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BWW Exclusive: National Theater Institute - 'This Place Starts Lives'

BWW Exclusive: National Theater Institute - 'This Place Starts Lives'
NTI and NMTI fall 2014 ensemble before the Company Debut
of their devised theater piece AMERICAN MYTH.

The National Theater Institute prepares young artists for today's theatrical landscape unlike any other undergraduate training in the world. This week Risk Again! excerpts letters written by the fall 2014 ensemble.

After 14 weeks and 16 blog posts, you should hear it from them:

"This place changes lives. No, sorry. This place starts lives. I came in with desire, a moderate amount of talent, and zero confidence. I leave with everything I need to start a professional life with a competitive edge."

"I feel extremely privileged to be taught by the professionals who come to the O'Neill. Every day we were exposed to new experiences, perspectives, and skills from teachers right off the train from New York. I always knew I was being taught something important and receiving the best of the best from real professionals in the real world. I soaked up everything I heard and tried to apply it to my work. I am proud of everything I created this semester because NTI taught me that if you keep risking, you will create something that is full of passion and truth."

"NTI taught me how to collaborate, that my boundaries are farther than I thought, and that there's nothing that can stop the creation of art. I'm leaving with so many friends, collaborators, mentors, contacts, experiences, training, and, most importantly, confidence. It taught me that I am capable of so much more than I originally thought. I can be a playwright, actor, singer, dancer, poet, teacher, and designer. There are no bounds. I loved it. I can't wait to share my experiences and knowledge with every other artist I encounter for the rest of my life. The routine really worked for me and I appreciated the packed schedule. [...] Theater labs were incredible, seeing shows was amazing, and Playwrights and Librettists Week was perfection. "

"My work ethic is forever changed because of NTI. There are a thousand more secret hours in the day that no one ever talks about. The program also reaffirmed my notion that I wrote about in my application essay which is: "I want to do it all." Having the opportunity to direct, act, playwrite, etc. in the same place made me realize how passionate I am about all of the 'things.' Leaving NTI, I have a core group of people who I am going to continue to collaborate with."

"This experience has been larger than life for me. It has been all-consuming and all-encompassing and I have put so much of myself into the experience. [...] NTI taught me how to trust myself. I learned that I have value as a theater artist and as a human being. Before I came, I was full of doubt and anxiety. I knew that I loved theater but I did not know what to do with that love. NTI taught me how to channel that love and passion for theater into the creation of meaningful, moving art. Before NTI, I didn't realize that theater was art or that I could call myself an artist. But now I know that I can. The people I have met here will stay with me forever. I have learned how to connect with my peers professionally and personally and have given and received so much love, knowledge, and experience. NTI was the best thing that I could have done at this point in my life and I am so grateful that I was able to come here. "

"Working with all of the incredible teachers and visiting artists at NTI has been an irreplaceable experience for me. Being exposed to so many different forms and techniques was one of the most beneficial experiences I had at NTI. The amount expected of students is incredibly challenging, but just on the edge of impossible."

Next week: Year in Review with the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.

To learn more and apply, visit and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@NTIRiskFailRisk). The application deadline for summer and fall programs is March 20. Early applications are encouraged!

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