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Phoenix Theatre and Arizona State University’s School of Music have announced a joint agreement to launch a groundbreaking new model of comprehensive theatre training. The New American Musical Theatre Studio is the culmination of a multi-year partnership between these two powerhouse organizations.


Courtesy of Phoenix Theatre.

Phoenix Theatre staff have served on the faculty in the ASU School of Music in the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts for five years. This agreement represents a new level of commitment to the collaboration, expanding and integrating teaching, training and apprenticeship opportunities for ASU students within a professional theatre environment.

“We’re taking things to the next level,” said Michael Barnard, Phoenix Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director. “The New American Musical Theater Studio will set the standard for thoroughly immersive education. It will attract the finest student talent from across the country with specialized advanced undergraduate and master’s level programs. ASU students will train alongside theatre professionals in artistic and administrative career skills, perform on our stages, serve the community as part of our outreach programs, and earn points toward Equity union membership. They will have unprecedented access to a variety of theatrical spaces capable of supporting student showcases, workshops, and new work development. We are excited to redefine theatre education and prepare students to meet real world challenges.”

Phoenix Theatre Producing Artistic Director Michael Barnard

Phoenix Theatre Producing Artistic Director Michael Barnard

ASU is among the few professional opera and musical theatre training programs in the southwest, and rated among the top graduate musical theatre programs in the country.

“We are fortunate to be located in the Phoenix metropolitan area where we can partner with nationally-renowned professional arts organizations like Phoenix Theatre and Arizona Opera,” said Brian DeMaris, Artistic Director of Lyric Opera Theatre in the ASU School of Music. “We are excited to formalize our ongoing partnership with Phoenix Theatre, which has included shared faculty and co-productions in the past. Through the expansion of this partnership, all of our students will be able to benefit from the opportunities for professional immersion offered by Phoenix Theatre.”

A musical theatre showcase for ASU students will be held for the first time at Phoenix Theatre this year, envisioned as an annual event that will display the graduating talent coming out of ASU’s musical theatre program. The New American Musical Theatre Studio will officially launch during Phoenix Theatre’s 2017-18 season, with two courses offered on the Phoenix Theatre campus. Students will participate in practicums involving all aspects of theatre production, work with professional artists from around the globe, and participate in Phoenix Theatre’s new works submission process. Additionally, all students will continue to have the opportunity to audition for and perform in professional productions at Phoenix Theatre.

Phoenix Theatre is the largest professional producing Equity theatre in Arizona, and will celebrate its centennial in 2020. With an expanding campus and strong financial position, Phoenix Theatre is increasingly recognized for its artistic excellence and commitment to developing new work. Its collective leadership is widely regarded for their expertise, innovation, and an entrepreneurial approach to the business of theatre.