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.
'Steal a Pencil for Me' by Deborah Brevoort Opens in January
Opera Colorado is presenting the world premiere of Steal a Pencil for Me, a new Opera with libretto by Faculty member Deborah Brevoort with music by Gerald Cohen.read more
Anson Mount '98 Performs in 'Mankind', Written By Robert O'Hara '96
Mankind, written and directed by Robert O'Hara ‘96 and featuring Anson Mount ‘98, will be running from December 15th through January 28th at Playwrights Horizons. The play follows the story of Mark and Jason, a couple dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.read more
Grayson Powell '11 is Having a Big Year in Film
Alumnus Grayson Powell ‘11 is having a busy year in the film industry. He was just nominated for Best Actor in the 2017 Massachusetts Independent Film Festival for his work in the independent film Sundown which also won Best Writing and Best New England Film.read more
Joe Travers Directs Fight Scenes in 'Counting Sheep'
Faculty member Joe Travers is the fight director of Counting Sheep, an immersive show performing at 3 Legged Dog through December 17.read more
Rachel Chavkin ’08 Awarded Smithsonian's 2017 Ingenuity Award
The creators of the show Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, alumna Rachel Chavkin ’08 (director) and Dave Malloy (composer), were honored with the Smithsonian's 2017 Ingenuity Award.read more
Michel Hausmann '14 Receives Knight Arts Challenge Grant
Alumnus Michel Hausmann '14 received the Knight Arts Challenge Grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a Miami-based philanthropic organization with a $2.3 billion endowment with a focus on Journalism, Arts, Technology, and Communities.read more