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History of CUPAL

The Columbia University Performing Arts League (CUPAL) was founded in the year 2000 by Natalie Robin and Stacey McMath, who were  leaders of Kings Crown Shakespeare Troupe (KCST) and LateNite Theatre, respectively, at the time, with the goal of increasing cooperation and communication among performance groups at Columbia. Since that time, CUPAL’s membership has expanded greatly. We now represent not only theatre groups, but also music, dance, comedy, improv, and more.


CUPAL’s priority is advocating for the needs of student groups on campus. We work in cooperation with the undergraduate student councils, governing boards, academic departments, student life offices, and school administrators. In the past, CUPAL has been responsible for many positive changes in the performing arts community. We lobbied for the inclusion of a black box theater in what would become Barnard’s Diana Center, coordinated the current pre-calendaring system for campus venues, created the Actor Share process to reduce inter-production conflicts among theatre groups, and designed an annual Showcase to highlight the achievements of the groups we represent, among numerous other initiatives over the years.


Following the COVID-19 pandemic, CUPAL reinvented itself in order to better serve our student groups. We expanded our board and implemented numerous additions to CUPAL’s mission, reflecting the evolving needs of the community. These included the Futures program, a revival of the semesterly Special Project, and the website you are now reading.


We extend our sincere thanks to all those who support the efforts of CUPAL: the Columbia College Student Council, Barnard Student Government Association, Columbia Engineering Student Council, General Studies Student Council, Office of Undergraduate Student Life, Barnard Student Experience and Engagement, Activities Board at Columbia, Governing Board at Barnard, Barnard Theatre Department, Barnard Dance Department, and Columbia Music Department, as well as our dedicated alumni.

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