MFA in Theatre
New Southampton Arts MFA Acting program is approved by SUNY
Southampton Arts has added an Acting track to our MFA in Theatre, which also offers tracks in Playwriting, Directing, Dramaturgy and Film. With the inclusion of actors, we can now fully realize our mission to develop and present original student work for live performance and the screen. Mercedes Ruehl and MICHA faculty will take part in this newest addition to our graduate program. We anticipate enrolling our first class in the fall of 2014. Stay tuned for more details.
We are thrilled to announce that Academy, Tony and Golden Globe Award-winning actress Mercedes Ruehl (The Fisher King, Lost in Yonkers, Married to the Mob, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?) has joined our core faculty. You all know Mercedes' terrific work as an actor, but you may not know that she is also a talented, passionate teacher who cares deeply about training the next generation of theatre artists. It is our honor to welcome her on board to help us develop a graduate acting program.
Playwright ANNIE BAKER joins our core faculty
We couldn't be happier to welcome to our core faculty Blackburn Prize, Obie and Drama Desk Award-winning playwright Annie Baker (Circle Mirror Transformation, The Aliens, Uncle Vanya, The Flick). Annie is a gifted playwright and teacher who brings out the best in her students. She devotes as much energy to them as she does to her own writing, which is no small accomplishment. Annie will be teaching playwriting in Southampton and Manhattan, during the fall, spring, or during our summer International Theatre Workshops.
MFA in Theatre partners with MICHA, the Michael Chekhov Association
MICHA has made Southampton Arts its new home. Under the leadership of actress and MICHA President Joanna Merlin, over sixty actors from around the world will join our students in the study of Chekhov's psycho-physical acting technique.
What’s most meaningful about our partnership with MICHA is our shared value for creative exploration in new contexts. The Chekhov acting technique has a long tradition, but the work is flexible and opens you up to new possibilities. At Southampton Arts, we are all about new work – fostering new collaborations and encouraging new forms of storytelling across disciplines. What better collaboration could there be than one with MICHA to explore creative potential?
Who is Chekhov? Michael Chekhov (1891-1955), nephew of the playwright Anton Chekhov, is recognized as one of the greatest actors of the 20th century. In 1911, the young Chekhov auditioned for Constantine Stanislavsky and was invited to join the First Studio of the Moscow Art Theatre. MORE»
Campus Windmill declared a Literary Landmark to commemorate Tennessee Williams
During the summer of 1957, Tennessee Williams lived on campus in our historic windmill. Here he wrote an experimental play, The Day on Which a Man Dies, in response to the death of his friend, Abstract Expressionist painter Jackson Pollock.
The windmill was originally built in the early 1700’s and was located in Southampton Village. In the 1890’s, it was acquired by a prominent banker, Arthur B. Claflin, and moved to its current location, where it served as a playhouse for Claflin’s daughter. After World War II, the Claflin estate became the Tucker Mill Inn, and the windmill playhouse was refitted and rented out as a guesthouse.
To commemorate its most famous resident, one of our most influential American dramatists, the windmill has been designated a Literary Landmark by the American Library Association (United for Libraries). A dedication ceremony is scheduled for July 13, 2013. It will feature a premiere reading of a play, At Stanley's Place, by Southampton Arts faculty member Frederic Tuten. The play is inspired by Williams' character Stanley Kowalski from A Streetcar Named Desire.
The new Rakoff Studio Theatre is under construction
David Benjamin Rakoff (1964-2012) was a well-known writer and a beloved Southampton Arts faculty member. His creative endeavors included radio, journalism, novels, screenplays, essays, acting and directing. He is our multi-disciplinary hero.
We wanted something to honor David in a permanent way, something that we believe would make him proud, remind us of his many talents, and inspire our students. After a number of ideas, naming a performance space after him seemed the perfect choice. The David Rakoff Studio Theatre will be in Chancellors Hall, one of our most beautiful buildings where our Creative Writing and Theatreprograms reside. The David Rakoff Studio Theatre will be a flexible performance space where our students can realize and present their work across all of our disciplines - work where different genres might even meld together into new forms of storytelling.
David once wrote, "like generations of other misfits before me, be they morphological, sexual or otherwise, I decided that I would make theatre my refuge." So, what could be a more fitting tribute to David than the creation of a safe place for theatre students to stretch, experiment and strut their stuff?
Photo: Celebration of the life and work of David Rakoff, March 4, 2013. (L-R) Nick Mangano, Stephen Hamilton, Jules Feiffer, Mercedes Ruehl.
This year we welcome back Stephen Adly Guirgis, Leslie Ayvazian, Rinde Eckert and core faculty members Jon Robin Baitz and Annie Baker. We welcome for the first time Ellen McLaughlin, and our newest core faculty member Mercedes Ruehl. Two sessions of workshops: July 10-14; and July 17-28.
Faculty member STEPHEN ADLY GUIRGIS wins Yale's Windham-Campbell Prize
Playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis, who is returning to the Stony Brook Southampton campus in July to teach in his second Southampton Arts Summer playwriting workshop, has been named one of nine winners of Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Prize for 2013.
The Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes call attention to literary achievement and provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns. In addition to a citation and award, winners of the prize receive an unrestricted grant of $150,000 to support their writing.
The citation for Guirgis—one of three winners for outstanding achievement in drama—reads: “Stephen Adly Guirgis writes dramatic dialogue with passion and humor, creating characters who live on the edge, and whose linguistic bravado reinvigorates the American vernacular.”
Guirgis is a Co-Artistic Director and longtime member of NYC's Labyrinth Theater Company. His plays have been performed on five continents and throughout the United States. They include: The Motherfucker with the Hat, Jesus Hopped the A Train, Our Lady of 121st Street, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, In Arabia We'd All Be Kings, The Little Flower of East Orange, Dominica the Fat Ugly Ho, and Den of Thieves.
The playwright is also a former Violence Prevention Specialist/HIV Educator and has facilitated numerous workshops in NYC area prisons, schools, shelters, and hospitals.
The week that he learned he had won the prize, Guirgis wrote to MFA in Theatre Director Nick Mangano that he was looking forward to his second summer of teaching playwriting at the Southampton International Theatre Workshops.
“I was really so impressed last year by the wide ranging faculty, the diverse theater approaches and companies, and the great VIBE at Southampton Arts,” he wrote. “It's a great place, a place I wish I knew about when I was younger, but am so glad to be a part of now. The program is generous and solid — and the people running it CARE about the students."
For more information about Guirgis' summer workshop, visit: Southampton International Theatre Workshops.
Welcome our incoming class!
This fall 2013 we will welcome 12 new full-time MFA students into our program. They are a talented group of playwrights, directors, actors and filmmakers who hail from all over the world, including the U.S., South Korea, Brazil and Iran. They will join our amazing class of returning students, and we look forward to another year of intense creative exploration and new beginnings!