Allison Bressi Awarded 2017 T. Fellowship from Columbia University School of the Arts
T. Fellowship, in association with Columbia University School of the Arts, announces the next T. Fellow is Allison Bressi, the sixth fellow in the one year program designed to educate and empower new creative producers. The fellow will receive a stipend of $10,000 with a $20,000 budget for the development of a new theatrical production, and will have access to courses in Columbia's MFA Theatre Management & Producing Program.
"Allison has experience Off Broadway and her project is unique, challenging, and by my standards extremely promising," said mentor and founder Harold Prince. "I'm eager to see how she handles it. It seems to me in keeping with the many young ideas that seem to be swirling about successfully on Broadway and elsewhere."
The T. Fellowship mentors are Harold Prince (Mentor and Founder), Margo Lion, Gregory Mosher, Tom Schumacher, Jeffrey Seller and David Stone. The program is managed by Columbia University School of the Arts.
Other advisors and staff for the T. Fellowship program include Director Orin Wolf (President of NETworks), Co-director Steven Chaikelson (Head of the MFA Theatre Management & Producing Concentration at the School of the Arts), Victoria Bailey (Executive Director, Theatre Development Fund), Assistant Director Laura Bennegadi, Ed Wilson (Co?Founder) and Allen Greenberg (Director of The Geraldine Stutz Trust).
The T. Fellowship was established to honor the legacy of Broadway producer T. Edward Hambleton by supporting and developing a new generation of gifted, emerging creative theatrical producers, who initiate work from the ground up, following a path all their own. When Geraldine Stutz first met T. Edward Hambleton, her instinct told her that a collaboration with him would be an exciting adventure in the world of theater. A few years later, the adventure became a reality when the Fellowship for Creative Producing was hatched in Geraldine's living room with T. himself, Hal Prince and Ed Wilson.
ALLISON BRESSI is a New York-based creative producer committed to making and developing new work in close partnership with playwrights. Recently, her world premiere production of Songbird by Michael Kimmel and Lauren Pritchard, starring Tony Award Nominee Kate Baldwin ran Off-Broadway and was a New York Times Critics' Pick. She is currently a producer on This is Reading, a site-specific, multimedia performance installation conceived by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, Tony Gerber, and Kate Whoriskey, which will premiere in Reading, Pennsylvania July 2017. Works in early development include an untitled clowning/jazz collaboration between Bill Irwin and Sammy Miller and the Congregation; Pearl by ReGina Taylor, developed with Jenny Koons; ChantBank, a social action movement created by Lisa Kron; and KareHouse, a new musical by Michael Kimmel and Libby Winters. Selected credits: Indigo Theatre Project's reading of Wendy Wasserstein's An American Daughter to benefit She Should Run, directed by Christine Lahti; The Strangest by Betty Shamieh, directed by May Adrales; and the Off-Broadway revival of One Flea Spare by Naomi Wallace. Allison is the Associate Artistic Director for Theatre for One under Scenic Designer & Artistic Director Christine Jones and works at Signature Theatre. She was the Assistant Company Manager for the Broadway Revival of On the Town and has worked with companies such as Ars Nova, Foresight Theatrical, NYMF, New York Stage and Film, and Roundabout Theatre Company. Allison is from Hudson, Ohio and graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor's Degree in English and Theatre.
ABOUT THE T. FELLOWSHIP
The goal of the Fellowship is to support the development of gifted emerging theatrical producers. The T. Fellowship is committed to sustaining the finest traditions of creative producing. Although the environment in which theatre is produced continues to change, the underlying principles that have historically shepherded great works of American theater continue to have validity today and must be understood and adapted if the art form is to thrive.
The T Fellowship is a project-based program that supports the development of the chosen fellow's project over the course of one year. Each fellow is given access to a selection of courses in the MFA Theatre Management & Producing Program at Columbia University School of the Arts. The specific courses are chosen in order to best support the fellow's growth. In addition, each fellow receives structured mentorship from the mentors and advisers who retain an "advise and consent" role in the process. Through these two support systems, the program aims to empower the fellows as they exercise freedom in all the creative and financial areas of development.
The T. Fellowship exposes the Fellows to the widest possible range of contemporary theatrical producing practices while providing opportunities to discuss the shifting role of the creative producer. The T. Fellowship will provide financial, legal, and production support for development of a project and a presentation. The philosophy is that which is good for the art form is good for business. The Fellowship emphasizes that the creative producer's role is to be the instigator, the collaborator, and the leader who gets art on the stage and to the public. The T. Fellowship neither wishes to turn back the clock to 1950 nor settle for the status quo. The T. Fellowship is looking to empower new producers to reinvent the wheel themselves, on their own terms, following their own tastes, in their own style.
Limiting selection to one or two candidates a year is fundamental to the program. The limitation on the number of Fellows allows for maximum attention to the individual goals and needs of the Fellows. In addition it insures that the Fellowship can maintain a high degree of selectivity. Selection is based on an application, essays, and interviews.
The T. Fellowship will be accepting new applications from January 16 to March 31, 2018. Final candidates will go through an interview process with the T. Fellowship committee. The Fellow will be announced over the summer and the program will begin in the fall of 2018.
