Columbia University School of the Arts and Roundabout Theatre Company are collaborating on an initiative aimed at educating and developing the next generation of playwrights and theatre administrators—Columbia@Roundabout. The initiative is made possible by a grant from The Tow Foundation.

Through the program, Roundabout presents new plays by Columbia MFA playwrights to public audiences and provides paid apprenticeships to Columbia MFA students for a full season. All participating students enhance their curricular studies with valuable, hands-on experience at a crucial time in their development. A teaching artist training component curriculum developed by Roundabout provides the opportunity for students to share their own knowledge and artistry with an even younger generation.

Components of the Program

The New Play Reading Series held at Roundabout’s Black Box Theatre, home to its Underground program, highlighting the work of Columbia MFA playwrights. Celebrated Columbia faculty members, including Tony Award winner David Henry Hwang, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage and OBIE Award winner Charles L. Mee, provide mentorship. The series creates a bridge for Columbia’s emerging writers and provides Roundabout’s Reading Series audience members—some of the most discerning in the world—as well as agents, artistic programmers, and other industry representatives with the opportunity to be the first to experience work by the next generation of talented theatre artists.

Each year, two Columbia MFA candidates apprentice with the highly experienced professional leaders of Roundabout’s executive management and artistic staffs. Students benefit from working a full theatre season immersed in Roundabout’s busy production calendar, and Roundabout will provide Columbia’s talented, emerging theatre practitioners with valuable on-the-job experience and industry contacts.

Roundabout’s award-winning Education team provides teaching artist training to Columbia students, who will then shadow professional arts educators into New York City classrooms. This component fills the need for more high-quality arts instruction and also provides Columbia students with practical experience that may help them in securing teaching artist positions.