Situated at the intersection of the arts and the humanities, and in a world theatrical capital, drama and theatre studies at Barnard and Columbia is committed to the interaction of creation and critique in the shaping of articulate performance: to the distinctive practices of reading, writing, and research and their capacity to illuminate and ignite the conceptual work of performance; to drama as the exploration and instigation of consequential action; to acting as a means of claiming and clarifying embodied meaning; to design as a practice for shaping meaning in material, space, and time; to directing as an inquiry into the form and tempo of the theatre's world-making; and to playwriting as the struggle to invent new performance languages to impel, enrich, and interrogate that world, and ours.
The Barnard College Theatre major / Columbia College major in Drama and Theatre builds on its liberal arts setting by imagining an integrative approach to performance, drama, and to theatre studies. Taking advantage of a wide variety of studio coursework, of the Department's production season in the Minor Latham Playhouse, as well as of a rich panoply of drama and theatre studies courses, students' creative work develops in dialogue with critical inquiry into the literature, history, culture, and theory of western and nonwestern performance, typically combining coursework in theatre and drama with study in other fields, such as anthropology, architecture, art history, classics, dance, film, languages, literature, music, and philosophy. Students work with accomplished artists, directors, designers, actors, and playwrights whose work enlivens and enriches the contemporary American theatre; they also study the critical, historical, and theoretical lineaments of drama, theatre, and performance with celebrated teachers and internationally-recognized research scholars. The coursework in the major also engages productively with Barnard's "nine ways of knowing" and with Columbia's Core Curriculum, by considering how critical questions and traditions are animated by the forms, genres, and practices of dramatic theatre, and by conceiving the mutual responsiveness of critical and artistic work to those questions. Making, thinking about, and writing about art are an essential part of any undergraduate education: for this reason the courses offered in the Barnard Theatre Department and casting for its theatrical production are open to majors and nonmajors alike.