Alumni Spotlight | Myra Turley (Theatre '71)

Myra TurleyWas there a specific faculty member or peer who especially inspired you while at the School of the Arts? If so, who and how?

Robert Neff Williams. Six hours a week for two years. I learned about discipline, about sound, about the power of the human voice. Mr. Williams offered us endless possibilities. I use what I learned in his class everyday.

What were the most pressing social/political issues on the minds of the students when you were here?

Student protests. Thousands of students marching down Amsterdam Avenue. Occupying buildings. Kent State. Vietnam. Apollo moon landing. Woodstock. Stonewall. We had bomb scares and had to evacuate the buildings almost daily—very hard to get in full rehearsals without interruption. The times they are a-changin'.
About Myra Turley
After receiving an MFA in Theatre, Myra performed as an actress on Broadway, Off Broadway and in Regional theatres across the country. As a director, she has staged over 100 theatrical productions; as an acting coach she has worked with award winning actors both in the US and Hong Kong. Currently living in Los Angeles, Myra works on both the large and small screens. She created the role of Katherine Olsen on Mad Men for which she received a SAG Award for Best Ensemble Acting. Myra is the author of the book Women and Gay Men, published by Playboy Press. Her screenplay Southern Knights, was a finalist in this year's Slamdance Screenwriters Competition.
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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.