Columbia University’s MFA Theatre Program is collaborative, international, and interdisciplinary. It defines itself by its location in New York City. 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.
The Theatre MFA programs in Acting, Directing, Playwriting, Dramaturgy, Stage Management, and Theatre Management & Producing seek students who have the talent, vision, and commitment to become exceptional artists. At the School of the Arts, students interact with the leading creators, practitioners, producers, and analysts of today’s theatre, acquiring rigorous training rooted deeply in the classics, while exploring new forms and the cutting edge of theatrical art. The best theatre across all times and cultures has not only reflected, but has also shaped its society. At its best, theatre helps point society to its best future. Columbia’s MFA Theatre Program aims to train theatre artists to fulfill that important role in today’s society.
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 The Classical Theatre of Harlem. 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.
Folami Williams '16 and Emily Murphy '17 Join Cast of 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child'
Acting alumnae Folami Williams '16 and Emily Murphy '17 are set to join the cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.read more
Melis Aker '18 and Kyoung Park '12 Named 2019-2020 Dramatists Guild Fellows
Playwriting alumni Melis Aker '18 and Kyoung Park '12 were recently named 2019-2020 DGF Fellows by the Dramatists Guild Foundation.read more
Peak Performances at Montclair State University will present the world premiere of Falling & Loving, a play written by Obie Award-winning Professor Charles L. Mee and directed by School of Arts Directing Concentration Head Professor Anne Bogart, on September 24, 2019.read more
'Patience' by Current Students Closes Corkscrew Theater Festival
Corkscrew Theater Festival’s third annual summer season concludes with the world premiere of Patience, written by Johnny G. Lloyd '20, directed by Velani Dibba '20, and produced by Jon Bleicher '21.read more
Musical 'Bat Out of Hell,' Directed by Jay Scheib '02, Released to Rave Reviews
Bat Out of Hell, the musical based on the Meat Loaf album featuring songs by Jim Steinman and directed by alumnus Jay Scheib '02, debuted in New York to rave reviews last week.read more