New York City is your stage.


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.

Theatre News

David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly Returns to Broadway Next Week

The first Broadway revival of David Henry Hwang’s Tony Award-winning play M. Butterfly is finally here.

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The Tempest, The First Directing Thesis of the Year is Coming to Lenfest

It's that time of the year, when the graduating directing class showcases their Thesis Productions, and for the first time, this year they'll do so at the Lenfest Center for the Arts.  To inaugurate the Directing Thesis Productions season, NJ Agwuna '18 brings Shakespeare's The Tempes

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Behind The Scenes: Jessica Emmanus, Stage Manager

A series that features Theatre Makers from the other side of the stage.  

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Alumni Spotlight: Ashley Tata '12

Alumna Ashley Tata ‘12 is having a big year. She is associate director of Michael Counts' production of Bang on a Can's Road Trip created to commemorate their 30 year anniversary (coming to BAM on October 27th and 28th) and Persona, coming to LA Opera in November.

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Alumna Jillian Walker Named UMS Research Residency Artist

Alumna Jillian Walker ‘17 is the new Education and Community Engagement (ECE) Research Residency Artist of the University of Michigan. The UMS ECE Research Residency provides time and resources for an artist to spend an extended period of time in Ann Arbor developing a new performance piece.

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Ji Young Choi ‘09 to Perform in United Solo Theatre Festival

An Actress Confession written and performed by Alumna Ji Young Choi ‘09 has been selected for the United Solo Festival. The performance will be held at Theatre Row on November 17th at 7:30pm.  

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