Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services
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QUEENS COLLEGE MFA PROGRAM IN CREATIVE WRITING IS COLLABORATING WITH THE ACTORS COMPANY THEATRE/TACT
-- Students Will Work With Professionals in NYC, the Center of the Theatre World --
FLUSHING, NY, July 16, 2008 -- Dramatic developments are under way at Queens College of the City University of New York: Building on the success of its Masters in Fine Arts program in creative writing and literary translation, the school is joining forces with The Actors Company Theatre/TACT of New York City to launch an innovative, two-year playwriting curriculum. The only one of its kind, this curriculum will allow would-be dramatists to have their scripts developed and performed by members of an acclaimed off-Broadway troupe, one of the few true repertory companies in the city.
Under the leadership of “Obie”-award-nominated playwright Richard Schotter, winner of the Berman Prize in Playwriting, this unique program offers MFA students the rare interplay of practical theatre experience and intensive workshop training. In Professor Schotter’s words, “There’s nothing more useful and exciting for a young playwright than to see and hear his or her work performed by professional actors in a real-world theatrical setting; that’s what our partnership with TACT will provide.” Participants will also have the chance to cross genres and study with members of Queens College’s distinguished MFA faculty in poetry, fiction and translation.
To complete the learning experience, members of TACT, founded in 1992, will help students move their material from the page to the stage. Led by director/playwright Scott Alan Evans and actors Cynthia Harris and Simon Jones, TACT is an ensemble of professional theatre artists with collective credits in scores of Broadway shows, hundreds of Off-Broadway plays and over a thousand regional productions. Unique in its artistic vision, TACT is, in the words of Evans, dedicated to “creating theatre from its essence: the text and the actor’s ability to bring it to life.”
The deadline for application to this exciting new program for the 2009-2010 academic year is February 15, 2009. For further information, visit the Queens College MFA Web site at www.qc.cuny.edu/Creative_Writing and The Actors Company Theatre’s Web site at www.tactnyc.org .
The Queens College MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation, introduced in fall 2008, offers a diverse student body the opportunity to work closely with award-winning faculty members who are also committed teachers. Faculty include novelist John Weir, winner of the Lambda Literary Award; poet and translator Roger Sedarat, winner of the Hollis Summers prize in poetry; playwright Richard Schotter, Obie award nominee and Berman Playwriting Prize winner; poet Kimiko Hahn, winner of the PEN/Voelcker Award in poetry; Nicole Cooley, who directs the MFA program, winner of the Walt Whitman Award in poetry; and poet and novelist Jeff Allen, winner of the Heartland Prize for Fiction. In addition to our permanent faculty, visiting professors in the program have included Gonzalez and at present, Cave Canem fellow Aracelis Girmay(poetry).
Founded in 1937, Queens College University of New York (CUNY) offers an exceptional liberal arts curriculum, with over 115 undergraduate and graduate majors and a variety of specialized honors programs. Its more than 18,000 students come from over 140 nations and speak scores of languages, creating an extraordinarily diverse and welcoming environment. Located on a beautiful, 77-acre campus in Flushing, Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. Queens College is also highly rated by leading guidebooks—for example, it was named one of the nation's 25 "hottest" and "most interesting" colleges by the 2008 Kaplan/Newsweek How to Get Into College guide and is consistently included in the Princeton Review America's Best Value Colleges and in The Best 361 Colleges. In addition, the 2008 U.S News America's Best Colleges lists QC #12 among "Top Public Universities- Master's, North," its U.S. News category."
The Actors Company Theatre (Scott Alan Evans, Cynthia Harris and Simon Jones, Co-Artistic Directors) is dedicated to presenting neglected or rarely produced plays of literary merit, with a focus on creating theatre from its essence: the text and the actor's ability to bring it to life. TACT's company of actors was drawn together in 1992 by a love of the literature of the theatre. Over the past fourteen seasons and more than 80 productions, it has grown to become a true repertory ensemble: a group that has developed a common vocabulary and a technique based on its artistic vision and collective body of work. TACT artists are veterans of the stage, film and television whose cumulative experience includes significant roles in scores of Broadway shows, hundreds of Off-Broadway plays, over a thousand regional theatre productions, and many films and television shows. They have received Emmy Awards, Obie Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards, Drama Desk Awards, and Tony nominations. These professionals are committed to TACT because of the artistic opportunities it offers: creative challenges, professional growth, and the chance to work on great plays that deserve to be seen more often in New York City. Says Peter Filichia/Theatermania: “The Actors Company Theatre is easily among the city’s most valuable troupes.”