Distributed May 31, 2001
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Mark Nickel
Trinity Rep: Emily Atkinson (401) 521-1100, x228

Brown, Trinity Rep form consortium for graduate study in theater arts

Brown University and Trinity Repertory Company have formed a consortium to offer new master’s and doctoral programs in theater arts. The new consortium, approved by the Brown faculty and Trinity Rep’s board of trustees earlier this month, was approved by the Brown Corporation Saturday, May 26. Discussions are underway to include Rhode Island College and the Rhode Island School of Design as future consortium partners.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Trinity Repertory Company and Brown University have formed a consortium to create a new graduate program for theater arts. Today’s announcement of the new program by Sheila E. Blumstein, interim president of Brown, Oskar Eustis, artistic director of Trinity Rep, and Arnold B. Chace Jr., chairman of Trinity Rep’s board of trustees, follows approval of the consortium by the Corporation of Brown University at its Commencement Weekend meeting Saturday, May 26. The proposal had been unanimously endorsed by the Brown faculty on May 1 and approved by Trinity Rep’s board of trustees earlier this month.

In addition to its existing Master of Arts (M.A.) in theater studies and Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in playwriting, Brown University will begin granting an M.F.A. in acting and directing and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in theater and performance studies. The consortium, which will incorporate the existing Trinity Repertory Conservatory, will provide professional training for the new M.F.A. program at Trinity Rep’s downtown campus: the David and Joan Henderson Studios, the Lederer Theater Center, and the planned Pell Chafee Performance Center. The first M.F.A. class will matriculate in September 2002 and receive its degrees in May 2005. The Ph.D. program will be based on the Brown campus.

“This new consortium will set the national standard of training for the next generation of theater artists: rigorous and demanding, but without limitations on creativity,” said Eustis. “This program is the product of inspired, pragmatic discussion and analysis by the leadership of Trinity Rep and its Conservatory, Brown’s administration and its department of Theatre, Speech and Dance. This consortium, which combines all of the virtues of an Ivy League school with those of an independent, nationally acclaimed theater company, will provide the best possible environment to train the artists of the future.” Eustis, who had been serving as a visiting associate professor at Brown, has been appointed a full professor. He will direct the new consortium and oversee its M.F.A. program.

“The new program will provide theatrical training in a professional environment of the highest caliber, with an unparalleled faculty and academic resources,” Blumstein said. “It builds on both institutions’ strengths, and on their shared commitment to imagination, intellectual challenge and idealism.”

Chace, Trinity’s board chair, added, “Providence has long offered the rare confluence of theatrical artistry and academic expertise, facing each other across the river. Now that Brown University and Trinity Rep, two of the brightest crown jewels in our Renaissance city, have formed this consortium, Providence will gain even greater international acclaim.”

“We are eager to begin work through the consortium,” said Kathryn T. Spoehr, Brown’s executive vice president and provost. “The unique strengths of our two institutions and the excellent working relationship between Brown and Trinity will help establish the new graduate theater program at the forefront of U.S. higher education.”

“The new graduate programs build upon the considerable strengths of Brown’s nationally recognized Department of Theatre, Speech and Dance, paramount among which is the imaginative partnering of critical and creative thought and experience,” said Spencer Golub, the department’s incoming chair. “The department-administered Ph.D. program in theater and performance studies will serve as a new model for graduate education in our field, helping to define the scholar-artist of the future. At the same time, the consortial relationship with Trinity Rep offers unique and exciting opportunities for our theater students, faculty and staff at Brown to become part of a wider community dedicated to collaborative and innovative learning. Everybody wins.”

The consortium faculty will include faculty members of both the Trinity Rep Conservatory and Brown, and the administration and boards of Brown and Trinity Rep will share oversight of the program.

One of the nation’s leading theater training programs, the Trinity Rep Conservatory was established in 1978. Since 1998 it has offered the M.F.A. degree in acting and directing through Rhode Island College. The Conservatory classes of 2002 and 2003 will continue to earn degrees through Rhode Island College, but new classes will be admitted to the program at Brown beginning in the fall of 2002. The first degrees from the Brown University program will be granted to the Class of 2005.

Later this year, the consortium hopes to announce an expansion to include Rhode Island College and the Rhode Island School of Design as future partners. Currently in discussion are programs granting an M.F.A. in theater design (lighting, set, costume) through Rhode Island School of Design, and an M.F.A. in stage management and technical theater through Rhode Island College.