Campus: Long Beach -- July 11, 2007

Cal State Long Beach to Begin Offering Rare MBA/MFA Degree in Theatre Management This Fall

A new joint MBA/MFA degree in theatre management, a terminal degree in theatre arts equivalent to a doctorate, will be offered at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) beginning this fall. It is one of just two such programs in the country, the other being at Yale University.

“This represents an extraordinary collaboration between the College of Business Administration and the College of the Arts,” said Joanne Gordon, chair of the CSULB Theatre Arts Department. “We will train the theater managers of tomorrow with all the know-how they need.”

The option in theatre management requires work in a number of different areas including front of house, box office management, press relations, marketing, contracts and fundraising. Successful completion of different assignments in each area is necessary for advancement in the program.

The MBA/MFA degree will prepare arts professionals in all areas of both arts administration and business for professional careers in theater arts management – in performing arts organizations, arts service organizations, government, funding agencies and arts councils. The program prepares students for high-level administrative positions and provides the background essential for advancement in professional theater management careers.

Candidates for the program must hold the equivalent of an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning with a minimum of 24 units of upper division work in theatre arts.

“It was a matter of extending a 60-unit degree into a 90-unit MBA/MFA,” Gordon explained. “The new units represent a cross-over between both colleges. This way, we create experts in both fields.”

The new degree is a way for the university’s colleges to reach out to each other, noted H. Michael Chung, director of graduate programs and executive education in the College of Business Administration (CBA) at CSULB.

“It’s the CBA’s strategic direction to create value-added degrees and programs across colleges,” he said. “Many students, for example, in theatre arts or health care, will benefit from management principles and training. By working together with other colleges and campuses, we can create or enhance concurrent joint offerings that will meet the need of the future.”

Chung pointed out that the new degree follows a trend in higher education and industry toward multidisciplinary efforts.

The new degree combines an aptitude in business with artistic imagination, said Gordon. “I recall an article that suggested MBAs were looking to the arts for innovative thinking,” she said. “This new degree offers an ideal synergy between the pragmatic, commercial training of a business school and the imagination of the arts. We want to create graduates who have the desire to foster the arts while giving them the skills they need to succeed in business.”

The MBA/MFA students will run both of CSULB’s production programs, the University Players on campus and CalRep, now at the Armory in downtown Long Beach. In addition, the students in this program will be eligible for internships at the South Coast Repertory Theater, the Center Theater Group and the Pasadena Playhouse.

For more information about the MBA/MFA degree in theatre management, contact Gordon at 562/985-7891 or via e-mail at

Media Contacts:

Rick Gloady, 562/985-5454
Shayne Schroeder, 562/985-1727

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