QU, Long Wharf plan for future

Ashley Reynolds

The idea of Quinnipiac students performing in a theater that is recognized as a leader in American theaters, turned to reality when Quinnipiac students performed “Medea” last week at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven.

Also last week Quinnipiac and the Long Wharf signed a five-year partnership. The agreement allows the QU theater program to hold three to four plays there each year.

Kathleen McCourt, the Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, believes that this will give the students more opportunities to become involved with an established theater.

“Our students have the opportunity to stage productions with the access to the resources of a professional theater. They can get internships in all aspects of theater. To have our new theater program affiliated with an established, respected professional theater, should be attractive to potential theater majors,” McCourt said.

The production staff at Long Wharf has promised to give advice and supervise technical production through various internship programs and classes. They also ensure that the students can learn not just about what occurs on stage but will receive real-life experience about the technical, administrative and artistic aspects that go into making a production.

Quinnipiac students will have the opportunity to work side by side with Long Wharf professionals in all aspects of the theater business… technical, administrative, artistic and educational and receive credit for their work.

The Long Wharf will also offer artist-in-residence workshops, special lectures and workshops to Quinnipiac Theater majors.

Professor Crystal Brian, chair of Visual and Performing Arts in the College of Liberal Arts feels that the agreement would prove beneficial to the school

“The opportunity to work with Long Wharf Theatre and to bring our work to the community of New Haven will help us to serve and broaden our mission, as well as offering our students the benefit of working within a professional theatre context. We are delighted at this new partnership with an institution as renowned as Long Wharf Theatre,” Brian said in a press release.

However, it is not just the Quinnipiac community that will benefit from the agreement, according to Mary Pepe, chair of Long Wharf Theatre’s Board of Trustees.

The agreement allows the theater to interact more with the surrounding community, which is one of their longstanding goals.

“We are delighted to be in partnership with Quinnipiac University. This relationship embodies values that are the core of Long Wharf – the making of theatre, education and community. We are also excited about the future possibilities this collaboration affords to both organizations,” Pepe said in a press release.

The Long Wharf Theatre has been known to create plays that have gone straight to Broadway or off-Broadway. Productions such as “Wit,” “Down the Garden Paths,” “Red” and more. Because of this, the theater’s managing director, Joan Channick, looks at the new partnerships as a way of nurturing up-coming talent.

“Long Wharf Theatre has a long tradition as an incubator of talent, and we look forward to working with Quinnipiac University’s theatre department in training the next generation of theatre professionals. Having these students in our midst will add a wonderful new dimension to the life of this theatre,” Channick said.

The agreement is part of the program “Theater for Community” which according to the school’s Web site is meant to show that “theater can be a tool to foster student engagement with the local, national and global community. Students are introduced to diverse social issues and topics outside of their everyday experiences and, as a result, are forced to explore the topic from a different perspective.” Brian believes the deal will only enforce what they are trying to teach their students.

“The opportunity to bring our work to the community of New Haven, will help us to serve and broaden our mission, as well as offering our students the benefit of working within a professional theater context,” Brian said.

The next Quinnipiac production to be held at the Long Wharf will be Euripides from Feb. 27 to March 2. It will be directed by theatre professor Kelly Morgan.