October 29, 2014
by Mariangela Lardaro
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Leaving New York for London

Back in summer 2009, Fran DaSilveira ’14 (BFA, Rita and Burton Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing) spent four weeks in the Tisch Summer High School Program. She was in the dramatic writing track and it was during this time before her senior year of high school that she was first exposed to Anton Chekhov. Fran said, “We read his short play The Proposal, and now consider him the playwright that has influenced my writing most.”

Fran’s writing was also influenced by spending some time away from New York City. In fall 2012, she was part of the Tisch Playwriting in London program. The city left such an impression on Fran that she moved to London after completing her degree! Here’s more from Fran:

Why did you want to study in London?
I read Pride and Prejudice in the 7th grade and have always had a very romantic view of England. When I found out that Tisch had a study abroad program in London, I had idyllic views of sitting in the moors writing my hit play in a leather bound notebook. This image was partly why I wanted to study in London. The other reasons were a bit more practical. Aside from Cape Verde where I was born, I’d never traveled outside of the U.S. and going to London would mean that it would be easy to travel all over Europe as well. It’s also a city that is perhaps just as rich in the theatre arts as New York is.

London13How did studying abroad change your writing?
My semester abroad was incredibly influential not only to my work but also to the way I viewed myself as a writer. I arrived in London as a dramatic writing student and left as a professional pursuing a career. It’s a very important transition for any writer to make; otherwise, you find yourself only writing for the sake of a class or deadline or grade.

What made you want to go back to London?
I get this question a lot, especially from British people who are confused as to why I would leave New York for London. The two cities are similar in terms of industry and the vibrancy of the theatre world. What drew me back, however, was the physical history and culture that permeates throughout the city. London is absolutely beautiful and the UK is a nation that takes pride in preserving its age. There are dozens of free opportunities to take in the city’s culture, from museums to parks to architecture. During my study abroad here, I connected to the city and I found myself subconsciously leaving things undone, like seeing a play at Shakespeare’s Globe, with the intention of coming back.

What’s your theatre experience been so far?
One of the things I did to prepare for my trip was to compile a list of theatres in London in order to find the ones that were particularly receptive of new writing. When I got to the city, I booked tickets to see various shows, including Freak, a play by Anna Jordan produced by Theatre503, a small but very popular and well respected venue. One of the great things about Theatre503 is that they hold monthly writer’s nights for half price and put on something called Rapid Write Response where writer’s send in 10-minute plays in response to their main stage productions. I sent something in after seeing Freak and my piece was one of seven chosen to be performed for a two day run. It was an incredible experience, and encouraging since I’d only been in London for a couple of weeks at the time. London is a city that tries to do as much as possible for young people, especially in terms of theatre. Concessions are usually always available for shows, workshops are offered, and short play nights a fantastic way for people to get their work out there.

London9What’s your advice for students thinking of studying playwriting in London?
Do it! Even if you’re on the fence, apply and speak to others who have done the program to find out their experience. I’m a big advocator of studying abroad in general. New York can become a bit consuming at times and it’s extremely useful to experience other ways of life. The great thing about London is that there’s enough familiarity so you don’t feel completely out of place but there’s more than enough within and outside the city to explore.

October 23, 2014
by Justine Drayton
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Student Showcase: 35mm Films Screening

Pavel Jech (standing) speaking to the 35mm program in Prague

Pavel Jech (standing) speaking to the 35mm program in Prague

The students who took part in the 35mm Directing program in Prague and showcased their films. From left to right: Bret Calo (alum), Paxton Farrar (alum), Junnan Chen (alum), & Paul Nungesser (alum)

The students who took part in the 35mm Directing program in Prague and showcased their films. From left to right: Bret Calo (alum), Paxton Farrar (alum), Junnan Chen (alum), & Paul Nungesser (alum)

Yesterday afternoon, we hosted a screening of student films and discussion about 35mm filmmaking in collaboration with Pavel Jech, screenwriting instructor and Dean of FAMU (Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing Arts) International, along with past alumni from our 35mm Directing in Prague program. Pavel began the screening with a short introduction of our program followed by a discussion about 35mm filmmaking in a broader cinematic context, domestically and internationally.

Each alum screened their films and proceeded to explain their ideas behind the films, why they enjoy working with 35mm film, and the benefits of portraying their stories on screen through the 35mm medium. The alumni also touched on their experiences in our program and how they learned to visually express their creativity through a new culture and landscape, one in which enhanced their knowledge of working with and in film beyond the scope of New York.

We hope to show more student films in the future so make sure to keep an eye out for another opportunity to learn more!

