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Actors Shakespeare Company at New Jersey City University’s Artistic Director to Step Down
After 12 years, Colette Rice, founding Producing Artistic Director of Actors Shakespeare Company at New Jersey City University, is stepping down.
“It’s time for new leadership at ASC at NJCU,” says Rice. “The Company is ripe for structural change and artistic growth. There is always a ‘founder’s period’ with any organization. I believe that ASC at NJCU is moving through that time and is ready for the next phase of development.”
Ms. Rice directed most of the main stage productions at ASC at NJCU during her tenure, including critically lauded productions of Henry V, As You Like It, The Three Musketeers, Logomaniacs (a world premiere production) and, most recently, Macbeth. In 2002 she launched ASC at NJCU’s in-school educational program for middle and high school students, including its highly-successful student matinee series. Under her leadership, ASC at NJCU became a senior member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, and has been a regular recipient of funds from the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, a partner organization of the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2008 Rice also steered the Company into its current home at New Jersey City University, creating the theater-in-residence standing that the company now enjoys.
"NJCU is proud to be the resident home of the Actors Shakespeare Company. The University will continue its commitment to ASC at NJCU, and will work with its interim leadership, Colin Ryan and Jennifer America, to strategize the strongest possible foundation for its future," says Dr. Joanne Z. Bruno, NJCU Vice President for Academic Affairs. "There are few universities in the country, and far fewer in New Jersey, that can boast of having a professional theatre company in residence on campus."
Speaking of Ms. Rice, Dr. Bruno adds, "NJCU wishes Colette well in her future endeavors and thanks her for her 12 years of dedicated service to the Company. We look forward to working with the staff of ASC at NJCU to help create the next phase of growth for the Company."
As the Company’s Education Director since 2010, Mr. Ryan has overseen curriculum and staffing for ASC at NJCU’s in-school theatre programs, student matinees, special workshops and classes. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in classical acting from The Shakespeare Theatre’s Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University, where he studied with legendary teacher and director Michael Kahn. As an actor, Mr. Ryan has been a fixture on ASC at NJCU’s stages since 2003, including roles in productions of Henry V, King John, the world premiere of Logomaniacs, and last year’s critically acclaimed Christmas with Dickens & Dylan. He has also served as an assistant director for Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet, and has been involved in the Company’s artistic decisions and long-term strategy since 2007.
Ms. America, who joined ASC at NJCU in 2006 as a volunteer, joined the staff in 2008 as Company and Production Manager and has led all company operations, finance, and main stage production management since that time. Ms. America worked closely with Ms. Rice to integrate the Company’s operations into NJCU when the ASC became a department of the university. She has stage managed nearly all of ASC at NJCU’s productions since 2007, including outdoor performances and community events. In addition to continuing many of the duties of her position as Company and Production Manager, Ms. America will also assist Mr. Ryan with marketing initiatives, fundraising and strategic planning. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts from State University of New York at New Paltz.
ASC at NJCU officially became the University’s theatrical company-in-residence in 2008, making NJCU only the fourth institution of higher education in New Jersey to be affiliated with a professional theatre company. The collaboration between the company, which is in its 13th season, and NJCU began in 2005. Since that time, NJCU and ASC at NJCU have partnered to present professional classical theatre to both the NJCU and wider Jersey City communities and NJCU faculty and students have been regularly involved in ASC productions and workshops.
ASC at NJCU works through the NJCU Foundation, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. Programming is made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner organization of the National Endowment for the Arts, New Jersey City University, and contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations. ASC at NJCU is a proud member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.