Arena Stage/Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program Partnership Continues Into Fourth Year

*** Ongoing partnership features new work from the Civilians, a reading celebrating the works of Studs Terkel, and symposiums on new play development***

(November 4, 2009 — Washington D.C.) This fall marks the fourth year of the successful partnership between Arena Stage and Georgetown University’s Theater and Performance Studies Program. This year the partnership continues with staged readings of new works; new symposiums focused on contemporary issues in theater; theater companies hosted in residence and master classes taught by accomplished theater artists. The partnership involves Georgetown students in all stages of the theatrical process and provides hands-on opportunities to work with Arena Stage staff and visiting artists. The Arena-Georgetown partnership is made possible thanks to the generosity of Andrew R. Ammerman and the Family of H. Max and Josephine F. Ammerman. The partnership will continue to grow this year and in the future as part of Arena’s American Voices New Play Institute (AVNPI) funded by a 1.1 million dollar grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

”Georgetown and Arena’s partnership has evolved over the last few years through our equal commitment to the future of American theater,” said Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith. “Working with Georgetown has allowed us to foster the development of new works while educating the next generation of theater professionals. This relationship creates innovations and inspires rising theater artists.”

The partnership recently workshopped a new musical Redhand Guitar, by Evan and Mike Yionoulis, which marked the first collaboration this year. The workshop included a two-week rehearsal with a 19 person cast that finished with a private staged reading. The workshop took place on the Georgetown University campus allowing students to observe the process and attend the final workshop presentation.

The next partnership event is a special presentation of Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith,a performance honoring the life and work of life and work of Studs Terkel, on December 7, 2009 at Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall. Adapted from Studs Terkel’s own writings by Artistic Director of Davis Performing Arts Center and Georgetown Associate Professor Derek Goldman, this production is a poignant evening of song, story and celebration that the Chicago Sun-Times hailed as “unforgettable.” This production will feature Theodore Bikel (Academy Award nominee for The Defiant Ones), Cheryl Lynn Bruce (Helen Hayes Award for From the Mississippi Delta at Arena Stage), Kathleen Chalfant (Tony Award Nominee for Angels in America: Millennium Approaches), Rick Foucheux (Helen Hayes Award for Edmond at Source Theatre Company), Keith Randolph Smith (Broadway’s Come Back, Little Sheba) and David Strathairn (Academy Award Nominee for Good Night and Good Luck) who will be joined by other accomplished D.C. actors and Georgetown alumni.

Following the success of the Where Are You Taking Me?: What’s Next in Musical Theater symposium held in November 2008, this year’s partnership will feature a series of symposiums with industry leaders to discuss issues currently affecting American theater and the development of new works. Each will feature both a private meeting of theater professionals and a public presentation. These symposiums are part of Arena’s AVNPI and will be hosted on the Georgetown campus.

2009-2010 American Voices New Play Institute’s Symposiums

Defining Diversity – December 4-6, 2009
This symposium will seek to address the role diversity in the theater. It will feature an open panel discussion and a video screenings featuring a work-in-progress film by Robert Levi that highlights the role of diversity in the first round of selections in the NEA New Play Development Program hosted by Arena Stage.

Black American Playwrights – January 15-17, 2010
Leading black playwrights will convene to discuss the issues affecting their work and their current role in the canon of American Theater. The public will be invited to hear playwrights read excerpts from their work, and hold a Q&A session.

Theater Outside the Box – February 19-21, 2010
This conversation will investigate the unique challenges facing ensemble-driven, devised, and interdisciplinary theater. The weekend will culminate with a public lecture-demo of ensemble and devised performance techniques.

The Civilians, a documentary theater group, will workshop The Great Immensity December 7-12, 2009 at Georgetown University. By using Georgetown University students throughout the process, the resident company will get to further develop their piece while students will get the opportunity to participate directly in the development of this new work. To help make the workshop in D.C. possible, Arena Stage will host The Civilians in the company’s artist housing during this time.

“We have been privileged to see our unique partnership with Arena Stage blossom, as we have collaborated on the development of major new works with Moisés Kaufman, Karen Zacarías, Danny Hoch, and many others; engaged in public forums, shared dialogues with many of America’s leading artists and thinkers; co-created satellite artistic events and much more,” said Goldman. “With the opening of the Mead Center and the establishment of the Institute, we look forward to ever richer opportunities for students, artists and the wider community, as we engage together this extraordinary vision of, and resource for, new play development in the American theater.”

Arena audiences and Georgetown students will continue to be enriched with educational opportunities through the partnership. Eight Georgetown professors of psychology, theology and English led post-show discussions for Arena’s recent production of The Quality of Life. This spring several more discussions with university professors are in the works for R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe.

Arena features master classes with professional artists throughout the season that will be open to the Georgetown Theatre and Performance Studies program students. Georgetown University students recently attended master classes held by legendary choreographer, Maurice Hines. Similar visits by Arena artists are being planned for the spring.

In addition to events held directly on the university campus, both institutions collaborate to help promote the other’s work. Arena Stage established a Georgetown Student Night, so that Theatre and Performance Studies students may attend a show at Arena at a significant discount, allowing university students to attend professional theater and help spread the word about Arena productions.

The partnership between Georgetown University and Arena Stage began in 2006 with a two week workshop for 33 Variations by Moisés Kaufman. This workshop established a formal partnership out of the long-standing relationship between the two organizations. It both assisted in the development of a full staged production of the play at Arena Stage and a later Broadway run, and set the stage for the continuation of the Arena-Georgetown partnership.

The Georgetown Theater & Performance Studies Program integrates creative and critical inquiry, emphasizing artistic excellence, interdisciplinary learning, socially-engaged performance, and the spirit of collaboration. Now offering a dynamic major in Theater & Performance Studies, the Program features a nationally recognized faculty, including a number of the field’s leading scholar/artists, and many of the region’s leading professional theater practitioners. One of the country’s only undergraduate programs in Theater and Performance Studies, the fast-growing program has rapidly attracted significant national attention for its distinctive curriculum, reflecting the political and international character of Georgetown, as well as for its commitment to social justice, and its high-quality, cutting-edge student production seasons.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Molly Smith and Managing Director Edgar Dobie, Washington, D.C.-based Arena Stage has become the largest theater in the country dedicated to American plays and playwrights. Founded in1950 by Zelda Fichandler, Thomas Fichandler and Edward Mangum, Arena Stage was one of the nation’s original resident theaters and has a distinguished record of leadership and innovation in the field. With the opening of the new Mead Center for American Theater in 2010, Arena Stage will be a leading center for the production, presentation, development and study of American theater. Now in its sixth decade, Arena Stage serves a diverse annual audience of more than 200,000. For more information please visit

Contact: Arena Stage: Kirstin Franko/Jessica Marlatt; (202) 554-9066, ext.226

Georgetown: Laura Mertens; (202) 687-6933