The Stage Management Concentration
The MFA in Stage Management provides a contemporary approach for students who wish to pursue careers as professional stage managers. The program’s three-year curriculum is designed to expand upon two central principles:
Modern stage management requires practitioners to embrace their roles as leaders and caretakers of inclusive workplace environments that allow a diversity of people to work holistically and gracefully.
Stage managers must have operational skill sets that are portable, flexible, and scalable—functionalities that allow them to maximize their work in a variety of arenas.
Michael J. Passaro talks about the Stage Management Program
The hybridization of these abilities – cultural caretaking and operational delivery – is essential to training stage management leaders with the skills to understand history and process, collaborate productively, and set the tone for inclusive work environments.
The coursework uses methodologies specific to commercial (Broadway) and not-for-profit theatrical stage management. This allows students to build best practices in many other areas: opera, dance, television, and corporate events, among others. Students are expected to develop a comprehensive knowledge of union regulations and theatre administration, as well as a working knowledge of various genres and theatrical aesthetics that enhance the creative development of a production.
The curricular arc provides a cross-platform focus (classroom theory and workplace practice) on how stage managers can actively contribute to changing the paradigms of racism and systemic injustice that exist within the theatre industry.
Practical production experience is required in both academic and professional workplaces through departmental presentations and internships. Individual field studies allow students to explore ancillary interests in other realms of entertainment management. The program gives students a myriad of opportunities to build alliances with subject-matter-experts who are working professionals at the highest industry levels.
Despite the ever-changing advances in performance technology and communication systems, the craft of creating theatre is still very much rooted in face-to-face, in-the-moment, and interpersonal collaborations between artists. The Columbia SM Program celebrates this synergy with a practical, relevant, and compassionate curriculum to prepare the next generation of stage managers.