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 Phumzile Sitole '16 Joins the Cast of 'Orange Is the New Black'
Acting Alumna Phumzile Sitole '16 recently joined the cast of the critically-acclaimed, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning Netflix show, Orange Is the New Black.read more
Associate Professor David Henry Hwang’s 'An American Soldier' Premieres to Much Acclaim
An American Soldier, an opera written and composed by Associate Professor and Playwriting Concentration Head David Henry Hwang, premiered to much acclaim at the Opera Theater of St. Louis last month.read more
Carl Cofield '14 Directs 'Antigone' for the Classical Theatre of Harlem
Theatre Alumnus Carl Cofield '14 will direct the Greek tragedy, Antigone, by Sophocles, for the Classical Theatre of Harlem.read more
Alumnus Aaron Poochigan '16 & Professor Anne Bogart Work on 'The Bacchae'
Writing Alumnus Aaron Poochigan '16 has been commissioned to translate Euripides’ play, The Bacchae, into verse. The show is directed by Theatre Professor and Directing Concentration Head Anne Bogart.read more
Bash Doran ‘03 Executive Producer of HBO Show, 'Demimonde'
Playwriting Aumna Bash Doran ‘03 was named executive producer of J.J. Abrams’ new sci-fi HBO series, Demimonde.read more
Nako Ama Adodoadji ‘18 Awarded Fellowship to The Orchard Project
Alumna, Nako Ama Adodoadji '18, who concentrated in Playwriting at Columbia, will be one of six fellows participating in the The Orchard Project's inaugural Episodic Lab this summer.read more