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507 Milbank Hall
212-854-1840 (fax)

Chair: W.B. Worthen (Alice Brady Pels Professor in the Arts)
Assistant Professors: Shayoni Mitra, Hana Worthen
Assistant Professors of Professional Practice: Sandra Goldmark, Alice Reagan
Lecturers: Betsy Adams, Linda Bartholomai, Kyle deCamp, Sharon Fogarty, Marsha Ginsberg,Charise Greene, Rebecca Guy, Tuomas Hiltunen, Charise Greene, Anne Kenney, Jimmy King, Stacey McMath, Tom Nelis, Sylvan Oswald, Fitz Patton, David Paul, Rita Pietropinto, Wendy Waterman

Affiliated Faculty:
Assistant Professor: Maja Horn (Spanish and Latin American Cultures)
Senior Lecturers: Pam Corbin (English, Director, Writing Program), Patricia Denison (English, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Drama and Theatre Arts)

Other officers of the University offering courses listed below:
Professor: Austin E. Quigley
Assistant Professor: Katherine Biers
Associate Professor of Professional Practice: Steven Chaikelson

Theatre Administrator: Jessica Brater
Technical Director: Greg Winkler
Production Manager: Michael Banta
Costume Shop Manager: Kara Feely
Departmental Assistant: Mike Placito

The Barnard and Columbia undergraduate theatre program engages the disciplines of drama, theatre, and performance studies as a distinctive mode of intellectual and artistic inquiry. Majors take foundational coursework in the literary, cultural, and embodied traditions of western and nonwestern performance as well as in the practices of acting, directing, design, and playwriting. All majors then specialize in a specific area and undertake advanced thesis work, leading either to a formal essay of original research, or to an artistic project (in acting, design, directing, dramaturgy, playwriting, or solo performance) that combines the practices of research and artistic creation. While Barnard and Columbia students fulfill the overall graduation requirements of their respective institutions, major requirements for the Barnard Major in Theatre/Columbia Major in Drama and Theatre Arts are identical, and the majority of required coursework is offered through the Barnard College Department of Theatre. Barnard and Columbia students receive their degrees from their respective colleges of Columbia University.

The Department's season of productions in the Minor Latham Playhouse and the Glicker-Milstein Black Box Theatre is a crucible of investigation: the place where professional directors and designers collaborate with undergraduates, using a wide range of classic and contemporary plays and performance practices to shape insights unique to theatrical inquiry today. Whether it's Shakespeare or Soyinka or Caryl Churchill, or the directing, solo performance, and playwriting theses in the Senior Thesis Festival, Department of Theatre productions are both a learning process and a scene of encounter, where perceptions are shaped for the attention and creative response of a larger public.

Students considering majoring in Theatre should consider taking three or four of the required classes in your first two years of study: Theatre History I, Theatre History II and/or a course fulfilling the "world theatre" requirement, and at least one class in acting, design, directing, or playwriting (preferably in the area you might choose as areas of specialization). Students thinking about a research focus might consider an additional dramatic literature class early in their studies; students thinking about an acting or design focus, for example, might consider additional classes in those areas in the second or third year of study.

Students declare the major in the spring semester of the sophomore year. The major requirements are spelled out below, and the process for choosing a thesis area as well: all Theatre/Drama and Theatre Arts majors do a thesis as a capstone to their work in the degree. If you would like more information about the major, please feel free to contact any full-time faculty member (see Faculty pages). Barnard students must make an appointment or come by the office of the Department Chair to have the major-declaration form signed, and will have a major adviser from the Department faculty; Columbia students are encouraged to meet with members of the faculty to discuss the degree. All majors should introduce themselves to the Theatre Administrator in 507 Milbank Hall: she will add names to the departmental listserv, and help students to keep up to date in important information about studying in the Department.

Student Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the major, successful students will be able to attain the following objectives:

  • Assess critically the artistic ambitions of contemporary theatrical performance, and of literary, critical and theoretical issues involved in the interpretation of dramatic literature and theatrical performance;
  • Create with proficiency in at least one area of creative work in the field: critical/research writing, acting, directing, design, playwriting.

Areas of Concentration

Drama and Theatre Studies Student Learning Objectives

Students successfully completing drama and theatre studies coursework, or concentrating in drama and theatre studies, should be able to attain the following objectives:

  1. Write clearly about dramatic literature, and about performance, including where applicable film performance;
  2. Synthesize and evaluate contemporary criticism and research scholarship in writing;
  3. Know specific authors, movements, periods, styles, and ideological structures in the history of drama, theatre, and performance (i.e., Shakespeare, American drama, Performative Cultures of the Third Reich, Black Theatre);
  4. Use critical, theoretical, and historical concepts in the analysis of drama and performance.
Acting Student Learning Objectives

Students successfully completing a concentration in acting should be able to attain the following objectives:

  1. Analyze dramatic texts and apply the analysis to developing a performable role/character;
  2. Synthesize external elements with external elements (social mores, environment, historical context, status relationship to others) and internal elements (center of gravity, personal rhythm, speed, tempo) toward the expression of a character's physicality and emotionality;
  3. Recognize and apply the fundamental concepts of character development: objectives, obstacles, actions, given circumstances;
  4. Develop vocal, physical and emotional awareness and imagination, and to explore techniques available to aid the actor in applying these elements in a conscious way during rehearsal and performance.
Design Student Learning Objectives

Students successfully completing a concentration in design should be able to attain the following objectives:

  1. Analyze dramatic texts and translate that analysis into documents used in the production process (breakdowns, plots, etc.);
  2. Research images and texts that provide insight into the developing design idea, and accurately communicate historical and stylistic choices;
  3. Demonstrate fluency with the craft of a design field – e.g. sketching, model making, drafting, sound and lighting plots, and associated software;
  4. Perform collaboratively, adapting and informing their designs with ideas generated through conversation with colleagues, classmates, and advisors.
Directing Student Learning Objectives

Students successfully completing a concentration in directing should be able to attain the following objectives:

  1. Recognize the different demands of different configurations of stage space;
  2. Apply compositional tools;
  3. Define production style and its influence on performance choices;
  4. Communicate effectively with actors;
  5. Analyze the historical, social, and aesthetic elements of a dramatic text as the basis for a directorial conception.
Dramaturgy Student Learning Objectives

Students successfully completing a concentration in dramaturgy should be able to attain the following objectives:

  1. Apply important critical and theoretical concepts to the analysis of dramatic writing and theatrical performance;
  2. Synthesize and evaluate contemporary research scholarship and apply it to a specific production, including biographical, historical, and interpretive information;
  3. Write clearly and effectively about the goals of a production, its critical contexts and purposes;
  4. Communicate the critical stakes of a performance to a director and cast; to be able to work with a director in fashioning those stakes;
  5. Edit dramatic scripts for production.
Playwriting Student Learning Objectives

Students successfully completing a concentration in playwriting should be able to attain the following objectives:

  1. Create an individual theatrical voice in writing;
  2. Construct dramatic and theatrical events onstage;
  3. Communicate supportive critique to fellow writers;
  4. Interpret plot and story, and to employ language and spectacle creatively;
  5. Recognize dramatic structures, and be able to shape and hold an audience's attention.