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President Bollinger Cuts Ribbon on New Home for SOA Theatre Arts Performances at Riverside Church

Markus Potter, acting student, SOA Dean Bruce Ferguson, Rev. Dr. James Forbes, President Lee C. Bollinger, Andrei Serban, Jewel Kinch, General Manager of Theatre, and Kristin Linklater

President Bollinger took another step in strengthening Columbia's commitment to the arts on Wed., Oct. 16, with a ribbon cutting for a performance space for the theatre arts division. The newly forged relationship between the School of the Arts (SOA) and Riverside Church will enable students in SOA's theatre arts division to produce their shows in The Theatre of the Riverside Church.

By presenting performances at the 180-seat theater, located at 91 Claremont Avenue between 120th and 121st Streets, a wide range of audiences will have better access to the exceptional work of the theatre arts division. The new relationship between Riverside Church and Columbia will benefit the arts community, the students and faculty of the School of the Arts, and the Riverside Church community, among others.

"Our young and quite extraordinary School of the Arts can become truly unique, in part by building alliances and connections the City makes possible," said President Lee Bollinger in his recent inaugural address. The School of the Arts at the Theater of Riverside Church is another example of Columbia's efforts to forge partnerships with the neighboring community and art institutions in New York City.

The ribbon was cut by President Bollinger, Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Senior Minister of Riverside Church, and the students of the Center for Theatre Studies. In his remarks Forbes equated poets and playwrights to prophets who witness who we are and what we will become.

Bruce Ferguson, dean of the School of the Arts, said "President Bollinger is changing the landscape of theatre," with the recent announcement of the collaboration to bring the Royal Shakespeare Company to Harlem's historic Apollo Theatre in the Spring of 2003, and the rental of The Riverside Church Theatre.

Ferguson and Kristin Linklater, chair of the theatre arts division, announced the inaugural production of Henrik Ibsen's "Peer Gynt," adapted by SOA student Bathsheba Doran. Andrei Serban, world-renowned stage director and Columbia's director of theatre studies, will direct the production, with a music score by Tony award-nominee Elizabeth Swados.

"Peer Gynt is an extraordinary journey for the imagination, spanning all the stages in the life of man," said Serban. "At the same time, it is an impossible play because Ibsen never intended it to be performed - he wrote it to be read. This is exactly why we chose to work on it -- because all theatre journeys should challenge the impossible."

"Peer Gynt" will be performed at The Theatre at Riverside Church November 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th at 8:00 p.m.; 3:00 p.m. matinees play on November 3rd, 9th, 10th and 16th. Tickets are $10; $5 for students. For tickets, visit The Theatre at Riverside Church box office at 91 Claremont Street (between 120th and 121st Streets) or call (212) 870-6784.

Published: Oct 23, 2002
Last modified: Oct 22, 2002


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