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Monday, 26 November 2012 21:12

CSC and Columbia Univ School of the Arts Announce Actors Equity Eligibility Program




New York, NY, November 20, 2012 – 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.

About the Theatre Arts Program at Columbia University School of the Arts

The MFA Theatre Program at Columbia is international, collaborative and interdisciplinary. Named in honor of Oscar Hammerstein II, it is defined by its location in New York City, a global capital of theatre, and by the extensive network of Columbia alumni and faculty who run prestigious Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theatres; direct and perform in Tony- and other award-winning production; work in every level of the professional theatre world; and teach, mentor and engage with students on an ongoing basis. The Theatre Arts MFA programs in acting, directing, playwriting, dramaturgy, stage management, and theatre management & producing seek students who have the talent, vision, and commitment to become exceptional artists. At the School of the Arts, students acquire disciplines rooted deeply in the classics while branching out into new forms and exploring the cutting edge of theatrical art. The best theatre in every culture and in all eras has not only reflected its time but also shaped its society and often helped point it toward the future. The Theatre Arts Program aims to train theatre artists to fulfill that important role in today’s society. Visit for more information.

About Columbia University School of the Arts

Columbia University School of the Arts awards the Master of Fine Arts degree in Film, Theatre Arts, Visual Arts and Writing and the Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. The School is a thriving, diverse community of artists from around the world with talent, vision and commitment. The faculty is composed of acclaimed and internationally renowned artists, film and theatre directors, writers of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, playwrights, producers, critics and scholars. Every year the School of the Arts presents exciting and innovative programs for the public including performances, exhibitions, screenings, symposia, a film festival, and numerous lectures, readings, panel discussions and talks with artists, writers, critics and scholars. For more information, visit

About Classic Stage Company

Classic Stage Company is the award-winning theatre committed to re-imagining the classical repertory for a contemporary American audience. Last season, CSC presented critically acclaimed productions of The Cherry Orchard with John Turturro and Dianne Wiest, which received the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Revival; Bertolt Brecht’s Galileo starring Academy Award-winner F. Murray Abraham, directed by Brian Kulick; and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Bebe Neuwirth and Christina Ricci, directed by Tony Speciale. Past seasons have included critically-acclaimed productions of Chekhov's Three Sisters with Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jessica Hecht, Juliet Rylance and Peter Sarsgaard, directed by Austin Pendleton (Obie Award); David Ives’ The School for Lies with Hamish Linklater (Obie Award), directed by Walter Bobbie; Unnatural Acts, conceived and directed by Tony Speciale; Ostrovsky's The Forest with Dianne Wiest and John Douglas Thompson, directed by Brian Kulick; David Ives’ Venus In Fur with Nina Arianda and Wes Bentley, directed by Walter Bobbie; Shakespeare's The Tempest with Mandy Patinkin, directed by Brian Kulick; Chekhov's Uncle Vanya with Denis O'Hare, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard, directed by Austin Pendleton; Anne Carson's An Oresteia (International PEN Award for Poetry); Chekhov's The Seagull with Dianne Wiest and Alan Cumming; David Ives’ New Jerusalem with Richard Easton, directed by Walter Bobbie; Hamlet, Richard II, Richard III with Michael Cumpsty (Obie Award as Hamlet), directed by Brian Kulick; and Yasmina Reza's A Spanish Play with Zoe Caldwell, directed by John Turturro.

CSC presents plays from the past that speak directly to the issues of today. As we return to works of the past, we endeavor to keep a clear eye on the future, particularly in terms of the next generation of artists and audiences. Founded in 1967, CSC has received wide recognition for its significant contributions to theatre as an art form through productions of classic plays, translations and adaptations and a long-standing commitment to the identification and nurturing of leading and emerging artists. CSC's artists are the finest established and emerging theatre practitioners working in this country. Highly respected and widely regarded as a major force in New York and American theatre, CSC has been cited repeatedly by all the major Off-Broadway theater awards: Obies, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League and the 1999 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work. For further information on Classic Stage Company, call (212) 352-3101, visit the theatre in person at 136 East 13th Street, or go to

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