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 The Classical Theatre of Harlem. 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.
Shakespeare’s 'As You Like It' Comes Alive in Third-Year Director’s Thesis
As You Like It will run from March 6 - 9 in the Flexible Performance Space at Lenfest Center for the Arts.read more
West End Hit Show 'Ink' Makes Broadway Debut Starring Acting Alumnus David Wilson Barnes '99
Broadway News recently announced that Acting alumnus David Wilson Barnes '99 will join the cast of the production, Ink.read more
Acting Alumna Ito Aghayere ’12 to Star in New CBS Pilot 'Carol’s Second Act'
Acting alumna Ito Aghayere ’12 joins the cast of CBS’ Patricia Heaton comedy pilot Carol’s Second Act.read more
Acting alumnus David Fierro '11 best known for his role in The Knick will be a series regular in the new CBS drama Tommy.read more
Original Play by Professor Leslie Ayvazian Featured in Second Annual Liz Smith Reading Series
Today, April 2nd, Mention My Beauty, an original play by Adjunct Associate Professor Leslie Ayvazian and directed by Martha Banta will be part of the Second Annual Liz Smith Reading Series at The Cherry Lane Theatre.read more
“Strikes a deep emotional chord. It offers a kind of authenticity no other American Fiddler ever has.” —The New York Timesread more
Love and Power Take The Stage In Mark Barford’s Directing Thesis
The upcoming directing thesis is based on the true story of Roman emperor Hadrian and Antinous the Greek slave who he fell in love with. Hadrian & Antinous is co-written and directed by third-year directing student Mark Barford '19.read more
No Candy, a play by playwriting alumna Emma Stanton ’16 received its premiere production recently at the Portland Playhouse.read more