Bret (alum) speaking to the purpose behind his film

Bret (alum) speaking to the purpose behind his film

A view of our audience who were in attendance

A view of our audience who were in attendance

October 21, 2014
by Justine Drayton
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Shakespeare in Performance at RADA Information Session

 

Marcella (alum, center) explaining the bond between herself and other aspects of the RADA program

Marcella (alum, center) explaining the bond between herself and other aspects of the RADA program

Christopher (alum) recounting his experience while in the RADA program

Christopher (alum) recounting his experience while in the RADA program

Yesterday we had the enjoyment of hosting an information session for our Shakespeare in Performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) program along with Geoff Bullen, course supervisor and associate director of RADA, and some past alumni from the program. Geoff presented in-depth information about what the RADA program aims to teach its students as well as what students should be getting out of their experience during and after the program.

The alumni relayed their personal stories about the work they did while in the program and how that work helped them to appreciate the training they received to help them move forward in their careers. The alumni affirmed the value of playing characters that did not fit into the norm of American theater, such as female students playing the parts of traditionally male characters in Shakespeare’s Titus.

If you’re worried that you missed out on this session, have no fear, we will be hosting another one in March 2015!

Geoff Bullen (right center) giving us details about RADA

Geoff Bullen (right center) giving us details about RADA

From left to right: Kimberly (alum), Christopher (alum), Geoff Bullen, & Marcella (alum)

From left to right: Kimberly (alum), Christopher (alum), Geoff Bullen, & Marcella (alum)

A side view of our audience

A side view of our audience

 

October 17, 2014
by Alyssa Leal
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Open Arts: New Dance Courses For Spring 2015

Alan Watson's photo by Samantha L. Siegel

Alan Watson’s photo by Samantha L. Siegel

Registration for spring 2015 courses begins on November 17th and we’re excited to share some new courses with you! Students who are interested in the Minor in Dance, can add these courses to their list of options.

OART-UT 808 Steps, Rhythm, and Movement: Hip-Hop Dance will introduce students to the wide array of dance styles that have shaped contemporary Hip-Hop today. Along with steps, students will explore it’s history, emerging trends and the globalized nature of Hip-Hop. Read Alan Watson’s Bio and check out this short video about the course.

OART-UT 807 Steps, Rhythm, and Movement: Flamenco Dance will help students explore the dances that make up the hybrid form of Flamenco i.e., Banjara Gypsy Dance of Rajesthan (India), Zambra Dances of the Sephardic Jews and Moorish influences. Students will also have readings, research and practice projects. Read all about Najma Harissiadis in her bio.

OART-UT 703 Why Dance Matters investigates the various social, political, and historical contexts that have contributed to the evolution of dance, and how performers and choreographers have utilized the medium of dance to reflect their personal concerns back to society in powerful ways. Some of the topics to be explored will include: the impact of the Industrial Revolution on ballet; sexual manipulation in the roles of Nijinsky; and the political work of early modern dancers. Learn more about instructor, Patricia Beaman, in her bio.

Full course descriptions are available on Albert.

See the full list of Open Arts courses available this spring on our website.

October 17, 2014
by Justine Drayton
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Television Production with the BBC Information Session

From left to right: Yonatan (alum), Jane Elsdon Dew, Jenny (alum), & Alana (alum)

From left to right: Yonatan (alum), Jane Elsdon Dew, Jenny (alum), & Alana (alum)

Yesterday we had the pleasure of hosting an information session for our Television Production with the BBC program in collaboration with Jane Elsdon Dew, course supervisor and trainer for the BBC Production Academy, and past alumni from the program. Jane engaged prospective students with her account of her career in television production and the BBC training offered to students in the fall and spring program.

The alumni shared personal stories about their attachments and their experiences working with individuals who have been with the BBC from the onset of their careers. The alumni from the program expressed the connection they felt to their professors, the valuable lessons they learned along the way, and how they were given opportunities they never would have been exposed to in the U.S.

If you couldn’t make it to this session don’t worry! We will host another one in March 2015!

The alumni listening intently as Jane Elsdon Dew (standing center) provides in-depth details about the program

The alumni listening intently as Jane Elsdon Dew (standing center) provides in-depth details about the program

A glimpse of the attendees and our guest speakers

A glimpse of the attendees and our guest speakers

One of our alumni, Jenny (center), relaying her experiences in the program with the audience

One of our alumni, Jenny (center), relaying her experiences in the program with the audience

October 15, 2014
by Mariangela Lardaro
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A Class Visit with Matthew Robbins

Course instructor Brane Zivkovic with Matthew Robbins.

Course instructor Brane Zivkovic with Matthew Robbins.

Students in the Open Arts course Portrait of an Artist: Walter Murch were recently treated to a class visit and discussion with writer and director Matthew Robbins. Matthew is known for his work on films such as Mimic, The Sugarland Express, and *batteries not included.

Matthew left the students with one piece of advice regarding filmmaking. He said, “Stick to your gut and go for it.”

