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 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.
Playwriting Alumnus Santino DeAngelo ’18 Directs and Co-Writes New Musical in LA
This past December Playwriting alumnus Santino DeAngelo ’18, who according to the New York Times has a “gift for engaging melodies,” co-wrote and directed Porn Awards: The Musical at The Rockwell in Los Angeles.read more
Kelundra Smith from American Theatre spoke with students who are graduating from various programs around the country to talk about why they chose to study theatre administration, what they’re learning, and where their curiosity or passion points them.read more
Ars Nova Announces Melis Aker '18 as a 2019 Play Group Resident
Alumna Melis Aker ’18 joins alumna Julia May Jonas '12 as a new member of the Ars Nova Plays Group 2019. Play Group is a two year residency in which members become a part of the Ars Nova Resident Artist community.read more
Faculty Member Brian Kulick Publishes Book About the Nature and Function of Theater
The Secret Life of Theater: On the Nature and Function of Theatrical Representation by professor Brian Kulick, published by Routeladge, is on sale now.read more
Third-Year Director Jeffrey Page Presents Two One-Act Plays by Prominent Black Playwrights
Jeffrey Page’s third-year directing thesis The Woman / The Man: An Evening of Two One-Act Plays premieres next week.read more
Alumnus Christopher Burney '94 Named Artistic Director of New York Stage and Film
New York Stage and Film, a non-profit dedicated to both emerging and established artists in the development of new works for theater and film, announced that following a nationwide search, Christopher Burney ’94 will become its next Artistic Director.read more