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Columbia College Chicago
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Featured Programs


Comedy Studies

Comedy Studies is developed and taught by the experts in comedy at The Second City Training Center in Chicago, with college credit provided by Columbia College Chicago. It's a semester abroad right in the heart of Chicago's world- famous theater scene. And you won't just take classes. You'll also attend shows at a variety of improvisation and comedy venues, network with theater artists, explore Chicago's unparalleled theater and arts world, and present your work in a showcase.

Musical Theatre Performance

Columbia College Chicago celebrates Musical Theatre as an art form. We revel in its rich history and aspire to push its limits. Our students are expected to build a strong foundation of technique and artistry in acting, singing, and dance. We train and inspire our students to identify their strengths, challenges and potential for careers in musical theatre.

In the Works

IN THE WORKS is a theater lab series presented in partnership with the Chicago Office of Cultural Affairs and Events, and the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture that supports emerging Columbia College Chicago playwriting students with readings of their work on the stage of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The series introduces audiences to works in development by local theater artists and the opportunity to sit on the Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage. Enclosed by the retractable glass doors with the stunning cityscape as a backdrop, the Pritzker Pavilion is the perfect setting for a behind-the-scenes look at new plays from Chicago's finest theater artists and companies.

Tickets are $15 and are available by calling 312-742-8497.

Three full-length plays will be presented on April 19-21. 7:30pm


Thursday, April 19, 7:30 pm Rocky Road
Written by Michael Allen Harris
Directed by Geoffrey Jackson Scott

Rocky Road by columfpa

Michael Allen Harris received his B.F.A in acting from Columbia College Chicago in 2011. As an actor he has worked with such Chicago theatre companies as Teatro Vista, Gift, Village Players, and Cold Basement. His play, Rocky Road, will be produced as a main stage production for Columbia College's 2012/2013 season.

Geoffrey Jackson Scott is the Director of New Play Development at Victory Gardens Theater, holds a BA in Theatre with a Concentration in Directing from Columbia College Chicago and an MA in Media Studies with a dual concentration in Technology and Society and Visual Culture and Cultural Studies from New York University.


Friday, April 20th, 7:30 pm       Everybody's Got a Story                                  
Written by Bill Hillmann
Directed by Tom Mula 

Everybody's Got a Story by columfpa

Everybody's Got a Story is based on the true story of the bloody night the internationally-acclaimed, local storytelling-series The Windy City Story Slam was created. Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh praises the play for its "crackling dialogue".

Bill Hillmann is a writer and storyteller from Chicago. His award-winning audio essays have been broadcast internationally. Hillmann is an aspiring novelist and playwright; a former Chicago Golden Gloves Champion, a Union Construction Laborer and an expert bull-runner in Pamplona. Hillmann created the internationally acclaimed storytelling series the Windy City Story Slam.

Tom Mula has been a Chicago actor, director, and playwright for more than 30 years. His plays W!, The Golem, and his work on Nicole Hollander's Sylvia's Real Good Advice were all recognized by the Joseph Jefferson Committee. He is the proud author of Almighty Bob. His novel Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol was published in 1995 and was a Chicago Tribune bestseller. The audio version was broadcast nationwide on NPR for six seasons; the play received the Cunningham Prize from the Goodman School of Drama at DePaul.


Saturday, April 21, 7:30 pm          Runaway Gene   
THE RUNAWAY GENE                      
Written by Skye Robinson Hillis   
Directed by Stephanie Shaw        

The Runaway Gene by columfpa

A family's broken world is rocked by the return of their adult daughter Meg, who has been missing for 10 years. As Meg attempts to crawl back in through the cracks in the facade, each family member must confront their own yearning to escape and discover if their world can be made whole again.

Skye Robinson Hillis is a Columbia graduate with a B.A. in Theatre Directing. Her credits there include Emma's Child, Central Park West, and Celestial Bodies (dramaturg). She has worked on numerous shows at both the Piven Theatre and A Red Orchid Theatre, and is proud to work for the League of Chicago Theatres. Upcoming shows include The Butcher of Baraboo at AROT (dir. Shade Murray) and Creditors at Remy Bumppo (dir. Kimberly Senior). 

Stephanie Shaw has been a theatre critic for the Chicago Reader, a long time Neo-Futurist, a founding member of the solo performance ensemble BoyGirlBoyGirl and a writer of bloody theatrical thrillers. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Columbia College Theatre Department.

International Theatre Programs

We are global citizens and theatre artists of the world. In your career you will work with artists from abroad, and you will travel to other countries to share your work. In order to prepare you for this eventuality we have created partnerships with international theatre programs so that you can expand your theatre knowledge and training,  and receive academic credit while experiencing a different culture and a new perspective on the world.

The department offers two different types of international programming for you to choose from:

  1. Short Term Immersion Courses (J-Term and Summer)
  2. Semester-long Study Abroad programs (fall or spring semester)

1. Short Term Immersion Programs (J-Term and Summer)

These are typically one to two week programs that concentrate on training in a specific theatre skill at a specialist international theatre program. Currently we offer a one-week J-Term immersion course in Physical Theatre (Lecoq Technique) run by the London International School of Performing Arts (see below).

International Immersion Programs are open to every student in the department.

2. Semester-long Study Abroad programs (fall or spring semester)

A Semester Abroad program gives you the opportunity to study a full semester of theatre in-depth, really absorb a different culture, and allows ample time for travel.

Study Abroad programs are designed to be within your financial reach. You continue to pay tuition to Columbia (the host institution waives its tuition and fees); therefore the total cost – excluding airfare – is comparable to the costs incurred by a full-time Columbia student living on campus.

Study Abroad is geared for students who are more advanced in their course work (third year students, Juniors)

Currently we offer Study Abroad programs with the following theatre programs:

Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, London 

Lamorbey Park Campus, Burnt Oak Lane, Sidcup, Kent.  DA15 9DF. UK

t +44(0)20 8308 2600  f +44(0)20 8308 0542  ddi +44(0)20 8308 2668 mobile 07813 322 143

University of East London

Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland 

Steps to Studying Abroad

To discuss the program contact Chris Greiner cgreiner@colum.edu in the International Office to fill out the required paperwork.

  1. Download information on the International program that interests you.
  2. Contact John Green jgreen@colum.edu or Brian Shaw bshaw@colum.edu



Columbia College Chicago Theatre students travel to the London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA) each January for a week of study and performances. Students learn the physical theatre techniques of the French teacher and theater artist Jacques LeCoq, and attend nightly performances at the annual London International Festival of Mime.

The course focuses on movement improvisation, movement analysis and work with masks, three cornerstones of LeCoq's training. Students learn techniques for training the body, exploring improvisations as a basis for choreography. There is also a strong emphasis on presence, energy and transformation, which come from the Japanese influence of Butoh dance.

Student Comments from the January 2011 London Visit

"Thank you so much for this opportunity and an amazing trip. I got way more out of this trip then I ever could have imagined and am so lucky to have been able to join. Thank you."
- Addison Duffy

"Thank you for giving me this opportunity! I have learned so much on this trip. It has helped me gain insight on other cultures and things I’ve never dreamed of seeing. I cannot wait to apply everything I’ve learned to my acting. Thanks again."
- Serina Breezer

"Thank you for opening my eyes"
- JeNai Taylor

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Musical Theatre Performance Program
Columbia College Chicago celebrates Musical Theatre as an art form. We revel in its rich history and aspire to push its limits. Our students are expected to build a strong foundation of technique and artistry in acting, singing, and dance. We train and inspire our students to identify their strengths, challenges and potential for careers in musical theatre.