Columbia University’s MFA Theatre Program is collaborative, international, and interdisciplinary. It defines itself by its location in New York City. And it thrives on the extensive network of Columbia alumni and faculty who work in prestigious theatres at every level, who direct and perform in award-winning productions, and who engage with our students far beyond the classroom.
Experiential learning is the methodology around which all our coursework during the first two years is centered. We encourage students to master their concentration deeply and thoroughly. We also support learning through partnership with other concentrations. We offer two Collaboration classes – one in each of the first two years. Here, the focus is on the creation of new work through interdisciplinary teams. Additionally, students have access to a wide range of New York’s most established producers, managers, and publicity agents, often through taking classes in their offices throughout the city. Due to these connections, students and acclaimed professionals are able to build relationships and facilitate the acquisition of sought-after internships and coveted jobs. We also urge students to participate in learning opportunities at Columbia’s other acclaimed graduate schools.
The third and final year is devoted to students synthesizing their learning and crafting their own artistic and professional voice through thesis projects, productions, and internships with professional theatre organizations. In addition, students attend colloquia throughout the year with writers, actors, directors, agents, and producers. Third-year Acting students and two Stage Management students per year have the opportunity to earn their Actors Equity Association (AEA) eligibility through our partnership with Classic Stage Company. Third year Directing students in good academic standing are offered Associate Membership in the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).
Recent guest lecturers at the program include:
Ayad Akhtar, Alec Baldwin, Annie Baker, Stephen Belber, André Bishop, Jason Butler Harner, Michael Cristofer, Mike Daisey, Olympia Dukakis, Oskar Eustis, America Ferrera, Harvey Fierstein, Richard Foreman, Freddie Gershon, Sam Gold, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Nicholas Hytner, Gregory Kandel, Moises Kaufman, Adrienne Kennedy, Lisa Kron, Tony Kushner, Stan Lai, Mark Lamos, Tina Landau, James Lapine, Young Jean Lee, Margo Lion, Hal Luftig, Taylor Mac, Pam MacKinnon, Erika Mallin, Peter Marks, Michael Mayer, Simon McBurney, Kevin McCollum, Joseph Melillo, Bruce Myers, James Nicola, Mike Nichols, Cynthia Nixon, Mandy Patinkin, Lisa Peterson, Michael Riedel, Sarah Ruhl, Tim Sanford, Bartlett Sher, Nicky Silver, Anna Deavere Smith, Stephen Sondheim, Simon Stephens, Ivo van Hove, Les Waters, Jaan Whitehead and Francesca Zambello.
The Theatre Program’s Stage Management Concentration continues to flourish this year, with Students and Alumni shining behind the scenes throughout the US and abroad.read more
New Plays Festival Interview: Ed Wasserman '18 and Nora Sørena Casey '18
Opening in two weeks are Ed Wasserman’s Between Fire and Smoke and Nora Sørena Casey’s The Nature Room. We talked with these playwrights to find out more about their plays and the process of producing.read more
'The Resting Place' by Ashlin Halfnight '06 Premieres Worldwide
San Francisco’s Magic Theatre recently announced that its 2018-2019 season will include the world premiere of The Resting Place, by alumnus Ashlin Halfnight '06.read more
Current Students Melis Aker '18 and Nana Dakin '18 Receive NYTW 2050 Artistic Fellowships
Melis Aker '18 (Playwriting) and Nana Dakin '18 (Directing) have been announced as two of the New York Theatre Workshop 2050 Fellows.read more
Shiva Kalaiselvan '15 Lands Role in 'Gotham'
Alumna Lauren Whitehead '14 Adapts 'Between the World and Me' for the Stage
To adapt the book to stage, Ms. Forbes enlisted two dramaturgs, Alumna Lauren A. Whitehead '14 and Talvin Wilks “who faced the challenge of paring down a text that, under 200 pages, was already concise.read more