The T Fellowship grew out of an idea that T. Edward Hambleton first had in the mid-1990s. He imagined a program that would help foster a new generation of creative theatrical producers who would stand apart from those who were strictly financiers. He worked with Harold Prince, the late Geraldine Stutz, Ed Wilson and the Theater Development Fund and the idea for the fellowship took shape.
The Founders believed the program would be best served under the umbrella of one of New York's top level educational institutions and approached Columbia University. The University, through Gregory Mosher at the Columbia Arts Initiative and Steven Chaikelson in the Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts, further developed the vision and structure for the fellowship and provides the Fellows access to the extraordinary academic and cross-disciplinary strengths that Columbia University offers.
Today, through the ongoing generous support of the Geraldine Stutz Trust and the Broadway League, a new fellow is selected annually.
MENTORS AND ADVISORS
The T. Fellowship is administered by the Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts. A Committee of Mentors and Advisors has been formed that includes the T. Fellowship Founders, the Head of the Columbia University MFA Theatre Management & Producing Program, working theater professionals, and members of the Columbia University faculty.
This Committee approves Fellow selection, rotation programs, project selection, and budgets. Mentors and Advisors make themselves available to the Fellows on a one?on?one basis; additionally, they are a resource to the broader Columbia student population through participation in seminars and panel discussions.
ABOUT T. Edward Hambleton
T. Edward Hambleton founded the Phoenix Theatre with Norris Houghton in 1953, making it an early force in the Off?Broadway movement. After 29 consecutive New York seasons and 164 productions as managing director, T. Edward continued the Phoenix commitment by presenting challenging new productions of high artistic quality and assisting emerging playwrights. During its long and distinguished history, the Phoenix presented new works by Robert Audrey, Frank Gilroy, Arthur Kopit, James Saunders, LaTouche and Moross while at the same time offering fresh productions of Shakespeare, Shaw, Pirandello, Brecht, O'Neill, Ionesco, Fry, O'Casey, Sherwood, Gorky, Marlowe, Kaufman and Hart, Sartre, Molière, Miller and Williams, under such directors as Tyrone Guthrie, John Houseman, Ellis Rabb, Gordon Davidson, Hal Prince and Gene Saks with actors including Helen Hayes, Irene Worth, Cynthia Harris, Meryl Streep, Eva Le Gallienne, Jimmy Stewart, Nancy Walker and Carol Burnett. After 1976, the Phoenix concentrated on new plays and the nurturing of new playwrights through its Commission Program. The fruits of these labors include Wendy Wasserstein's Uncommon Women and Others and Isn't It Romantic; David Berry's G. R. Point; Marsha Norman's Getting Out; Ron Hutchinson's Says I, Says He; Peter Handke's A Sorrow Beyond Dreams; and Mustapha Matura's Meetings. Hambleton served as a member of the Board of Directors of Center Stage in Baltimore, Maryland, and as a member of the Board of Governors of the League of American Theatres and Producers. He received a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre in 2000. In 2001, he was added to the Theatre Hall of Fame.
ABOUT THE THEATRE PROGRAM AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF THE ARTS
The MFA Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts is international, collaborative and interdisciplinary. Named in honor of Oscar Hammerstein II, it is defined by its location in New York City, a global capital of theatre, and by the extensive network of Columbia alumni and faculty who run prestigious Broadway, Off?Broadway and regional theatres; direct and perform in Tony and other award-winning production; work in every level of the professional theatre world; and teach, mentor and engage with students on an ongoing basis. The Theatre MFA programs in acting, directing, playwriting, dramaturgy, stage management, and theatre management & producing seek students who have the talent, vision, and commitment to become exceptional artists. At the School of the Arts, students acquire disciplines rooted deeply in the classics while branching out into new forms and exploring the cutting edge of theatrical art. The best theatre in every culture and in all eras has not only reflected its time but also shaped its society and often helped point it toward the future. The Theatre Program aims to train theatre artists to fulfill that important role in today's society. Among the program's leading faculty are Arnold Aronson, Anne Bogart, James Calleri, Steven Chaikelson, David Henry Hwang, Brian Kulick, Chuck Mee, Gregory Mosher, Lynn Nottage, Christian Parker, Michael Passaro and Andrei Serban. Visit arts.columbia.edu/theatre for more information.
ABOUT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF THE ARTS
Columbia University School of the Arts awards the Master of Fine Arts degree in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts and Writing and the Master of Arts degree in Film Studies; it also offers an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts. The School is a thriving, diverse community of talented, visionary and Committed Artists from around the world and a faculty comprised of acclaimed and internationally renowned artists, film and theatre directors, writers of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, playwrights, producers, critics and scholars. In 2015, the School marked the 50th Anniversary of its founding. In 2017, the School opened the Lenfest Center for the Arts, a multi-arts venue designed as a hub for the presentation and creation of art across disciplines on the University's new Manhattanville campus. The Lenfest hosts exhibitions, performances, screenings, symposia, readings, and lectures that present new, global voices and perspectives, as well as an exciting, publicly accessible home for Columbia's Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery. For more information, visit arts.columbia.edu.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos