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.
Directing Thesis Interview: Broken April
Margaret Dunn '08 to Launch TBD Casting
Rachel Chavkin ’08 Awarded Smithsonian's 2017 Ingenuity Award
The creators of the show Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, alumna Rachel Chavkin ’08 (director) and Dave Malloy (composer), were honored with the Smithsonian's 2017 Ingenuity Award.read more
Anika Chapin '14 Joins Goodspeed Musicals as Artistic Associate
Alumna Anika Chapin '14 joins the artistic team at Goodspeed Musicals as Artistic Associate beginning January, 2018.read more
Alumni Named Ars Nova Residents
Ars Nova defines itself as “New York City’s premiere hub for new talent” and honores that title with several and unique development programs that “are designed to support outside-the-box thinking and encourage innovative, genre-bending work.” This year, three Alumni have joined the Ars Nova Residentread more
Joe Travers Directs Fight Scenes in 'Counting Sheep'
Faculty member Joe Travers is the fight director of Counting Sheep, an immersive show performing at 3 Legged Dog through December 17.read more