URTA on the Map – Brooklyn College, CUNY


URTA on the Map – Brooklyn College, CUNY

Who: Mary Beth Easley
School: Brooklyn College, CUNY
City:Brooklyn, New York

What unique qualities do you think candidates would find in your program?

As noted on our webpage, Brooklyn College is a microcosm of the ethnically rich borough of Brooklyn it serves, and a mirror of the wide diversity in New York City itself. Our student body comprises individuals from 143 countries, speaking 100 different languages. That is one of the most exciting aspects of being on our Campus. As for our Department, we have recently received funding from the Tow foundation to support a partnership with the Public Theater, which is amazing. This partnership incudes: Master classes with artists working at the Public; on-campus residencies by artists working at the Public; and the Weasel Festival, an annual summer festival of new plays from students of Brooklyn College’s esteemed Playwriting Program, which will now be produced by our department at the Public Theater. I can’t think of another public program in the country that offers such access to artists who are in the vanguard of the new American Theater movement. In addition to this, our students will have the opportunity to work on developmental readings of plays in progress and the premieres of new plays from the MFA playwriting program through our ongoing collaboration that was initiated 7 years ago.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of working at Brooklyn College?

As a director, I have devoted my career to the development of new work; so having the opportunity to work with emerging playwrights on the production of their work is incredibly rewarding. As an educator, I am blessed every day to have the opportunity to help students develop their craft, stretch their instruments and imagination, and give themselves over to the transformative power of dramatic story-telling. And our students are really hungry for knowledge about the different aspects of this art form. They are smart, engaged, hardworking and truly gifted. I derive great joy from watching them blossom.

Where is your favorite place to eat lunch or grab coffee near campus?

Most mornings, if I don’t have time to brew an espresso at home, I head to Starbucks for a latte, iced or hot depending on the season. For other food offerings, I visit one of the many food trucks parked alongside Bedford Avenue in the middle of the campus; or I venture a few blocks away to Island Burger to get a soy patty with garlic mango sauce and some of the best French-fries in the city.

How does being in New York City benefit your students as part of your program?

The city is our classroom. Our students—across all theatrical disciplines—have access to some of the world’s best playwriting, acting, design, dramaturgy, and other cultural offerings in the visual and performing arts. There is simply no substitute for the diverse exposure to the arts that being in New York offers. Most of our professors are working professionals with broad and deep experience in theater (from experimental downtown work to regional theater to Broadway), television and film. So students benefit from the connections that their teachers have made during the development of their own careers. Brooklyn College itself is a quick subway ride on the Q train, to the Theater capitol of America. (And if the trains are running slowly, our actors can hone their craft by studying the endless variety of human behavior displayed on a jammed subway line.) We subsidize tickets for our students to see productions in Manhattan, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music , and at other venues where are faculty and alumni are working. Our department regularly receives group ticket offers to previews of Broadway and Off Broadway productions.

Posted by URTA  Posted on 04 Oct 
  • Brooklyn College, CUNY, drama, graduate drama, graduate school, MFA training, The URTAs, theater school, Theatre, theatre training, urta, URTA on the Map
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