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.
Karin Coonrod '88 Directs 'Babette’s Feast'
Directing Thesis Interview: Don Juan Comes Back from the War
The next Directing Thesis Production opens Wednesday, March 7th at Lenfest Center for the Arts. Don Juan Comes Back From the War, written by Ödön von Horváth is now presented in a new version by Duncan MacMillan under the direction of Kim Kerfoot '18.read more
Student Spotlight: Zach Marlin '19
Student Spotlight: Anna Jastrzembski '19
Anna Jastrzembski '19 is a New York based playwright from Minot, North Dakota. She graduated from Hamilton College in 2014 with a degree in Theatre and Comparative Literature, and has used her knowledge in both subjects to explore how poetry, performance, and theory intersect.read more
Jillian Walker '17 and Ned Moore '18 at SPARK 2018
Ned Moore '18, Artistic Assistant and Jillian Walker '17, Dramaturg, will participate in the inaugural SPARK festival this month.read more
Hammaad Chaudry '14 is One 3 Young People to Watch this Spring
Alumnus Hammaad Chaudry '14 is making his professional debut with his Columbia thesis play, An Ordinary Muslim, which is now playing at New York Theatre Workshop.read more