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It is anticipated that the next incoming class for the gratduate MFA program in Performing Arts Management will be for FALL 2016. We are in the process of receiving final approvals from the UNC System, and are hoping to receive those approvals sometime in early Fall 2015. After we receive final approval, we will be able to post the new program information, as well as application and admissions information. Under this timeline, we hope to be able to begin accepting applications later this fall, for admission in Fall of 2016.

Please check back here periodically for updated admissions and program information. Feel free to email the program director, Professor Dave Olson, if you have any questions about the program or the upcoming admissions procress. Thank you for your interest

Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue percussion performance featuring UNCSA music students Scott O'Toole and Alicia Willard - a producing project of the 1st year performing arts mangement students held at SECCA on April 12, 2012.

Class of 2014 PAM students (l to r): Alek Deva, Eliza Walmsley, LIz Johnson, Jeannie Hosler, and Diana Blanchard.

Program Description
Internship Information
Thesis Information
Recent Program Placements
Program Faculty

Admission Requirements (from UNCSA Bulletin)
Course Listings and Descriptions (from UNCSA Bulletin)
View PowerPont program overview
E-mail the Program Director   

Program Description

The performing arts management program is designed to train future leaders of our nation’s performing arts organizations. Given the ever-growing need for well-trained executive leadership in the arts, combined with the advanced practical training in production at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, such a program is a natural fit, helping to fill what many in the profession consider a void in the arts industry. In creating this program, UNCSA is looking to improve the health of performing arts organizations by training responsible, knowledgeable individuals to lead them.

The performing arts management program emphasizes a responsible approach to careers in areas such as marketing, development, public relations, advocacy, financial management, general management, educational outreach, advocacy and artistic management. The successful graduate of this program will be qualified to pursue a career in either a nonprofit or commercial organization in the theatre, dance or music arenas.

The program requires two and a half academic years in residence at UNCSA, with the second semester of the third-year consisting of an off-campus internship and graduate thesis project. Our curriculum combines a full range of coursework with appropriate practical experience.

Internship Information

Each student is required to complete a full-time, semester-long, off-campus internship during the second semester of the third year. Students are responsible for identifying organizations with whom they wish to work, in conjunction with program faculty.  The internship is meant to serve as an entry point into the profession, as well as to give the student real-world experience in the arts discipline and management area that is of interest to the student.

Examples of recent internship placements include:

  • 321 Theatrical Management, New York, NY
  • Abingdon Theatre Co., New York, NY (Off-Broadway theatre)
  • Arena Stage (Washington, DC)
  • Aurora Productions, New York, NY (technical supervisors for Broadway productions)
  • Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, NC
  • Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY
  • Burning Coal Theatre, Raleigh, NC
  • CENTERSTAGE, Baltimore, MD
  • Cherokee Historical Association, Cherokee, NC
  • City Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Elon University, Department of Performing Arts (Elon, NC)
  • Jacob's Pillow, Beckett, MA
  • Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, NJ
  • Philadelphia Theatre Company, Philadelphia, PA
  • Production Resources Group (PRG), New York, NY
  • NCSU Center Stage at NC State in Raleigh, NC
  • Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, DC
  • The Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, GA
  • The Producing Office, New York, NY
  • Weston Playhouse Theatre Co., Weston, VT
  • Woolly Mammoth Theatre Co., Washington, DC

Thesis Information

The thesis project represents the culmination of the performing arts management program and is intended to be completed and presented during the final term of the third and final year of the program.  The intent of the thesis project is for the student to demonstrate clear evidence of mastery of some aspect of the student’s particular area of interest or expertise, on a subject within the discipline of performing arts management.  The project is intended to be of a scope and caliber that is representative of a graduate, terminal degree.

