The Arizona State University School of Film, Dance and Theatre, in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, is one of four institutions that have been selected to join The Acting Company’s new national consortium-based performance and education initiative. The initiative is a three-year long partnership that will focus on offering professional development opportunities for playwrights, actors, designers, directors and educators.
“This new initiative continues The Acting Company’s 42-year history as America’s leading national-touring repertory theater while adding new emphasis on developing concentrated and sustained relationships with schools and communities,” said The Acting Company’s board chairman, Earl D. Weiner.
The Acting Company was founded by John Houseman and Margot Harley in 1972 with members of the first graduating class of Juilliard’s Drama Division and has featured performers such as Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, Hamish Linklater, and Rainn Wilson.
“This partnership is part of our continuing commitment to engage with professional companies and artists in ways that create exciting and valuable opportunities for our students,” said Lance Gharavi, assistant director of the School of Film, Dance and Theatre. “We’ve started a series of initiatives designed to make the School of Film, Dance and Theatre a kind of oasis for established artists and companies, a refuge where they can develop new work in partnership with our faculty, staff, and students. Our students benefit, the company benefits and the field moves forward.”
The consortium model will allow for a variety of outreach activities, while furthering the ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre’s mission to establish itself as a center for research and development of new theatrical works.
The initial three-year cycle of this partnership will culminate in the global premiere of “Malcolm X,” a new work by Marcus Gardley, in the spring of 2017 at ASU. Gardley is an award-winning playwright, whose work was commissioned by The Acting Company specifically for the launch of this partnership.
“Ian Belknap, our artistic director, chose this repertory to encourage faculty to examine the causes and repercussions of assassination from historical, political and philosophical perspectives,” said The Acting Company co-founder Margot Harley.
"This project represents an entire series of ideals for us: a partnership with one of the most important and respected touring theatre companies in the world, coupled with the world premiere of a culturally important work, mixed with this chance to prototype a new model for the relationship between professional theatre companies and research universities," said Jake Pinholster, Director of the School of Film, Dance and Theatre.
The initiative is formally launching this month with the first year’s design and development phase.