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.
Alumna Paola Lázaro '13 Performs In 'Our Lady of 121st Street'
Paola Lázaro-Muñoz '13, an alumna from the Playwriting concentration, is one of the lead actresses in the play, Our Lady of 121st Street, currently showcasing at Signature Theater in Times Square.read more
Alumni Mei Ann Teo '14 & Tatiana Pandiani '16 Win 2018 National Directors Fellowship
The fellowship—which was presented by several arts organizations such as The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, National New Play Network, The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, and Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation—will provide mentorship and training for one and half years tread more
Alumna Benita de Wit '16 Directed 'Salty' at Access Theatre
Alumna Benita de Wit '16 directed a production earlier this month of Salty, a new play by Aaron Richard Johnson that just had its world premiere in NYC at the Access Theatre.read more
Alumna Diane Paulus '97 Directs ‘Jagged Little Pill’
Alumna Diane Paulus '97 recently directed the jukebox musical, Jagged Little Pill, to much acclaim. Inspired by the music of the pop-rock singer, Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill follows the Healys who "appear to be a picture-perfect suburban family—but looks can be deceiving.read more
Interview with Carol Becker and David Henry Hwang: International Play Reading Festival
The Columbia University School of the Arts International Play Reading Festival is a new Festival organized by Dean Carol Becker and Playwriting Concentration Director David Henry Hwang.read more
Alumnus Robert O'Hara '96 was awarded the 2018 Herb Alpert Award in Arts, an unrestricted prize of $75,000 given annually to five risk-taking mid-career artists working in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theatre and the visual arts.read more