Third Year MFA Students in Acting at Columbia Will Be Eligible for Actors Equity Association Membership

Third Year MFA Students in Acting at Columbia Will Be Eligible for Actors Equity Association Membership

The Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts and the Classic Stage Company (CSC) announced an agreement to make all third-year MFA students in Acting at Columbia eligible to join Actors Equity Association (AEA). In addition, two MFA students in Stage Management each year will be eligible to join. This agreement makes The Oscar Hammerstein II Center for Theatre Studies at Columbia the first in New York to offer this invaluable bridge to the field.

“This is a major step forward for the Acting concentration and, of course, for the entire Theatre Program at Columbia,” said Christian Parker, the program’s chair. “Joining AEA will allow our young actors access to professional opportunities otherwise closed to them, and to capitalize more quickly on the benefits union membership confers.”

All students who choose to be part of CSC’s Young Company will be supported by the School of the Arts and the Theatre Program in joining the union, either as principal cast or as understudies. Students will perform in a Shakespeare production at CSC’s downtown New York City home in the spring of their third year, and through their participation in this joint venture, will be eligible to join the union. In addition, two Stage Management students will be eligible annually to join AEA through their participation in the program.

“We are so pleased to continue to deepen our relationship with Columbia's extraordinary actor training program,” said Brian Kulick, Artistic Director for Classic Stage Company.“Their contribution to our Shakespeare for Young Audiences initiative has, in the past eight years, touched the lives of over 12,000 underserved New York City High School students from all five boroughs, introducing many of them to Shakespeare and theatre for the very first time. I cannot think of better Ambassadors to the Arts then these wonderful young actors from Columbia, whose energy and diversity rhyme with the city we live in.”

“I am so pleased we have forged a relationship with Classic Stage that creates such an unprecedented opportunity for our talented acting and stage management students,” said Carol Becker, Dean of the School of the Arts.“It will help them immeasurably as they leave the Theatre Program and head out into the world as professionals. This will immediately become a real calling card for the Program, the School and Columbia University.”

Applications for Columbia’s MFA Theatre Program are now being accepted for matriculation in Fall 2013. The application deadline is January 2, 2013, except for the Theatre Directing concentration, which has an application deadline of December 3, 2012. Visit for details about applying.