The Theatre Program is international, collaborative and interdisciplinary. Named in honor of Oscar Hammerstein II, it is defined by its location in New York City, a global capital of theatre, and by the extensive network of Columbia alumni and faculty who run prestigious Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theatres; direct and perform in Tony- and other award-winning productions; work in every level of the professional theatre world; and teach, mentor and engage with students on an ongoing basis.
Coursework is centered on experience—on campus and off, commercial and experimental, both within and beyond a student’s concentration. Collaboration class, offered in the second semester of the first year and taught by Anne Bogart, brings actors, directors, playwrights, and dramaturgs, and managers together into creative teams. Theatre Management & Producing, Dramaturgy, and Stage Management students take classes with a wide range of New York producers, managers, publicity agents, stage managers and production supervisors, often in their offices throughout the city. The third year is devoted to thesis productions and projects that involve all disciplines and are held in theatres throughout New York City, including the Pershing Square Signature Center, the Connolly Theatre and 3LD. Students also study the theory and history of theatre and explore related arts and other disciplines with the resources of Columbia’s exceptional graduate schools.
Many students land internships with major New York theatre companies and organizations, and all students gain extensive experience working on thesis shows and productions, and in New York’s established theatre companies.
Recent guest lecturers at the program include Edward Albee, Alec Baldwin, Stephen Belber, André Bishop, Cate Blanchett, Jason Butler-Horner, Michael Cristofe, Mike Daisey, Olympia Dukakis, Oskar Eustis, America Ferrara, Harvey Fierstein, Richard Foreman, Freddie Gershon, Sam Gold, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Nicholas Hytner, Gregory Kandel, Moises Kaufman, Adrienne Kennedy, Stan Lai, Mark Lamos, Tina Landau, James Lapine, Margo Lion, Hal Luftig, Erika Mallin, Peter Marks, Michael Mayer, Kevin McCollum, Joseph Melillo, Bruce Myers, Bill Murray, James Nicola, Mike Nichols, Cynthia Nixon, Mandy Patinkin, Lisa Peterson, Roger Rees, Michael Riedel, Sarah Ruhl, Tim Sanford, Bartlett Sher, Nicky Silver, Anna Deavere Smith, Stephen Sondheim, Jeanine Tesori, Ivo van Hove, Jaan Whitehead and Francesca Zambello.
Third-year MFA Acting students and two Stage Management students per year are offered Actors Equity Association (AEA) eligibility through our partnership with Classic Stage Company.
Director of the Theatre Program's Playwriting Concentration, David Henry Hwang, was awarded the 2015 Distinguished Artist Award at the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) Congress this year.