeare Center, Mary Baldwin’s programmatic partner.

Our goal — every day — is to learn together, as a community of artists and educators working side-by-side.
–Dr. Paul Menzer, program director


S&P’s two degrees in three years

Master of Letters (MLitt)

Your immersion into the intense world of Shakespeare and Renaissance literature and performance begins with an MLitt curriculum rooted in the liberal arts. The core curriculum encourages students to occupy a variety of roles while exploring different ways to approach Shakespeare through texts and performances. Also referred to as the program’s four core competencies, acting, directing, dramaturgy, and teaching provide the interdisciplinary foundation for understanding the Bard’s plays and the world in which he worked.

In their second year, students who choose to apply for MFA degree candidacy interview for entry into the MFA program. Learn more about the MLitt degree.

*Post-baccalaureate teacher licensure is offered through Mary Baldwin’s Baldwin Online and Adult Programs. For more information, contact the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs office at 800-822-2460 or

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

For MLitt graduates accepted into the MFA degree, the learning experience intensifies with the formation of a tight-knit theatrical company that produces a season of five early modern and early-modern-inspired shows from selecting the plays to marketing to performance. During the year-long program, company members continue to hone the skills acquired in the MLitt track, preparing themselves for the job market in the process.

Learn more about the MFA degree.

Development of the Shakespeare and Performance program was underwritten by a grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, a national foundation with a commitment to understanding the major problems facing us as a people, and a willingness to invest in a nontraditional approach to solving these problems. The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation also provided generous funding to help establish MLitt/MFA.