Developing and producing new work in a post-covid world is challenging – to say the least.
More than ever, theater companies and writers need to be savvy and intentional both in their work and in their business models. We need to find a new path.
As an academic and as a commercial producer developing new work, for years I saw the potential for universities to step into the void left behind when non-profit theaters began to feel the financial pinch. The spaces available to our students at SUNY Stony Brook made my commercial producer friends jealous – at least until the theater arts major itself was killed off.
But the lesson was learned – by providing universities with opportunities that benefit their students, new work could be given room to grow on a college campus, to the benefit of both students and creative teams.
A few years ago my college friend Kevin Halpin, now Chair of the Performing Arts Department at SUNY Cortland, asked me, as another SUNY professor, to review his new BFA in Musical Theatre. I was happy to come up and take a look. After sitting in on classes and talking to the faculty and students, I realized he had created an amazing department to develop new actors, singers and dancers. The training was thoroughly professional, and the facilities were breathtaking.
I also knew that as working actors, his students would need to learn how to develop new work and needed opportunities to do so.
The Professional College Musical Theatre Partnership
I am thrilled to announce that CREATETHEATER and SUNY CORTLAND PERFORMING ARTS have just formed the new Professional College Musical Theatre Partnership to develop new musicals in their B.F.A. in Musical Theatre program.
The new CreateTheater/SUNY Cortland partnership will begin accepting submissions of new musicals from now until July 17th, 2022.
This new program will produce one staged reading each year, with submissions managed by CreateTheater and the final project selected by the college faculty. The program is seeking new musicals in development with no previous production history, centered around young people’s voices and perspectives on current issues.
This is hopefully the first of many years of creative collaboration between the nonprofit professional training programs on campuses and the commercial theater world . With commitments such as this one, the professional theater and the academic world together are finding new ways to develop, promote and produce new work in the 21st century.