O'Neill Center to Celebrate 25th Anniversary of Moscow Art Theater Semester

O'Neill Center to Celebrate 25th Anniversary of Moscow Art Theater Semester

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center celebrates the 25th anniversary of the National Theater Institute's Moscow Art Theater Semester (MATS).

A partnership with the Moscow Art Theater School, MATS provides a one-of-a-kind theatrical education to young artists by pairing conservatory rigor and cultural immersion. Every fall since 1991, American undergraduates have experienced a semester of intense training in acting and movement at the birthplace of modern drama. Founded by Konstantin Stanislavski, the Moscow Art Theatre is revered for it's training and credited with bringing the role of a theater directors, acting ensembles, and repertory companies into common practice and prominence.

The O'Neill's Moscow Art Theatre Semester, represents the longest continual cultural link between the United States and the Russian Federation. The program was praised by Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, as "a model for Russian-American cooperation in education and the arts." The O'Neill commemorates the milestone with celebrations in Moscow including an event December 13 at Spaso House hosted by John F. Tefft, the United States Ambassador to Russia. The evening, attended by dignitaries, prominent members of the U.S. and Russian theater communities, and alums of the program, will feature performances by current MATS students. Thirty-one students are studying in the Moscow Art Theatre Semester this fall from colleges and universities across the United States, including: Baldwin Wallace University, Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, Drake University, Duke University, Fordham University, Hamilton College, Hampshire College, Juniata College, Le Moyne College, Macalester College, Northwestern University, Oberlin College, Sarah Lawrence, Sarah Lawrence College, Seton Hall University, Skidmore College, Southern Methodist University, St. Olaf College, University of the Arts, Vassar College, Wellesley College, Winthrop University, and Wofford College. Academic credit for the MATS program is provided by Connecticut College, the National Theater Institute's school of record.

Alumni of the program include notable figures in theater, television, and film including:

Austin Smith - Ensemble member and understudy to Aaron Burr and George Washington in the original Broadway cast of Hamilton, lead role in Soho Rep's acclaimed production of An Octoroon.

Cazimir Liske - Actor, director, and musician regularly working in both the U.S. and Moscow.

Elizabeth Olsen - Award-winning film actress of Liberal Arts, Godzilla, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, and Martha Marcy May Marlene.

Etai Benson - Actor currently performing in the first national tour of American In Paris. Has appeared in Wicked and the world premiere of The Fortress of Solitude.

Kate MacCluggage - Actress currently appearing in The Knick on Cinemax, was seen on Broadway in The Farnsworth Invention.

Odin Biron - Russian television star on The Interns.

Paul Thureen - Founder and co-Artistic Director of The Debate Society, will be seen in this winter in The Light Years at Playwrights Horizons, actor on HBO's High Maintenance, writer for season three of Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle.

Rachel Jett - Artistic Director of the National Theater Institute

Van Hansis - Four-time Emmy-nominated actor, currently starring in The Eastsiders.

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, founded in 1964 in honor of Eugene O'Neill, four-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and America's only playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, the O'Neill is the country's preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for the American theater. The O'Neill has been home to more than 1,000 new works for the stage and thousands more 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, the Cabaret & Performance Conference, and National Theater Institute - which offers six credit-earning undergraduate training programs. In addition, the O'Neill owns and operates the Monte Cristo Cottage as a museum open to the public. The O'Neill is the recipient of the National Medal of Arts and two Tony Awards.

For more information, visit the O'Neill website, www.theoneill.org or email theaterlives@theoneill.org.

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