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.
Zhu Yi '13 Makes her Off-Broadway Debut
Alumna Zhu Yi '13 will make her Off-Broadway debut with her play A Deal that will also tour China in Mandarin.read more
Theatre Alumni on TV This Season
Between HBO, Showtime, Netflix, Hulu, AmazonPrime, and more, television has more hit shows now than ever. Shows that are already popular in our lives are assigning roles to many Columbia alumni this season. Here are some of them:read more
'The Year Before the Civil War' by Kate Mulley '16 Published in Issue 004 of 'The Dionysian'
The Year Before the Civil War, a play by alumna and staff member Kate Mulley '16 will be published in Issue 004 of The Dionysian, a new theatrical magazine that "aims to highlight emerging and established playwrights of all genres and backgrounds through a quarterly publication and onread more
Michael Passaro on Working with "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"
Faculty member Michael Passaro is the Production Stage Manager for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and alumna Janelle Caso ‘17 is a Production Assistant.read more
Behind The Scenes: Elana Boulos, Theatre Producer
A series of articles featuring theatre-makers from the other side of the stage.read more
Jessi Cotter ’16 and Blake Kile ’16 Stage Managers for “Must”
Alumni Jessi Cotter ’16 and Blake Kile ’16 are the Stage Management team for Must, a new Off-Broadway play about Billy the Kid by Charles Cissel produced by Bruce Willis and The Burgess Group.read more