For this residency, Playwrights Theatre has developed a program that will include majors from FDU’s celebrated theatre department in all aspects of production, including performance, stage management, and technical theatre. Students will have opportunities to work alongside professional actors and designers, earning college credits for their work on plays, as well as “points” towards their membership in Actors Equity, the Union of Professional Stage Performers. In addition, they will be able to work with professional teaching artists in schools and community-based organizations on Playwrights Theatre’s arts education efforts, including the statewide New Jersey Writers Project and Poetry Out Loud Programs (both partnerships with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts), as well as its local efforts on the Madison Young Playwrights Program and The Creative Arts Academy. Students will also perform roles in the annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival, which presents 15 plays written by New Jersey students, grades 4-12. FDU Theatre faculty will be working with Playwrights in directing, performing, and designing capacities, as well.
“This arrangement could not be better for the overall mission of Playwrights Theatre, which is the development of new works for the stage and arts education,” said John Pietrowski, Artistic Director of Playwrights Theatre. “While we have programming for students pre-kindergarten through twelfth grades as well as adults, we have a gap in our services to those in college. We think this kind of hands-on practical work with professional artists will round out the excellent training students are receiving at FDU. And Playwrights will be able to continue to serve over 25 writers of new plays in a larger, refurbished, and highly accessible theatre. We are also very excited about possible connections with the other academic departments at FDU.”
“This will present a wonderful opportunity for our students”, says Professor Stephen Hollis, Director of FDU’s Theater Program “as not only will they have the benefit of working alongside professional actors and directors but also work towards gaining their Equity membership, a unique situation within a BA program.”
Up until August 2011, Playwrights Theatre was in residence for 25 years at the Green Village Rd. School in Madison. “We have been working with FDU students and faculty for over 15 years, with FDU Faculty designing and directing some of our productions. I have been teaching there as an adjunct for over a decade, and students were involved with us back stage and on stage,” added Pietrowski. “The imminent sale of the Green Village Rd. School property presented us an opportunity to put together a more formal arrangement.”
In anticipation of the sale last year, Playwrights Theatre reached an agreement with the Borough of Madison to site its administrative offices at the Madison Civic Center in exchange for providing cash-saving services to the Borough, including the presentation of the annual Summer Recreation Musical. Playwrights Theatre will remain in those offices. It will also continue its public classes, The Creative Arts Academy, in classrooms of schools in the Madison School District. Playwrights Theatre will maintain the Madison Young Playwrights Program, which teaches playwriting as an after-school program at the junior and elementary schools (including St. Vincent’s)
Plans for the two plays to be performed in June and August are ongoing. Playwrights Theatre plans to announce the titles in January 2012. Playwrights Theatre recently presented its first show of the season, The Last Days of Mickey & Jean, in a coproduction with The Bickford Theatre at The Morris Museum.
About Playwrights Theatre:
Founded in 1986, Playwrights Theatre is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit professional theatre and arts education institution dedicated to developing and nurturing the dramatic imagination of artists, students, and audiences. Our New Play Program creates development opportunities for professional writers through readings, workshops and productions, and invites audiences to participate in authentic feedback experiences. Our New Jersey Writers Project, Poetry Out Loud, New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest and Festival, and Creative Arts Academy programs provide a comprehensive and hands-on arts education experience to over 31,000 students, Pre-K through adult.
Writers in the New Play Program are drawn from across the country, including our affiliation with the National New Play Network, a nation-wide group of theatres dedicated to the development and production of new work. Teaching Artists in our Education Programs are professional artists working in their field in the New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. From 2003-2012, we have been designated a Major Arts Institution by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (along with only four other theatres: The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, George Street Playhouse, McCarter Theatre Center and Paper Mill Playhouse) as “an anchor institution that contributes vitally to the quality of life in New Jersey.”
Funding for our activities comes from: the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the F.M. Kirby Foundation, Inc., Bank of America, the Bay and Paul Foundation, The Bickford Foundation, Dramatist Guild Fund, Horizon Foundation of New Jersey, The Prudential Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Travelers, The Victoria Foundation, and many corporations, foundations and individuals.
Playwrights Theatre is a member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, the National New Play Network, and Madison Arts & Culture Alliance.
About Fairleigh Dickinson University
Fairleigh Dickinson University is a center of academic excellence dedicated to the preparation of world citizens through global education. The University strives to provide students with the multi-disciplinary, intercultural, and ethical understandings necessary to participate, lead, and prosper in the global marketplace of ideas, commerce and culture. Today, FDU offers over 100 degree programs at the associate, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral levels. Its wide range of offerings, coupled with the depth and expertise of its faculty, has Fairleigh Dickinson University poised to serve the citizens of New Jersey and beyond.
About the Fairleigh Dickinson University Theatre Department
Inaugurated in 2001, the Theater Department, under the leadership of Professor Stephen Hollis, has become one of the university’s most rapidly growing and popular programs, with a current student body of 75 Theater Majors. Students can specialize in one of 5 concentrations:
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Playwrights Theatre is a non-profit, professional theatre comprised of playwrights, theatre artists, and arts educators. We provide opportunities for writers to develop their works in a nurturing environment and connect with new audiences.