October 6, 2014
by Mariangela Lardaro
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Greetings from Wood Norton

Left to right back row: Ishan Seth, Graham Raubvogel, Collin Hutsell, Avery Ksander-Turner Left to right front row: Sarah Sommers,  Liv Senghor, Claire Mordowanec, Mirsada Abdool-Ramen

Left to right back row:
Ishan Seth, Graham Raubvogel, Collin Hutsell, Avery Ksander-Turner
Left to right front row:
Sarah Sommers, Liv Senghor, Claire Mordowanec, Mirsada Abdool-Ramen

Students in this semester’s Television Production with the BBC program in London took a minute to pose for this group shot while at the BBC’s Wood Norton site in Worcestershire. Students were there for their intensive multi-camera directing course in which they were able to direct in a three-camera studio crewed by professional camera operators, vision mixers, lighting and sound engineers.

Want to learn more about this program, RSVP for the BBC Information Session being held on Thursday, October 16 at 6pm.

September 30, 2014
by Mariangela Lardaro
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Five Questions for a Fall Semester at Tisch Student

Doug Gleicher left New York City for St. Louis but his passion for music brought him back. He is spending his fall semester taking classes in the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music through the Semester at Tisch Program. Here’s a little more about Doug:

Why did you want to study away for a semester?
I grew up in New York City and obviously feel a strong connection to it. When I moved to St. Louis to attend Washington University, I didn’t know exactly what my passion was. Now that I know it is music and entertainment, leaving St. Louis to study in one of the epicenters of the music industry seemed like a no-brainer.

Your major at Washington University is Comparative Literature. Why recorded music at Tisch?
I major in Comparative Arts at Wash. U. because I love writing and foreign language. The music majors at Wash. U. are focused heavily on classical music, but my focus is contemporary and popular music: Hip-Hop, Pop, R&B, Reggae, etc. The Wash. U. music department is great, but for what I’m interested in, making the move to ReMu at Tisch and studying exactly what I’m passionate about was an easy decision.

Photo courtesy of Doug Gleicher.

Photo courtesy of Doug Gleicher.

Please tell us about some of the courses you’re taking at Tisch.
Right now I’m taking a lot of in-studio courses, which is amazing. I’m learning how to mix, engineer, and record at the highest level. I’m also taking voice lessons and a music business course, and I’m starting a course on women as entrepreneurs at the end of October. Not to mention working in A&R at Columbia Records – which I got connected to through ReMu.

Photo courtesy of Doug Gleicher.

Photo courtesy of Doug Gleicher.

What are you most looking forward to this semester?
I’m most looking forward to being fully immersed in music and music business. It still seems surreal to me that I’m being graded on things I would be doing on my own time anyway. There’s always something going on in the city as well, so I try to go to at least three shows a week – a luxury that you won’t find in many other places.

A number of students who participate in the Semester at Tisch program have never been to New York City prior to entering the program. What’s a must to see and do in New York City?
A must see and do in the city… That’s tough. There’s so much to do. I’m sure everyone says see a Broadway play but I’d say just experience the culture of as many parts of the city as possible. Don’t rush to make it to Times Square either. There are so many great things to see and do so I also wouldn’t stress over trying to do everything. Go try a restaurant in a new neighborhood as often as you can, and try to get to a few concerts. Also just go out one night and see where you end up.

Applications for the Spring Semester at Tisch Program are being accepted on a rolling basis. Apply now!

You can follow Doug on Instagram @dougieson.

August 22, 2014
by Mariangela Lardaro
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Adrián Fernández on Cuba and Photography

Adrián Fernández will be a visiting scholar at Tisch this fall. He teaches Photography: On Location in Havana in the spring semester. In this interview, Adrián shares his creative process and what students should expect from the semester in Cuba.

What drives your creative vision as a photographer?
I pursue images that bring questioning to an audience, that are suggestive further than visual experience only. My photographs are means of dialogue with a certain context, object, aesthetic or concept. Studio photography has brought great opportunities for several of my series as I can control every detail about the final image. In my case that’s important, I like to create an image, to build it from the ground up, leaving few spaces to causality. I plan myself before I photograph; I sketch and write about some of my ideas and how can they be produce, afterwords the image is a result of all the previous work. I get inspired by films, advertising photography, art history in general but above all things I get inspired by things that happen in the everyday life, and most accurately, by Cuba. I find my roots to be deeply adhere to my country and most of my inspiration comes from there, although my photographs at some point don’t have a sign that says MADE IN CUBA, by the contrary. When photographing I aim for wider meanings and ideas that can exist within the image and that enables its life once it’s out there far from its original context and from the artist that produced it. A good photograph has enough autonomy to have a life of her own.

