Eugene O'Neill Theater Center Announces Rachel Jett as Interim Artistic Director of the NTI


The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center announced today that Rachel Jett will take the reins of its undergraduate training program, the National Theater Institute (NTI) effective January 1, 2012, replacing Jeff Janisheski, who has led the program as Artistic Director since summer 2008. A national search for a permanent replacement will be conducted in spring 2012, to be completed in early summer.

As Interim Artistic Director, Ms. Jett will provide oversight and vision for the program, teach in the core curriculum, and represent the program both locally and nationally. She has served as a core instructor in movement since 1998 and is also an alumna of the program. Ms. Jett holds a MFA from New York University in Musical Theater Writing, and trained in Russia for more than a year learning a new movement language based on acrobatics, modern dance, and ensemble techniques.

Rachel Jett remarked, "NTI means the world to me. I am thrilled and honored to be returning to the O'Neill team as the Interim Artistic Director. The O'Neill is the most fertile theatrical learning ground in the country as well as a beloved artistic home. I can't wait to get to work!"

Jeff Janisheski, who has led NTI since August of 2008, will take a position in 2012 as Head of the Acting Program at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (Australia), where Judy Davis, Mel Gibson, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and others studied. Mr. Janisheski said about the appointment of Ms. Jett, "I am overjoyed that Rachel Jett is taking over as Interim Director of NTI. Having worked with her since 2008 I know how rigorous, dedicated and passionate she is about the training of young artists. She brings a range of experience to NTI - from her training in Russia to her talent as a playwright - and is an inspirational teacher. I know NTI will continue to thrive under her leadership."

Preston Whiteway, Executive Director, added, "Rachel brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the NTI rigor and ethos, and I am delighted to welcome her here in a new role. Rachel's energy and passion have inspired hundreds of students at NTI, and she will be an excellent leader for the program. I thank Jeff for his three years of leadership, which saw remarkable growth in enrollments and programs, including the launch of the Advanced Playwriting curriculum. I wish him well in his exciting new position."

Founded in 1970, the National Theater Institute is a prestigious and unique program in theatrical education. It is a one semester, study-away program that draws undergraduates from across the country for an intensive and immersive 14-week program in theater. With credits issued by Connecticut College, NTI gives its students a broad based education in Acting, Directing, Design, Movement and Voice, and Playwriting. Students additionally travel abroad for two weeks to study with professionals at academies in either Stratford-upon-Avon or St. Petersburg. NTI also administers the Moscow Art Theater School Semester (MATS), which sends a separate group of American undergraduates to the Moscow Art Theater to learn from Russian masters. Other NTI programs include Theatermakers - the credit earning, six-week summer intensive, and semesters in Advanced Directing and Advanced Playwriting.

Past directors of NTI have included Lloyd Richards, Lynn Britt, Richard Digby Day, David Jaffe, Michael Cadman, and Jeff Janisheski. Students graduating from NTI have included: Jennifer Garner; John Krasinski (The Office); Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother); Jeremy Piven (Entourage); Lynne Meadow (Artistic Director, Manhattan Theater Club); and Susan Booth (Artistic Director, ALLIANCE THEATRE).

Founded in 1964, The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center honors the work of Eugene O'Neill, four-time Pulitzer Prize Winner and America's only playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, and is the recipient of two Tony Awards, in 2010 for Regional Theatre, and in 1979 for Theatrical Excellence.

The O'Neill is the country's preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for American theater. It has been home to more than 1,000 new works for the stage and to more than 2,500 emerging artists. Scores of projects developed at the O'Neill have gone on to full production at other theaters around the world, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, and major regional theaters.

O'Neill programs include the National Playwrights Conference, National Music Theater Conference, National Critics Institute, National Puppetry Conference, Cabaret & Performance Conference, and National Theater Institute which conducts semester-long intensive theater training and includes Theatermakers, a six-week summer program; academic credits are awarded for all NTI programs.

In addition, the O'Neill owns and operates the Monte Cristo Cottage as a museum open to the public. Childhood summer home of Eugene O'Neill, the Cottage is a National Historic Landmark.

It addition to its Tony recognition, the O'Neill has received the National Opera Award, the Jujamcyn Award for Theatre Excellence, and the Arts and Business Council Encore Award. For more information, visit or email

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