News and Updates

This summer a group of alumni raised their voices to call attention to racial inequalities and administrative negligence at Circle in the Square. We are grateful for their bravery in standing up and speaking out, and we honor the incredible effort it took to do this work.  

The Theatre School fully recognizes that we have been complicit in the systematic racism that plagues both the business of theatre and the educational system that feeds it. We are committed to becoming a diverse, inclusive, staunchly anti-racist institution and are determined to educate our students in a way that will allow them to become agents of change in the larger artistic community. 

With this goal as our focus, Circle has instituted significant change in all areas of our school including leadership, staff, faculty, curriculum, hiring practices, casting practices and communication practices.  To hold ourselves accountable to continued change, and to enable us to keep our alumni community and the public up to date on what is being done, we’ve created an Alumni Callboard on the website which will be updated regularly.

 

CHANGES TO DATE

 

ADMINISTRATION:

The role of the Executive Director has been divided into two positions: Artistic Director and Administrative Director.  This allows for a redistribution of responsibilities to enable better efficiency and communication among our students, faculty and administration.

Interim Artistic Director – Jeanne Slater 

Administrative Director – Erica Moore

Communications Director/Administrative Assistant – Taylor Rivera

Please see the Administration section of this website for biographies. 

 

FACULTY:

We’re pleased to welcome the following teachers to our Faculty:

Benny Sato Ambush – 1st Year Scene Study

Nemuna Ceesay – Broadening the Canon

Connor Coughlin – Ballet & Advanced Dance

Alvin Crawford – 1st Year Scene Study & Private Voice

Pricilla Greco – Contemporary/Hip Hop

T.J. Mannix – On-Camera

Geeta Novotny – Mindfulness and Meditation

Joshua Spencer – Tap & Advanced Dance

 Please see the Faculty section of the website for biographies.

 

RETURNING FACULTY:

Joseph Baker – Music Direction

Edward Berkeley – Shakespeare

Dianna Cortez – Speech and Voice

Shan Y. Chuang – Vocal Studio Lab, Private Voice & Advanced Dance

Christine DeFrece – Vocal Studio Lab, Private Voice

Patrick Horn – Character Mask

Alan Langdon – 2nd Year Scene Study & 2nd Year Musical Scene Study

Jacqueline Jacobus – The Actor’s Instrument

Sara Louis Lazarus – Musical Performance 1 & 2

Brad Lemons – 2nd Year Combat

Dan Renkin – 1st Year Combat

Christine Sang – Physical Acting

Nancy Smithner – Clown, Comedy & Improvisation

Natalie Wilson – Music Theory & Private Voice

Shelley Wyant – Neutral Mask

Please see the faculty section of this website for biographies.

 

ADMINISTRATION, FACULTY AND STUDENT EDUCATION:

This week we will begin a 3-Part educational workshop series for Faculty, Staff & Students – which will include:

– Theatre, Race, Performance and Education – Dennis Hilton-Reid (Actor, Director, Educator)  

– Communication in the Classroom – Edy Nathan (MA-Drama Therapy & Sociology, LCSW) 

– Understanding Racism in Theatre Education – Brandon Nase (Founder/Executive Director of Broadway For Racial Justice) 

 

NEW ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEES:

 

SteeringThis committee is made up of a small number of Faculty and Administration whose purpose is to discuss and redefine policy and guide the future of Circle in the Square Theatre School. Importantly, the committee is charged with confronting racism and allegations of abuse of any kind.

Department Chair: Each department will have a chair to enable communication among the Faculty and act as a liaison to the Administration. 

 

This year’s Department Chairs are:

Voice & Speech – Dianna Cortez

Vocal Performance – Christine DeFrece

Acting – Jacqueline Jacobus

Musical Theatre – Sara Louis Lazarus

Movement – Brad Lemons & Nancy Smithner

 

 

CURRICULUM:

 

New classes this year

Ballet

Broadening the Canon

Beyond Shakespeare

Contemporary/Hip Hop/Latin

Mindfulness and Meditation

Private Voice Lessons

Tap

All returning Faculty have modernized, diversified and updated their classes.  

 

HIRING:

All hiring will be done by Administration in consultation with the current Faculty of the relevant department. 

ADMISSIONS:

A joint Administration/Faculty committee will review all applications and auditions. 

CHILDREN’S THEATRE:

Auditions for the Children’s Shows will now be conducted by a panel of current Faculty and Guest Artists.  All alumni are eligible to audition for the company of 5, who will perform in all 3 productions. Playwright-in-Residence Aaron Coleman will write one of these plays specifically for this cast.

Please see the faculty section of this website for biographies.

 

IN-PROCESS

 

EQUITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION DIRECTOR:

We are currently exploring ways in which we can hire someone in this position in a part-time capacity or potentially share this position with another school.  It is possible that the person in this position could act as a moderator in situations in which one might be required.  We will continue to update as progress is made. 

OFF-SITE COUNSELING:

We are in talks with the Actor’s Fund about providing off-site counseling at an affordable price for our students.  Additionally, we are continuing to explore alternative avenues of sliding-scale counseling; we will continue to update as progress is made.

STUDIO RENOVATIONS:

We are redesigning and renovating our studios to better serve Circle’s Students and Faculty.  We will post pictures as the renovations progress!

TO CONCLUDE:

While facing the issues of the past, we are now looking to the future of Circle in the Square Theatre School.  We are determined to create a diverse, inclusive and equitable space in which every student and faculty feels seen, heard, valued and safe.

 

In case you missed it

AUGUST 8TH, 2020 To Circle of Inequity and to all Alumni of the Circle in the Square Theatre School:   We have listened to your stories, and on behalf of the Circle in the Square Theatre School, I want to
JULY 16th, 2020 Dear Alumni and Circle of Inequity:   I have carefully read your letter and all of your stories of inequities. What you express and detail is intolerable.   While this is the first time these disturbing micro