Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program and Roundabout Theatre Company Forge Unprecedented Partnership with [email protected]

March 11, 2016

Gift from the Tow Foundation Will Help Educate the Next Generations of Theatre Practitioners
New York, NY, March 10, 2016—Columbia University School of the Arts (Carol Becker, Dean of Faculty) and Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) have announced [email protected], an initiative aimed at educating and developing the next generation of playwrights and theatre administrators, as both institutions celebrate their 50th anniversaries. No other collaborative partnership in the New York area brings together an esteemed Ivy League MFA program with a Tony Award-winning non-profit theatre. The initiative is made possible by a grant from The Tow Foundation.

“We are so grateful to The Tow Foundation for making this unmatched collaboration with Roundabout possible,” said Columbia’s Dean Becker.  “This is an exceptional opportunity, not only to provide our students with valuable professional experience, but also to share their extraordinary skills with a wider audience.”

“This groundbreaking partnership with Columbia strengthens Roundabout’s commitment to showcasing new work as well as our leadership role in educating the next generation of theatre professionals. It utilizes our joint resources to continue our dedication to transform the classrooms of New York City and build a community of confident, expressive young people,” said Roundabout’s Todd Haimes.

Through the program, Roundabout will present new plays by Columbia MFA playwrights to public audiences and will provide apprenticeships to Columbia MFA students for a full season. All participating students will enhance their curricular studies with valuable, hands-on experience at a crucial time in their development. A teaching artist training component curriculum developed by Roundabout provides the opportunity for students to share their own knowledge and artistry with an even younger generation.

“We are thrilled to launch this program in partnership with Columbia University as part of Roundabout’s 50th anniversary season. [email protected] is an extension of our robust education initiatives, which use theatre to enhance teacher practice and deepen student learning in New York City classrooms while providing theatre artists an opportunity to share their craft and inspire young people,” adds Julia Levy, Executive Director of Roundabout Theatre Company. “

“One of the great calling cards of Columbia's MFA program has been our location in the theatre capital of the country, which provides our students with access to the top professionals in the field,” noted Christian Parker, Chair of the Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts. “This initiative ups the ante: our students stand to benefit tremendously from the exposure offered by the Roundabout, and they will no doubt contribute to the continued growth and dynamism of the Company. I am thrilled to embark on this new partnership.”

[email protected] will bridge the gap between academia and real-world exposure to New York City’s nonprofit theatre landscape,” stated Emily Tow Jackson, Executive Director and President of The Tow Foundation. “We are excited that this partnership will help launch the next generation of talented leaders and artists in American theatre.”
Components of the Program
The New Play Reading Series will be held at Roundabout’s Black Box Theatre, home to its Underground program, highlighting the work of Columbia MFA playwrights. Mentorship will be provided by celebrated Columbia faculty members, including Tony Award winner David Henry Hwang, Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage and OBIE Award winner Charles L. Mee. The series creates a bridge for Columbia’s emerging writers and provides Roundabout’s Reading Series audience members—some of the most discerning in the world—as well as agents, artistic programmers and other industry representatives with the opportunity to be the first to experience work by the next generation of talented theatre artists.
Each year, two Columbia MFA candidates will apprentice with the highly experienced professional leaders of Roundabout’s executive management and artistic staffs. Students will benefit from working a full theatre season immersed in Roundabout’s busy production calendar, and Roundabout will create ties that will assist Columbia’s talented, emerging theatre practitioners in securing sought-after internships and coveted jobs. 
Roundabout’s award-winning Education team will provide teaching artist training to Columbia students, who will then shadow professional arts educators into New York City classrooms. This component fills the need for more high-quality arts instruction and also provides Columbia students with practical experience that may help them in securing teaching artist positions.
About Roundabout Theatre Company
Education at Roundabout connects with students and teachers through customized school partnerships, residency programs, mentorships and workshops in the practice of professional theatrical skills, professional development workshops, internships, apprenticeships, backstage tours, talkbacks and pre-show workshops. For each Roundabout production, Education also creates Upstage guides, which include interviews, contextual information, teacher resources and activities, and presents a post-show Lecture Series hosted by Education dramaturg Ted Sod and featuring a distinguished artist, scholar, historian or critic.

Roundabout Theatre Company is committed to producing the highest quality theatre with the finest artists, sharing stories that endure, and providing accessibility to all audiences. A not-for-profit company, Roundabout fulfills its mission each season through the production of classic plays and musicals; development and production of new works by established and emerging writers; educational initiatives that enrich the lives of children and adults; and a subscription model and audience outreach programs that cultivate and engage all audiences.

Roundabout Theatre Company presents a variety of plays, musicals, and new works on its five stages, each of which is specifically designed to enhance the needs of Roundabout’s mission. Off-Broadway, the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, which houses the Laura Pels Theatre and Black Box Theatre, with its simple sophisticated design, is perfectly suited to showcasing new plays. The grandeur of its Broadway home on 42nd Street, American Airlines Theatre, sets the ideal stage for the classics. Roundabout’s Studio 54 provides an exciting and intimate Broadway venue for its musical and special event productions. The Stephen Sondheim Theatre offers a state of the art LEED-certified Broadway theatre in which to stage major large-scale musical revivals. Together these distinctive homes serve to enhance Roundabout’s work on each of its stages.
About the Tow Foundation
The Tow Foundation, established in 1988 by Leonard and Claire Tow, funds projects that offer transformative experiences to individuals and create collaborative ventures in fields where they see opportunities for breakthroughs, reform, and benefits for underserved populations. Investments focus on the support of innovative programs and system reform in the areas of juvenile and criminal justice, groundbreaking medical research, higher education, and cultural institutions. For more information, visit