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Drama and Theatre Arts

Administrative Information

Director of Undergraduate Studies:
Patricia D. Denison, 412 Barnard; 854-8375; pd92@columbia.edu;
W. B. Worthen, 506 Milbank; 854-2757; wworthen@barnard.edu

Departmental Administrator: Jessica Brater, 507 Milbank; 854-2079; jbrater@barnard.edu

Departmental Assistant: Mike Placito, 236 Milbank; 854-2080; mplacito@barnard.edu

Departmental Office: 507 Milbank; 854-2079

Interdepartmental Committee on Drama and Theatre Arts

Arnold P. Aronson
        School of the Arts, Theatre

Steven Chaikelson
        School of the Arts, Theatre

Helene P. Foley
        Barnard, Classics

Martin Puchner
        English and Comparative Literature

Austin E. Quigley (chair)
        English and Comparative Literature

W.B. Worthen
        Barnard, Theatre


Professor
W. B. Worthen (chair)

Associate Professor of Practice
Steven Chaikelson, School of the Arts

Assistant Professors
Shayoni Mitra
Hana Worthen

Assistant Professors of Professional Practice
Sandra Goldmark
Alice Reagan

Adjunct Lecturers
Betsy Adams
Kyle deCamp
Sharon Fogarty
Charise Greene
Rebecca Guy
Tuomas Hiltunen
Stacey McMath
Piia Mustamaki
Sylvan Oswald
Fitz Patton
Rita Pietropinto
Wendy Waterman

Affiliated Faculty
Pam Cobrin, Senior Lecturer, Department of English
Patricia Denison, Senior Lecturer, Department of English, also co-Director of Undergraduate Studies
Maja Horn, Assistant Professor, Spanish and Latin American Cultures

Mission Statement

The major in drama and theatre arts, a joint program with the Barnard College Department of Theatre, teaches students to create and interpret drama and theatre in the context of a liberal arts curriculum. Early in the major, students are given a foundation in theatre history and world theatre traditions as well as in performance and production. As students continue to move through the program, they acquire a comprehensive knowledge of dramatic literature, theatre history, and theories of the theatre, which they learn to integrate with their growing expertise in acting, directing, design, and playwriting. Committed to situating theatre within cultural and historical contexts, the program examines different traditions around the world and the ways in which they interact.

Course offerings cover diverse traditions and forms of theatre, ranging from Shakespeare, Chinese opera, and commedia dell’arte to stage realism, expressionism, and the avant-garde in lectures, seminars, acting labs, design studios, and performances at the Minor Latham Playhouse. The major culminates in an individually designed senior project, which approaches theatre performance by means of creative interpretation as well as literary, historical, and theoretical analysis. The senior project results in either a theatre production or a written thesis grounded in historical and scholarly research.

Plays participate in literary traditions, but they, along with other kinds of performances, are also part of social life. Theatre thus emerges as a site of cultural innovation, transmission, and contestation involving a variety of languages including verbal, scenic, musical, and physical. Fostering both creative and analytic thought, the theatre major is valuable not only to undergraduates who aim to pursue advanced degrees or careers in the field, but also to those interested in the study of languages, literatures, and the arts. For this reason, students are encouraged to supplement their course work in drama and theatre with courses in other departments, such as anthropology, architecture, art history and archaeology, classics, dance, film, English and comparative literature, music, and philosophy.