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Juilliard Receives $10 Million to Endow Masters Program in Drama

The Juilliard School today announced a $10 million gift that completes the endowment of the School's new four-year masters-level graduate program in Drama. The gift supports increased instructional costs and new faculty, and provides full scholarships plus stipends for actors in their final and fourth year of the master of fine arts program in Drama. Juilliard's Board Chairman and his wife, Bruce and Suzie Kovner initiated a matching challenge grant of up to $5 million to endow Juilliard Drama's MFA program, with donors John A. and Carole Moran and The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust completing that challenge.

Juilliard President Joseph W. Polisi acknowledged the donors' generosity and foresight by saying, "We are deeply grateful for the support and vision of the Kovners, the Morans, and the Steinberg Trust members. These gifts will ensure that Juilliard's new MFA program will be able to support adequately the talented young artists who will participate in this degree program in the time ahead."

MFA actors will be eligible to receive designated Louise Chisholm Moran Drama Scholarships (named for John Moran's mother) throughout their first three graduate years of advanced work in Juilliard Drama, and in their fourth year will be designaTed Steinberg Fellows. Other donors to Juilliard's MFA in Drama include Margot Adams, Barbara G. Fleischman, the Philip & Janice Levin Foundation, and Linda R. Emory.

A graduate seminar track runs through the curriculum for all four years, encompassing a variety of topics including production, directing, playwriting, pedagogy, and current trends in American and World Theater. The fourth educational year is dedicated to performance and multiple transitional opportunities that create a bridge to the profession. Called the Professional Studio, this aspect of the program affords an outstanding opportunity to link directly to the profession, with access to New York City's vibrant theater community, including work at The Pershing Square Signature Center. Students interact with seasoned members of the New York theater in rehearsals, and when participating in professional classes and workshops that explore practical aspects of casting, auditioning, on-camera work, and more. James Houghton, Juilliard's Richard Rodgers Director of the Drama Division, also is Founding Director of Signature Theatre.

Eight actors comprise the first group (Group 45) of master of fine arts students currently studying at Juilliard. Eight to ten actors will be accepted into the highly-competitive Drama MFA program annually, via auditions and an intensive call-back weekend. Juilliard is midway through that audition process for next season's entering class. Applications for auditions are accepted each year between September 1 and December 1.

The Drama Division at The Juilliard School is one of the most respected conservatory programs for theater artists worldwide. The Division's creative reputation, distinguished faculty, and extraordinary level of rigorous professional training have enabled 40+ years of alumni to excel as artists, leaders, and global citizens. Founded in 1968 by renowned American director, producer, and theater administrator John Houseman and French director, teacher, and actor Michel Saint-Denis, the program emphasizes intuition and spontaneity as well as discipline, technique, and intellectual development. The Drama Division has continually expanded and revised its programs, responding to and anticipating the needs of the contemporary theater artist. Some of the significant additions, among others, have included expanded faculty and curriculum, additional performance opportunities, and the addition of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program, as well as Master of Fine Arts Program in Acting that is inaugurated this season. Their acting and playwriting alumni have distinguished themselves in all areas of the arts including theater, film, and television. For more information on Juilliard visit

Photo from production of Steven Dietz's TRUST.

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