Past thesis topics in the performing arts management program have included:


  • "A Case Study of Open Dream Ensemble"
  • "Accessibility and Inclusion: Options for Addressing the Issue of Representation for People With Disabilities in the American Non-Profit Theatre"
  • "Creating Roadmaps: Social Media Marketing for Arts Organziations"
  • "Women in Senior Leadership at Nonprofit Theatres"


  • "Here Today and Tomorrow: Marketing Strategies for Millennials and the Next Generation of Theatre Patrons"
  • "Sustainable Funding Solutions for the Nonprofit Theatre"


  • "A Proposal for a Producing Office at UNCSA"
  • Navigating the "New Normal": Stories in Traversing the New Marketing Ladnscape of the American Non-profit Theatre"
  • “Social Purpose Capitalism: An Investigation Into The Use of Minnesota Public Radio's Hybrid Business Model”
  • "Taiwan and the United States: A Comparison of Tax Treatment for Nonprofit Performing Arts Organizations"


  • “Organizational Culture at Jacob’s Pillow Dance During the Off-Season”
  • "Losing Ground, Gaining Momentum:  A Guide to Performing Arts Presenters in Transition"


  • “Corporate Giving in the Performing Arts”
  • “Work Smarter, Not Harder: Relationship Building 2.0”
  • “Developing an Arts Fan: What Performing Arts Can Learn From Sports”
  • “No Rules Theatre Company Business Plan”
  • “Analysis and Critique of the Arena Stage 2007-2010 Transition”
  • “The Impact of Donor Fatigue”
  • “Going Green in the Arts”


  • “Understanding Employee Needs in the Nonprofit Performing Arts Workplace”
  • “Managing an Effective Business Model: An Analysis of Leadership, Benchmarking, and Internal Environments within Opera”
  • “Broadway Challenges in a Technological Era”
  • “Strategic Planning [at the Shakespeare Theatre, Washington, D.C.]: An Analysis”
  • “Why and How to Advocate for Arts Education in Schools”
  • “The Organizational Culture of Commercial Theatre”
  • “Social Media and its Use by Non-Profit Organizations”


  • “Business Summary for a Proposed Arts Center in Williamson County, Tennessee”
  • “Enhancement Deals between Commercial Producers and Nonprofits: What Nonprofit Managers Need to Know to Make it Work
  • “Creating Community with the Community”
  • “‘Hard-Headed and Specific Assessments’ – How Nonprofits are Evaluated”
  • “A Case Study of Adding Machine”
  • “The Necessity for Human Resources Personnel in Regional Theatre”


  • “Administrative Audit of Abingdon Theatre Company”
  • “The Crisis at Paper Mill Playhouse: An Analysis from the Staff’s Point of View”
  • “Non-Profit is Not an Excuse”
  • “Communication and Marketing Plan, The 2007-08 Season at Triad Stage”
  • “Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc. – Artist Tool Kit”

Recent Program Placements

Graduates of the performing arts management program have gone on to enjoy careers with the following organizations:

  • Alliance Theatre (Atlanta)
  • The Shakespeare Theatre (Washington, D.C.)
  • Milwaukee Repertory Theatre (Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations)
  • Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, NC (Director of Partner and Grant Programs)
  • North Carolina Theatre Conference (Executive Director)
  • Cherokee Historical Association (Director of Marketing and Public Relations)
  • Mullen Public Relations (Account Executive)
  • Hartford Stage (Assistant Company Manager)
  • Choral Arts Society, Washington, DC (Director of Corporate and Foundation Grants)
  • Weston Playhouse Theatre Co., Weston, VT (Director of Sales and Marketing)
  • The Producing Office, New York, NY (Broadway producers)
  • UNCSA Office of Advancement

Performing Arts Management Faculty

Full-time Faculty
Dave Olson, Director of the Performing Arts Management, Performing Arts Management Faculty:   Bio     email

Adjunct Faculty
Milton Rhodes, President - Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County (Public Policy)

Robert Friend, Arts marketing professional; faculty member, Brooklyn College MFA program in Theatre Management (Advanced Marketing Concepts)

Peggy Joines, Director of Community Relations - Wells Fargo (Human Resources)

Michelle Speas, President - The Nonprofit Collaborative (Advanced Development)