The Theatre Department’s mission is to provide undergraduate students with a comprehensive education in the practices and processes of creating theatre and live performance within the context of higher learning. We offer a number of programs designed to suit your particular interests, including Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees as well as Minors in Acting, Playwriting and Stage Combat. In consultation with your academic advisor, you are encouraged to carefully consider your interests, abilities and goals when determining which degree track to pursue.
For requirements and more information about these programs, visit the course catalog.
Columbia’s Acting BA provides comprehensive instruction in acting performance, with training in scripted and improvisational performance integrated with strong voice and movement skills. Students have the opportunity to study abroad at Columbia’s European partner institutions and may enrich their skills with study at Second City™ or our immersion class for actors in Los Angeles.
This degree is designed to prepare students for a career in the various mediums and performance modes required of today’s professional actors as well as endow them with an international performance perspective. The program intensifies the BA curriculum with additional technique, theory and career management courses. At its core is an immersion experience in modern European theatre occurring in spring semester of the junior year at our sister institution, Rose Bruford College, located just outside London, England. Opportunities for master classes with a variety of European theatre companies and performers will also be available.
Columbia College Chicago is the only college in the United States to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in Comedy Writing and Performance. In this unique program, you’ll receive “comedy cross-training” as performers, writers, directors and producers and develop your personal voice and point of view as a comic artist.
The Musical Theatre BA offers students fundamental performance training in acting, voice and dance. This curriculum is intended for students who wish to minor or double major in an additional area of interest. Students are encouraged to audition for all Theatre Department productions.
Students who wish to pursue professional performance careers audition for acceptance into this comprehensive training program. As a BFA major, you’ll develop strong techniques and artistry with advanced classes in acting, voice, dance, musical theatre styles and audition techniques. You’ll study with working professionals and guest artists, gain performance experience in a wide variety of productions, and will be featured in our annual senior showcase.
The Theatre BA offers a comprehensive theatre education with practical training in live performance and production––a way to sample a little of everything in the theatre world. Diverse courses like acting, improv, design and tech, theatre history, playwriting and theatre business allow you to pursue your unique vision while studying with working professionals in Chicago’s thriving creative community.
The Theatre Design major emphasizes design as a collaborative process that requires close cooperation among each designer, the director, the technical team and the performers.
The BFA in Theatre Design is a selective program where students will complete a professional-ready portfolio to use in seeking professional theatre work. Students successfully complete a capstone experience consisting of either a fully supported design opportunity or a professional internship.
Directors collaborate with actors, designers, playwrights and technicians to bring their creative visions to the stage. You’ll work with, and be mentored by, leading Chicago theatre artists as they develop new plays, practice every stage of the theatrical production process and direct a minimum of three fully-realized productions. The program offers also opportunities to study in New York, Los Angeles and Europe.
The Theatre Technology major provides students with a comprehensive overview of the practice of technical theatre and production and stage management.
Columbia’s Writing for Performance BA educates playwrights as both writers and theatre artists. We offer classes in writing practice, theatre performance and dramatic literature and theory. You’ll have opportunities to collaborate with other theatre artists on staged readings and workshop productions throughout your college experience.
The Acting Minor is a sequence of courses in acting, improvisational techniques, voice training and movement. This program allows you to deepen your commitment to performance and support collaborations with writers, musicians and filmmakers.
The Stage Combat minor is an extensive four-semester program in classic and contemporary theatrical violence with instruction in eight weapons skills. We teach you to simulate combat with or without weapons with confidence, dramatic realism and, most importantly, safety. Students may use this training to earn skills proficiency certifications with the Society of American Fight Directors and the British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat.
With the Theatre Directing minor, you’ll learn the skills necessary to conceptualize, organize and facilitate the preparation of scripted material for performance. In your capstone course, you will synthesize your understanding of acting, technical and design elements, project organization, and dramatic theory through the production of a one-act play.
Writing for performance is a versatile skill, whatever your course of study. Columbia’s playwriting minor provides exposure to dramatic structure, creative problem solving, script forms and verbal presentation skills through the practices of reading, writing and staging dramatic texts.
We’re happy you’re thinking of joining our creative community. We work hard to make our application process as simple and fast as possible, but should you run into any concerns, we're here to help at any time.
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