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.
Long-Time Adjunct Professor Linda Winer Receives LPTW Award
Faculty member Linda Winner has been honored with the The League of Professional Theatre Women's Special Award, a recognition to theatre women for service to the League and to her field.read more
Ryan Bogner '15 Launches Off-Broadway Touring Agency
Alumnus and producer Ryan Bogner '15 together with Victoria Lang announced the launch of Off Broadway Touring, a boutique theatrical booking agency dedicated to the promotion, booking, and management of Off-Broadway productions.read more
Black Boys, Directed by Jonathan Seinen '20, Opens to Glowing Reviews
Directing student Jonathan Seinen '20 directs Black Boys, a new play that premiered last season at the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, a leading destination for alternative theatre in Toronto, and was just nominated for a Dora Award for Outstanding Ensemble. The play was developed as part ofread more
Mark H Directs 'The Escape; Or, a Leap for Freedom'
On February 14th, The Escape; or, A Leap for Freedom, a new Directing Thesis Production opens at Lenfest Center for the Arts.read more
Professor Lynn Nottage’s 'Mlima’s Tale' casts Ito Aghayere '12
The Public Theatre just announced the cast for the upcoming world premiere of two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Faculty Member Lynn Nottage’s Mlima's Tale.read more
Two Plays by Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko '10 Opening this Season
Two plays by alumnus Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko '10 are coming to TheatreF1RST this season: S.T.A.R: A Story of Marsha P. Johnson, playing from February 18th to March 10th, and Waafrika 123, playing from May 6th until June 8th.read more