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Covenant House Youth to Join Broadway Stars in CROSSING BRIDGES Play Festival This Weekend

The theatrical result of a unique international partnership between New York's Covenant House International and The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London will be showcased this month at the star-studded Crossing Bridges Play Festival in Manhattan. The event, which is being held at the HELEN MILLS Event Space and Theatre on Sunday 22 March 2015, has also been made possible thanks to a line-up of Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winners and nominees, all of whom have generously donated their time and talents to the project.

The New York based project was designed and led by Central alumna Cathy Englade, who graduated from the school with an MA in Applied Theatre in 2012. Ms Englade's vision of incorporating her background in Applied Theatre into her work at Covenant House has been realised through Crossing Bridges, of which she says:

"My goal is to give the youth the practical tools to 'cross the bridge' into a new space, laying aside the mantle of being homeless, broken, abused and abandoned. On a stage, in a script, they can choose a new narrative and tell the world who they are behind the homelessness."

With the assistance of two of Central's current undergraduate Drama, Applied Theatre and Education Students (sent to New York on a term-long placement), and drawing on Covenant House's vast network of celebrity supporters- perhaps best demonstrated through high-profile involvement in the charity's annual Sleep Out- the project was officially launched in February.

Following a successful audition process, Covenant House youth attend a series of mater classes in writing, directing, and acting for stage led by a truly impressive line-up of professional artist including Eric Briarley, David Henry Hwang, Elizabeth A. Davis, Marcus Gardley, Todd Pettiford, Mark Schneider and Danya Taymor. Four weeks intensive learning culminate in a 24-hour play festival, where the young people will work overnight and alongside professional performers including Brian Carson, Dionne Figgons, Dana Marie Ingraham and Anika Larsen to write, choreograph, direct, produce and perform in their own plays.

Tickets are free, although donations to Covenant House are encouraged and space is limited.

The Crossing Bridges Play Festival will take place at 7.00pm on Sunday 22 March, 2015 at HELEN MILLS, 137 West 26th Street, New York, NY, 10001. For tickets, visit eventbrite.com/event/14376836505/. Follow the project on Twitter at: @CBridgesProject

Full List of Artists Involved:

Master Classes:

2/15 Writing with David Henry Hwang Playwright & Librettist. Tony Winner, 3 Time Obie Winner, 2 Time Pulitzer Prize Nominee. M. Butterfly, Aida, Tarzan, Chinglish.
2/24 Acting with Eric Briarley Actor/Singer- National Tours: Les Miserables, My Fair Lady.
2/26 Acting with Elizabeth A. Davis Actress/Musician. Tony Nominee for ONCE, Caucasian Chalk Circle, Allegro, Of Mice & Men, Emily, The Cherry Orchard.
3/3 Writing with Marcus Gardley Playwright & Poet. Every Tongue Confess, On the Levee (at Lincoln Center), And Jesus Moonwalks, Dance of the Holy Ghost. Awards: The Helen Merrill Award, Kesselring Honor, Eugene O'Neill Scholarship Winner, ASCAP Cole Porter Award.
3/10 Directing with Danya Taymor Director in Residence at The Flea Theatre, My Daughter Keeps Our Hammer (NY Times Pick), Romeo & Juliet, The Honest Whore, Wymong. Affiliations- Ensemble Studio Theatre, Columbia University, Theatre for a New Audience, Time Warner Fellow at Women's Project, Lincoln Center,
3/12 Directing with Mark Schneider Associate Director: Annie, Billy Elliot, 13, The Norman Conquests, Boeing-Boeing.
3/17 Voice & Movement with: Todd Pettiford Rent,The Lion King, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Riverdance on Broadway.
Dana Marie Ingraham Motown, Spiderman: Turn off the Dark, The Color Purple, The Lion King.
Dionne Figgins Motown, Leap of Faith, Memphis, Hot Feet.

Additional Guest Artists Participating in the Play Festival:

Brian Carson Puppeteer/Singer - John Tartaglia's ImaginOcean, Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater, Sesame Street, Singer Credits: Julliard Choral at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Anika Larsen Actress/Singer-Beautiful-Tony Nomination, Rent, Xanadu, Avenue Q, All Shook Up.
Robb Nanus Producer-The Woodsman, I Am Harvey Milk, Debutante.

*Generous support for this project has also been received from Broadway Serves - www.broadwayserves.org.

About Covenant House - Covenant House was founded in 1972 with the simple, profound mission to help homeless kids escape the streets. Today it is the largest privately funded charity in the Americas providing loving care and vital services to homeless, abandoned, abused, trafficked, and exploited youth. Last year, Covenant House Street Outreach Teams and Residential and Community Service Center Programs cared for over 56,000 at-risk and homeless kids in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. For further information, visit: www.covenanthouse.org.

About The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama - The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama is a higher education conservatoire - a specialist college nurturing creative collaboration. Courses include acting, applied theatre, movement, musical theatre, drama & movement therapy, theatre & live performance, puppetry, scenography, actor & teacher training, voice, technical arts & production, and writing for stage & broadcast media. With over 60 academic staff, together with visiting artists and lecturers, Central has the largest grouping of drama/theatre/performance specialists in the UK, an active research culture and is a hub for the theatre and performance industries. Central is HEFCE's only designated Centre for Excellence in Training for Theatre. For further information, visit: www.cssd.ac.uk.

About The HELEN MILLS Event Space and Theatre - The HELEN MILLS Event Space and Theatre was established in 2005 by real estate entrepreneur and arts patron Helen Mills, who has a passion for creating beautiful spaces with the idea of bringing people together, whether in business, celebration or for the arts. Since its opening, HELEN MILLS has hosted countless events from Meetings and Conferences to Product Launches to Screenings to Fashion Shows and has gained a reputation for its commitment to excellence, outstanding service and uncompromising quality. From sophisticated intimate celebrations to elegant affairs, HELEN MILLS is dedicated to facilitating exceptional events. For further information, visit: www.helenmills.com.



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