MFA Directing Concentration

The MFA Directing program is based on the idea that one’s vision as a director is developed through practice, encouragement, critical feedback, collaboration, and more practice. In addition to exposure to the theories and practices of the great theatre directors of the past, students are encouraged to experiment with both formal structures and physical ideas of directing, and to apply theories from intersecting art forms such as music, painting, and dance to their work on the stage. They are asked to move constantly between practical considerations of staging and collaboration to the deeper issues behind the existence and nature of theatre. The training is project-oriented and offers the director the possibility of working daily with actors, playwrights, dramaturgs, and managers. There are opportunities to direct great classical texts, to work with playwrights on new plays, and to make performance events from fresh collaborations with artists of many disciplines. 

Required Courses
(Course requirements are subject to change at the discretion of the faculty.)
Directing I-IV; Director-Designer Workshop; History and Theory of Theatre; History and Theory of Design; Topics in Theatre History and Theory; Models of Dramatic Structure; Viewpoints; Collaboration; Scene Study I and II; Shakespeare in Performance; Visiting Directors; Fundraising and Marketing; 20th Century Theatre; Planning a Theatrical Season.

Directing Thesis Project
These productions are directed by third-year MFA directing students, with professional casts in combination with MFA actors, and have a modest production budget. In addition to the production itself, students complete a formal written thesis of 50-100 pages on the production.

The Oscar Hammerstein II Center for Theatre Studies
601 Dodge Hall
Mail Code 1807
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
Phone: (212) 854-3408
2014 Directors Thesis Book
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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.