Every year, students from Adelphi's Department of Theatre spend part of the summer getting a look at how professional productions are made and helping develop shows.
Every year, students from Adelphi’s Department of Theatre spend part of the summer getting an up-close look at how professional productions are made and helping develop shows that may one day appear on city stages.
This June, Adelphi played host for the seventh consecutive summer to New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW), the East Village-based institution known for its award-winning productions, as well as for granting fellowships to playwrights and directors who are in the process of creating new works.
The two-week residency brings fellowship winners and other artists to campus to work on their new projects with a select group of Adelphi students and recent graduates. Seven were chosen to participate this summer—Jacob Meyers ’18, Isuri Wijesundara ’18, juniors Joanna Georghiou and Gregory Carey, seniors Belgys Felix and Jessica Conklin, and Christine D’Alcamo ’18. All helped the NYTW artists with tasks both creative and mundane.
“I got binders ready—I got things organized,” said Meyers, who earned his bachelor’s degree in fine arts in acting from Adelphi in May. “But I also transcribed music, which I hadn’t done before. It needed to be done, and I have perfect pitch, so I stepped up and gave it a try.”
Meyers, 22, said this was his first NYTW residency, and he hopes it’s an early stepping-stone for him as he pursues his ultimate goal of supporting himself entirely through work in theater. But he realizes this is a long-term goal.
A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Meyers said his short-term goal is to be “cast in something this year.” The residency at Adelphi helped him learn new skills, meet and network with those already in the industry, and make it easier to envision his own career by placing him in the midst of real shows in development.
The residency, said NYTW’s Rachel Silverman, gives directors, playwrights and composers much-needed time to create and test out ideas away from the crowded and noisy spaces of New York City. There’s a sense of peace and quiet at Adelphi, she said, that is conducive to getting a lot of creative work done in a relatively short amount of time.
“It’s a real luxury to have concentrated space to work on multiple projects at one time. It’s valuable to go away with a group of artists and get to know each other, build relationships and be supportive,” Silverman said. “What makes it really special is the magnificent performing arts spaces at Adelphi and generous and thoughtful support we receive from the University.”
Silverman said the residency involves morning and afternoon sessions, with the Adelphi students performing different tasks depending on who they are paired with.
NYTW’s productions have received a Pulitzer Prize and 17 Tony Awards, as well as Obie, Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel awards. The group works with more than 1,800 artists annually and has developed hundreds of productions, including RENT, written by Adelphi alumnus Jonathan Larson ’82, Doug Wright’s Quills and Martha Clarke’s Vienna: Lusthaus. Emerging directors, playwrights, actors, dramaturges and more have gained success through NYTW’s Artist Workshop activities, residency programs and fellowships.
A number of the artists in residence at Adelphi this summer are NYTW 2050 Artistic Fellows. The name of the fellowship, Silverman said, refers to a projection by the U.S. Census Bureau that, by the year 2050, there will be no single racial or ethnic majority in the United States. The artists who receive these fellowships come from backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented in the theater.
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