Institutional News

Off-Broadway Theatre Fellowship Launched

Bennington College is pleased to announce the launch of The Lucille Lortel Foundation Fellowships in Theatre, a pilot grant program offering paid internships in off-Broadway non-profit theatre companies for exceptional Bennington drama students.

A production of Midsummer Nights Dream at Bennington College

Made possible by a grant from the Lucille Lortel Foundation, the College has selected 12 inaugural fellows through a competitive application process to work in eight top off-Broadway theatres during the Field Work Term–the College’s required annual seven-week work experience, which takes place during January and February–to cultivate a deeper, more practical understanding of the theatre world. Each fellowship will provide support for a scholarship to underwrite work at a range of nonprofit off-Broadway theatres funded by the Lortel Foundation, inclusive of expenses related to housing, food, and transportation. In addition, the Foundation will help facilitate gratis tickets for students to attend off-Broadway performances.

“The Lortel Fellowships build upon Bennington’s rich legacy in the theatre arts and aligns with the College’s longstanding belief in experiential education by enabling talented drama students to immerse themselves in the New York City theatre world at a time in their lives when they would otherwise not likely be able to do so,” said Paige Bartels, Senior Vice President for Strategic Partnerships. “Importantly, the program also advances the mission of the Foundation, which is deeply committed to supporting the off-Broadway community broadly.”

“The Lucille Lortel Foundation is pleased to partner with Bennington College in this new way. Bennington College’s drama program is consistently ranked among the best in the nation, and its alumni are known for their high-quality, creative, interesting work. The partnership underscores the Foundation’s commitment to investing in and enriching the off-Broadway community in NYC and beyond by training the next generation of theatre creatives through hands-on experience and mentorship.” George Forbes, Executive Director of the Lortel Foundation

The 2018 Lortel Fellows will be employed in a range of roles at theatres including The Lark, Mint Theater Company, Abingdon Theatre Company, New Georges, The Flea, Cherry Lane Theatre, Vineyard Theatre, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, and MCC Theater, as well as at the foundation itself. Students will work alongside playwrights, actors, lighting and sound engineers, costume designers, and producers to gain a 360-degree view of the off-Broadway theatre community, as well as an understanding of what it takes for these companies to thrive. The group will formally meet with Lortel Foundation staff, led by executive director George Forbes, to discuss their shared experiences and to further cover topics in seminar style sessions on “The Business of Theatre.”


About the Lucille Lortel Foundation

The Lucille Lortel Foundation was created by Lucille Lortel to foster excellence and diversity in the theatre, as well as to preserve the history and support the prosperity of Off-Broadway. The Foundation has several programs, including its general operating support program that has provided millions of dollars for small to mid-size theatres in New York City, universities, and theatre service organizations.


About Bennington College

Bennington College is a liberal arts college in southwestern Vermont that distinguished itself early as a vanguard institution within American higher education. It not only was the first to include the visual and performing arts in a liberal arts education, but it also was the first to integrate work in the classroom with work in the field. To this day, Bennington stands apart in requiring that every student–every winter term–get a job or complete an internship.

The drama program at Bennington is regularly ranked in the top programs in the country. Closely integrating coursework with production opportunities, Bennington drama trains students as creative and versatile theatre artists. Students receive a thorough grounding in virtually every dimension of theater­making: acting, directing, playwriting, devising, theatre history, dramatic literature, dramaturgy, stage management, and design (set, costume, lights, projection, and sound). Students work closely with faculty of practitioners to design the content, structure, and sequence of their study and practice–their Plan–taking advantage of the College's resources both inside and outside the classroom to pursue their work.

Notable drama alumni include Alan Arkin, Brooks Ashmankas, Chris Bowen, Patricia Birch, Carol Channing, Tim Daly, Peter Dinklage, Alexander Dodge, Nathalie Handal, Sarah Gancher, Joel Marsh Garland, Mandy Mishell Hackett, Modesto Flako Jimenez, Sybil Kempson, James Levin, Sheila Lewandowski, Mitchell Lichtenstein, Sharon Ott, Shira Piven, Julie Arenal Primus, Valerie Marcus Ramshur, Brian Rogers, Suzanne Shepherd, Jonathan Marc Sherman, Sasha Sullivan, Elizabeth Swados, Molly Tarlov, Holland Taylor, Justin Theroux, Virlana Tkacz, Christopher Wigle, and Elizabeth Williamson.