What Recession? Berkeley Rep, Via Amex, Bestowing 16 Post-College Fellowships

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Berkeley Rep

This is what is known as a good news story. Courtesy of publicist Terence Keane:

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BERKELEY REP RECEIVES AMERICAN EXPRESS GRANT FOR FELLOWSHIPS
Best and brightest from colleges across the country enter prestigious training program

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Berkeley Repertory Theatre announced that 16 emerging leaders from across the nation…have been awarded fellowships for the upcoming season. This year’s fellowships will be supported by a generous $50,000 grant from American Express, complementing a similar gift received earlier from the Koret Foundation. Every year, through this esteemed training program, college graduates from across America develop their leadership skills by working alongside accomplished professionals and renowned artists at this Tony Award-winning theatre.

This class of fellows joins Berkeley Rep as it prepares seven daring new shows: the world premiere of American Idiot from Green Day and Michael Mayer, the world premiere of Girlfriend from Todd Almond and Matthew Sweet, the world premiere of Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West from Naomi Iizuka and Les Waters, the world premiere of a new play from Lisa Kron and Leigh Silverman, the West Coast premiere of Tiny Kushner from Tony Kushner and Tony Taccone, and local debuts for Athol Fugard’s Coming Home and Aurélia’s Oratorio.

“In these difficult times, we are truly grateful for the support of American Express and the Koret Foundation, who recognize that investing in the artists, artisans, and administrators of tomorrow is the only way to ensure the continued health of the American theatre,” said Managing Director Susan Medak. “With the ambitious collection of plays that Tony [Taccone] has picked for the coming season, it’s going to be a particularly good year to be a fellow at Berkeley Rep.”

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“At American Express, we recognize the impact that nonprofit leaders have on business, society, and their local communities,” added Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. “We are pleased to support Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s fellowship program to nurture future nonprofit leaders by providing them with the opportunity to build and hone leadership skills that are critical to the sector.”

Fellowships at Berkeley Rep combine hands-on practical experience with educational seminars that provide insight into the operation and inner workings of a professional theatre. The program, one of the nation’s most prestigious and most extensive, offers training in more than a dozen different disciplines. Fellows make an 11-month commitment to the Theatre, generally starting work in August and concluding their residencies in June. They receive a stipend for their service, as well as housing. The partnership between Berkeley Rep and the fellowship recipient provides invaluable experience and professional contacts; as a result, participants go on to work at prominent theatres across the nation. More than 20% of Berkeley Rep’s staff members are former fellows, and a full two-thirds of past fellows continue to work professionally in the industry.

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Fellowships for the 2009/10 Season at Berkeley Rep have been awarded to the following 16 young people:

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  • Matthew Avery, a native of Milwaukee and graduate of Drake University, will work with Master Electrician Fred Geffken and the electrics crew.
  • Beryl E. Baker, a native of Alameda and graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, will work with Sound Engineer Heather Bradley and the sound department.
  • A. Euphrates Dahout, a native of San Jose and graduate of Reed College, will work with Company Manager Megan Wygant.
  • Silvie Deutsch, a native of Davenport, CA and graduate of Wesleyan University, will work with Costume Director Maggi Yule in the costume shop.
  • Seth Fly, a Texas native and graduate of Rice University, will work with Technical Director Jim Smith in the scene shop.
  • Alexandra Friedman, a Russian native raised in New York City, graduated from Brandeis University and will work with Scenic Artist Lisa L√°z√°r.
  • Elizabeth A. Guzman, a native of Highland Mills, NY and graduate of SUNY New Paltz, will work with School Administrator Emika Abe in the School of Theatre.
  • Emily Hartman, a native of El Cerrito and graduate of UC Davis, will work with Production Stage Manager Michael Suenkel.
  • Elana McKernan, a native of Fallbrook, CA and graduate of Reed College, will work with Director of Marketing and Communications Robert Sweibel.
  • Nora Merecicky, an Ohio native and graduate of Ohio University, will work with Art Director Cheshire Isaacs.
  • Mina Morita, a native of Berkeley and graduate of New York University, will serve a second year as the Bret C. Harte Directing Fellow under Artistic Director Tony Taccone.
  • Sarah Nowicki, a native of Phoenix and graduate of Northern Arizona University, will work with Director of Development Lynn Eve Komaromi.
  • Anna Victoria Peralta, a native of West Sacramento and graduate of San Francisco State University, will work with Properties Manager Ashley Dawn in the prop shop.
  • Kashara Robinson, a native of Dallas and graduate of Spelman College, will work with Rachel Fink, director of the School of Theatre.
  • Rachel Viola, a native of Brooklyn and graduate of NYU, will work with Literary Manager Madeleine Oldham.
  • Katherine Wepler, an Indiana native and graduate of Ohio Northern University, will work with Production Manager Tom Pearl.

For more information, visit www.berkeleyrep.org.

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