Made up of MFA students, the Hilberry is the oldest (and finest!) graduate repertory companies in the USA.
The MFA curriculum is a three-year program of intensive practical training. The central component of the program is frequent performance, production and management under professional conditions with the Hilberry Repertory Company. Academic courses are intended as a supplement to this practical training. A core principle of the program is that the students are members of the Hilberry Company.
The company depends upon conscientious actors, designers and managers of substantial ability who are capable of being welded together into an ensemble for the program to succeed.
Graduate research assistantships, which include tuition waivers, medical insurance and a stipend, are granted to all admitted members of the Hilberry Company.
The structure was completed in 1917 for the First Church of Christ, Scientist. Field, Hinchman and Smith – predecessor to the architectural firm of Smith, Hinchman and Grylls – designed it in a Classical Roman Ionic style. In 1961, Wayne State University acquired the building and converted the auditorium into an open stage theater. Named after the president of the university, Clarence B. Hilberry, the theater was created to house a graduate repertory company, which opened its first season in 1964.
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