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SB Southampton Offers New MFA in Theatre

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Nick Mangano

Stony Brook University’s Master of Fine Arts in Theatre may be new, but it has impressive bloodlines thanks to two existing programs at the University’s Southampton campus.

The new program grew out of the MFA in Writing and Literature and the annual Southampton Writers Conference, which have long attracted award-winning playwrights, actors and directors to the expanding graduate arts campus. Teachers and students in those programs have produced works that found their way to Broadway, Off-Broadway and Lincoln Center.

The new MFA in Theatre adds to that tradition with tracks in playwriting, directing, dramaturgy and film. Students will have the opportunity to study with internationally acclaimed artists in an interdisciplinary, collaborative environment. The program provides advanced training for experienced artists who wish to hone and expand existing skills. The three-year program includes a core curriculum, a specialization (track), lab projects, a culminating MFA performance project, MFA written thesis and a professional internship.

“We are building a world-class graduate arts campus at Stony Brook Southampton,” said Robert Reeves, professor and associate provost of the Stony Brook Southampton Arts Campus, “and this new program represents important progress toward that goal. This is exciting news for Stony Brook University, for the Southampton campus and for the East End community.”

The MFA in Theatre is directed by professional actor, director and educator Nick Mangano, working with a team that includes screenwriter, producer and Emmy Award winning documentarian Annette Handley-Chandler; Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor co-founder Stephen Hamilton; four-time Emmy winning writer, director and producer Mitchell Kriegman; playwright and producer Bill Burford; and Manhattan track coordinator, producer, author and MFA alumna Magdalene Brandeis. Also serving on the MFA faculty is artist, author, playwright and screenwriter Jules Feiffer and award-winning playwrights Marsha Norman and Jon Robin Baitz.

The new graduate program began with successful summer workshops in playwriting, screenwriting, theatre directing and digital filmmaking and joins a vibrant Southampton arts community.

In July 2012 Southampton Arts Summer (the new name for the Southampton Writers Conference) will host the Michael Chekhov Association 2012 International Workshop and Festival, bringing to the Southampton campus more than 60 actors from around the world under the leadership of theatre and film actress Joanna Merlin, the last surviving actor to have studied with Chekhov himself.

In addition, Southampton Arts student and New York Times contributor Bob Morris is developing a new play in Manhattan that was written in the MFA in Writing and Literature program.

“With emphasis on new work, our program offers unparalleled opportunities for students to experiment while studying with the best theatre and film artists in the world,” said Nick Mangano. “I can’t think of another program where students can crossover between theatre and film disciplines, and also collaborate with poets, novelists, children’s book authors and visual artists to create and produce innovative work.”

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