Do you have a particular style of photography?
Every project I undertake demands its own way of photographing. I always look for the most effective way of photographing for each series, that, not necessarily needs to look similar than the previous one. Each series has to offer me a new challenge somehow, otherwise it is to boring if I end up using the same method I used last time. Each series has a time of research in which I define every aspect about the image. Once I settle that, then comes the production moment, when I exploit the entire workflow getting results and accumulating enough work to edit afterword. When I feel I’m repeating myself with the same formula, then that’s the moments I stop and move on with something else.

22940026Cuba is certainly a unique place. What makes it unique from an artist’s perspective?
I agree, is definitely a unique place!!! From my perspective it’s the mixture of cultures, races, tradition, language and idiosyncrasy what makes it so rich and open. I’m not talking about blue beaches and palm trees and old American cars in the streets of Old Havana. That’s definitely a part, which those of you who decide to come to Cuba will see, enjoy and get tired of too. I’m talking about the people, about how they drive themselves, about how Cuban society works on a daily basis. I’m talking about walking a lot and seeing and experiencing first hand. It’s a complex context that escapes a tourist’s shallow eyes, but when observing closer, a much deeper Cuba reveals.

What do you hope students in the Tisch Cuba program capture with their lens?
What I always request of my students as our program begins in Havana is that they get rid of every previous assumption of how they thought Cuba and Havana would be like (because it’s not). They must be open minded and be willing to immerse into Havana’s daily life, meeting
persons in the street, going to shows, fairs, taking the buses etc…all of that will give them a firsthand experience that nobody can change or interfere with. Then, their photographic work has to be a result of that experience and their thoughts about it.

What will students take away from spending a semester in Cuba?
Each of them will have a different experience by the time the programs ends.  Regardless of their personal feelings by the time of their departure (some of them will love to stay 3 more months, others not so much), to have been in Havana, Cuba for three months it’s today an invaluable opportunity as they are accessing a much discussed and criticized country to which (yet) not so many students (Americans) access, so it preserves the unknown’s exotic patina. They’ll acquire extended knowledge in Cuban arts and culture as well as society all through the hands of field professional of the art from the Ludwig Foundation and Havana University which will be your main host institutions from the Cuban side.

Photographer Adrián Fernández studied at the Superior Institute of Art and at the San Alejandro Academy of Fine Arts. His solo work has been exhibited in Cuba and the United States, including the Houston Center for Photography in Houston, Texas, and the Center for the Development of Visual Arts and the Juan David Gallery at the Yara Movie Theatre Cultural Center, both in Havana, Cuba.
Read his full bio and visit his website.

The application deadline for the spring 2015 program Photography on Location: Havana is October 1. Learn more and apply.

 

August 19, 2014
by Mariangela Lardaro
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Faculty Firsts

We each have a story, especially about our first job.  Sometimes our first professional opportunity fuels our passion and launches our career, and sometimes it terrifies us or others.

Below is an excerpt from our upcoming newsletter article “Faculty Firsts”. We asked Tisch Open Arts faculty how they started in their particular craft and what their first “real” job in their industry was. This is what Angela Pietropinto, director of the Open Arts studio, had to say:

Looking back, I feel that I was blessed to have been born and raised in Greenwich Village. Years ago, the Village was teeming with artists, not just stars. The first theatrical production that I saw was The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O’Neill starring Jason Robards. It was playing at the famed off-Broadway theater Circle in the Square located at Sheridan Square which I could see from my bedroom window. Like so many small theaters, it has been replaced by luxury apartment buildings.

Angela Pietropinto's copy of the TV Guide which listed the PBS special The Miraculous Mummer. In those days, Angela went by Angela Peters.

Angela Pietropinto’s copy of the TV Guide which listed the PBS special The Miraculous Mummer. In those days, Angela went by Angela Peters.

When it came time to choose a college, I chose NYU’s Washington Square College of Arts and Science partly because I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. I was an English major with a Drama minor. In those days, there was no Tisch but NYU had an excellent drama department in the School of Education and that is where I spent most of my time doing plays. It was through my association with NYU that I was given the opportunity to have my first professional experience in a Christmas special which was filmed in St. John the Divine Church and aired on PBS. It was a dance-drama entitled The Miraculous Mummer. With a mixture of pride and horror, my parents watched me come up from a massive pulpit as Satan denouncing the new born babe. And thus began my love affair with theater.

I subsequently went on to get my MFA in Acting at the new-found Tisch School of the Arts in their Graduate Acting Department. Thanks to the training that I received there, I have enjoyed a long career in theater, film and television. This fall I will be working on a new HBO mini-series as well as teaching Tisch Open Arts courses. Although I have performed on five continents, I have never gotten out of the Village or NYU.

–Angela Pietropinto

Angela Pietropinto teaches Acting for Stage and Screen in Semester at Tisch every spring semester. She also teaches Acting I and Comic Relief in Tisch Open Arts every fall semester.

Read more “faculty firsts” in the upcoming Tisch Special Programs newsletter.