The purpose of the university is inquiry: situated at the intersection of the arts and humanities, in a world theatrical capital, 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.
Making, thinking about, and writing about performance are an essential part of undergraduate education. For this reason, courses offered in the Barnard Department of Theatre and casting for its stage productions are open to all Barnard and Columbia undergraduate students, and Theatre courses engage productively with Barnard's "Nine Ways of Knowing" and with Columbia's Core Curriculum. In recent years, graduates have written plays for Broadway and beyond; have begun careers as actors, directors, dramaturges, designers; and have gained admission to the most competitive MFA programs in the arts. They have also been successful in pursuing non-artistic careers, including admission to demanding Ph.D. programs in literature, theatre, and performance studies.
Department of Theatre, 3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027