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Partnership gives Herberger students new ties to community

December 06, 2006

The ASU Herberger College of Fine Arts' School of Theatre and Film has partnered with the Actors Theatre of Phoenix. Now, the school has relationships with all three Valley-based professional theater companies, including the Phoenix Theatre and Childsplay.

The new enterprise with Actors Theatre of Phoenix offers graduate students in the School of Theatre and Film an Actors Equity Association (AEA) company that not only ties them to the community, but further develops the School of Theatre and Film's arts entrepreneurship efforts.

“The relationship can give our graduate students a place at the Actors Theatre at least once during their three years of study,” says Linda Essig, director of the Herberger College School of Theatre and Film.

Cathan Bordyn, a master's of fine arts student in performance, is the first student to take advantage of this new partnership and was in the Actors Theatre's recent show, “The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow” by Rolin Jones.

“It is very humbling to be the first one in this relationship,” Bordyn says.

His work at Actors Theatre, an AEA company, allows him to receive equity membership credit toward joining the official union for professional stage actors. The union guarantees actors' health benefits, a competitive pay scale with professional theater companies and adds to his chances of landing auditions with other equity companies across the nation.

“AEA is extremely competitive, and not everyone can join,” Bordyn says. “To be a member is considered to be a huge stepping stone in a professional actor's career.”

The School of Theatre and Film also has entered into an affiliation with Phoenix Theatre for new play development. Students in the playwriting division of the master's in fine arts creative writing program work with Phoenix Theatre on a national playwriting contest. Plays written by the students will be performed in staged reading at Phoenix Theatre, as well as on the ASU Tempe campus.

Gary Minyard, who is completing his master's in fine arts in theater for youth, also directs “Peter and the Wolf” for Tempe-based Childsplay this season.