Mike Daisey has written an excellent post about the cost of MFA theater programs and how that affects artists. Some highlights are below, but I recommend reading the whole blog post.
“This deepens these programs’ legitimacy, and the participants dig themselves in more and more. When I talk to young people in schools, I am constantly asked which MFA programs I would recommend. They are routinely lied to and told baldly that without MFA training they couldn’t possibly be ready to perform for the public. In undergraduate programs professors of the theater (who very often have never come near the professional theater) push students on to further studies, encouraging them to believe they need further training before working.”
“Where is this process happening in theater? Where are older actors and artists advising the next generation on what to do with their debt? This is an essential process, and we learn nothing if each generation has to blindly stumble forward.
I’ll tell you where they are: they are nowhere. They have no answers, and no venues to speak them in. Artists in the American theater see a life devoid of support, to such an extent that they have no answers for themselves, much less the next generation.”