Go to navigation

Vassar College and New York Stage and Film Present Powerhouse Theater


Powerhouse Theater Training Program now accepting 2014 applications through April 16

When they were still aspiring young artists Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar, TV star Josh Radnor, and Tony Award-nominated actress Melissa Erico each spent a transformative summer in the Powerhouse Theater Training Program. Now in its thirtieth year, the renowned annual program at Vassar College will run from June 20-July 27, 2014 and is currently accepting applications. Participants choose a curriculum focused on acting, playwriting, or directing, and together form an Apprentice Company that performs works for the public. The program is available to rising high school seniors through college-age students, as part of the prestigious Powerhouse Theater collaboration between Vassar and New York Stage and Film.

Completed applications are due by April 16 including required recommendations and a personal statement submitted online. Applicants seeking financial aid must submit their entire application by March 1. Program fee, room, and board (including daily breakfast and dinner) costs $5000, and an $85 application fee must be submitted with the completed online form (http://powerhouse.vassar.edu/apprentices/).

Participants in the Powerhouse Theater Training Program have included Akhtar (“Disgraced”, winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama); Radnor (“How I Met Your Mother”); Erico (“Amour”, Tony nominee for Leading Actress); screenwriter Edward Ricourt ("Now You See Me"); stage and screen actresses Emily Donahoe, Catherine Kellner, and Kate MacCluggage; Voice and Vision theater company co-founders Marya Mazor and Jean Wagner; and Jordan Roth, president of Jujamcyn Theaters (which owns five Broadway theaters).

All acting apprentices are cast in one of three outdoor productions of adapted and abridged texts, which are attended by the public. Recent performances have included the works of Shakespeare, Chekhov, and Euripides, all presented under the direction of professional directors and writers at Vassar’s majestic outdoor amphitheater or at the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve. In addition, acting apprentices work alongside innovative theater artists to create performances in unconventional campus spaces such as Vassar’s museum, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. Directors and writers are part of the rehearsal process of the different professional projects taking place on campus. They also write and direct new work that is performed by members of the apprentice company.

The apprentices also gain invaluable experience within the framework of the larger Powerhouse Theater summer community on campus. Through Vassar’s collaboration with New York Stage and Film, apprentices have the opportunity to work in various capacities alongside some of the country’s leading theater talents.  In past years this has included such well-known and emerging theater artists as John Patrick Shanley, Duncan Sheik, Sarah Ruhl, Tomi Tsunoda, Erik Ehn, Deborah Asiimwe, Davis McCallum, and Emily Mendelsohn.

Application Process 

Depending upon their special interest in acting, playwriting, or directing, an applicant will also need to submit supplementary materials by April 16 through the U.S. mail or e-mail. For example, aspiring playwrights need to submit a writing sample, directors need to submit a play analysis, and actors must submit a video online in which they perform two contrasting monologues. Interested applicants should call the Powerhouse administrative office at (845) 437-5907for more information about the details of their application.

Very limited financial aid is available to Powerhouse apprentices, strictly to meet an applicant’s demonstrated financial need.  Those seeking financial aid must submit their complete application materials March 1. Further details on this and all of the program’s other background information should be reviewed online at http://powerhouse.vassar.edu/apprentices/. Applicants may also contact Education Director Tom Pacio for more information at (845) 437-5907 or thpacio@vassar.edu.

Now in its thirtieth season, the Powerhouse Theater Program is a unique collaboration between a leading liberal arts college (Vassar) and an established professional theater company (New York Stage and Film). Powerhouse is nationally renowned for its dedication to new theater works, through support for both emerging and established artists. Many of Powerhouse’s professional productions have gone on to appear on Broadway and off, and to win theater’s top honors -- including several Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Friday, January 31, 2014