Actor, Director, and Teacher Ron Van Lieu Appointed to the Theatre Faculty

May 16, 2017

Carol Becker, Dean of Faculty of Columbia University School of the Arts, announced today the appointment of renowned acting teacher Ron Van Lieu to the Faculty of the Arts as Professor of Professional Practice in Theatre. He will join Columbia faculty members in the Program’s Acting Concentration that include James Calleri, Andrei Şerban, and Gregory Mosher.


“On behalf of all of my colleagues in the Theatre Program, I am thrilled to welcome Ron Van Lieu to our Acting faculty,” said Christian Parker, Chair of the MFA Theatre Program at the School. “He is widely known as one of the most gifted, rigorous, and devoted teachers of acting in the American theatre. His decades of graceful leadership in some of the country's most prestigious training programs have also established him as one of the most influential people in our field. Ron joins an accomplished faculty, and we all look forward to working with him as we continue to investigate the most dynamic and forward-thinking ways to educate talented and ambitious artists for a rapidly changing field.”


Van Lieu was a member of the acting company of the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre for two seasons. He then returned to New York to become a founding member of the Lion Theatre Company (Garland Wright, Artistic Director), and acted and directed there, as well as at Playwrights Horizons and the New York Shakespeare Festival's Public Theatre. In 1975, he began teaching in the Graduate Acting Program at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where he remained for 29 years as Master Teacher and eventually Chairman of the Program. In partnership with Zelda Fichandler, he built the Program into a leading actor training conservatory in the United States. In 1993, he was awarded the NYU Distinguished Teaching Medal, the highest honor for teaching at the University.


While at NYU, in partnership with Rosemarie Tichler, he undertook the founding and curricular development of the Shakespeare Lab at the New York Shakespeare Festival's Public Theatre. Additionally, he was a founding faculty member of The Actors' Center in New York City, where he has been teaching actors and acting teachers for the last 12 years. Upon his retirement from NYU, an endowed scholarship was established in his name to support actors accepted into the Graduate Acting Program at the Tisch School of the Arts. Since 2004, he has been at the Yale School of Drama as the Lloyd Richards Professor and Chair of Acting. The numerous actors, directors, and writers he has taught and mentored at NYU, Yale, and The Actors' Center have been honored with Academy Awards, Tonys, Obies, New York Film Critics Awards, Drama Desk Awards, Golden Globes, and Pulitzer Prizes.


“Ron Van Lieu is a master teacher of acting,” said Dean Becker. “The list of those who have studied with him and their accomplishments is staggering. We are honored to welcome him to the School of the Arts and look forward to the excitement his appointment will bring."


“I am grateful to Dean Carol Becker and to Theatre Program Chair Christian Parker for the invitation to be part of the Columbia University School of the Arts family,” said Van Lieu. “It means I will have the rare opportunity to engage with and learn from a most distinguished faculty in all areas of the Theatre Program. Most importantly, I will have the opportunity to continue my decades-long mission to teach, challenge, and support imaginative and unique young actors who bring the fullness of their hearts and the expansiveness of their talent into every classroom as they carve a path for themselves toward a meaningful career as expressive artists. I'm a happy man.”


Van Lieu is a graduate of Bowling Green University with a BS in Education, majoring in Speech. He attended the graduate theatre program at the University of Iowa where he had an assistantship as a manager of the Studio Theatre. He later was engaged as a resident actor at Vassar College.


The Columbia MFA Acting Program provides a comprehensive range of resources and a wide variety of techniques for students to explore. It is concentrated to give each actor the individual guidance he or she specifically needs to grow and mature. Each class is hand-picked to create a diverse core company of actors that will live and breathe their art together in an invigorating three-year program, enabling them to draw important lessons from the varied experiences, approaches, and voices of their teachers and peers. The training offered at Columbia provides graduates with the tools necessary to succeed in classical, contemporary, and experimental theatre, as well as in television and film. Visit for more information.