The Stage Management Concentration

The MFA in Stage Management provides a holistic 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: 

  • Contemporary stage management requires practitioners to understand their roles as leaders of and participants in workplace environments that allow a diversity of people to work inclusively and effectively

  • 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.

The hybridization of these abilities – cultural curation and operational delivery – is essential to training stage managers with real-world skills to understand history and process, collaborate productively, and encourage truly 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 rigorous, cross-platform foundation for classroom theory and production practice. This combination allows stage managers to implement effective systems and procedures, and actively contribute to changing the paradigm of systemic exclusion that exists within the American theatre industry.

Practical 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 Stage Management Program celebrates this synergy with a practical, relevant, and compassionate curriculum to prepare the next generation of stage managers.

Notable Alumni

Robbie Armstrong ’21, Once Upon A One More Time - Broadway
Morgan Beach '19, Disney Cruise Lines Stage Manager
Tesia Childs ’23, Hamilton - Broadway
Jessica Emmanus '19, Pixar Entertainment
Ellen M. Lavaia ’13, The Beautiful Lady – La Mama Theatre Company
Christopher Maxwell ’19, Arden of Faversham – Red Bull Theater
Kelley Moncreif '21, Some Like It Hot - Broadway
Alexis Nalbandian '19, MJ The Musical – Broadway
Alison Simone ’19, Days of Wine And Roses – Atlantic Theatre Company
Mel Sparks '22, Six The Musical - National Tour
Rachel Zucker '17, Hamlet - Public Theatre