Powerhouse Theater Training Program at Vassar College now accepting summer 2015 applications

When they were still aspiring young artists Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar, TV star Josh Radnor, and Tony Award-nominated actress Melissa Erico each spent a transformative summer in the Powerhouse Theater Training Program. Now in its 31st year, the renowned annual program at Vassar College will run from June 19-July 26, 2015 and is currently accepting applications. Participants choose a curriculum focused on acting, playwriting, or directing, and together form a Company, which performs works for the public. The program is available to rising high school seniors through college-age students, as part of the prestigious Powerhouse Theater collaboration between Vassar College and New York Stage and Film.

Completed applications are due by March 31 including required recommendations and a personal statement submitted online. Applicants seeking financial aid must submit their entire application by March 2. Program fee, room, and board (including daily breakfast and dinner) costs $5000. Applications are hosted by at

Participants in the Powerhouse Theater Training Program have included Ayad Akhtar (“Disgraced,” winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama); Josh Radnor (“How I Met Your Mother”); Melissa Errico (“Amour,” Tony nominee for Leading Actress); screenwriter Edward Ricourt ("Now You See Me"); stage and screen actresses Emily Donahoe, Catherine Kellner, and Kate MacCluggage; Voice and Vision theater company co-founders Marya Mazor and Jean Wagner; and Jordan Roth, president of Jujamcyn Theaters (which owns five Broadway theaters).

“The Powerhouse experience provides students with a unique perspective on the breadth and opportunities available in the theater. By being exposed to a wide range of theatrical expression each student has the opportunity to discover and chart their own path,” said Ed Cheetham, producing director of the Powerhouse Theater.

All acting program participants are cast in one of three outdoor productions of adapted and abridged texts, which are open, free of charge, to  the public. Recent performances have included the works of Shakespeare, Chekhov, and Euripides, all presented under the direction of professional directors and writers at Vassar’s majestic outdoor amphitheater or at the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve. In addition, acting program participants work alongside innovative theater artists to create performances in unconventional campus spaces such as Vassar’s Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. Directors and writers are part of the rehearsal process of the different professional projects taking place on campus. They also write and direct new work that is performed by members of the acting company.

The program participants also gain invaluable experience within the framework of the larger Powerhouse Theater summer community on campus. Through Vassar’s collaboration with New York Stage and Film, participants  have the opportunity to work in various capacities alongside some of the country’s leading theater talents.  In past years this has included such well-known and emerging theater artists as John Patrick Shanley, Duncan Sheik, Sarah Ruhl, Tomi Tsunoda, Erik Ehn, Deborah Asiimwe, Davis McCallum, and Emily Mendelsohn.

Application Process

Depending upon their special interest in acting, playwriting, or directing, an applicant will also need to submit supplementary materials by March 31st through the online application. For example, aspiring playwrights need to submit a writing sample, directors need to submit a play analysis, and actors must submit a video online in which they perform two contrasting monologues. Interested applicants should visit or call the administrative office at (845) 437-5907 for more information about the details of their application.

Very limited financial aid is available meet an applicant’s demonstrated financial need. Those seeking financial aid must submit their complete application materials March 2. Further details on this and all of the program’s other background information should be reviewed online at

About the Powerhouse Theater Training Program at Vassar College

Now in its 31st season, the Powerhouse Theater Program is a unique collaboration between a leading liberal arts college (Vassar) and an established professional theater company (New York Stage and Film). Powerhouse is nationally renowned for its dedication to new theater works, through support for both emerging and established artists. Many of Powerhouse’s professional productions have gone on to appear on Broadway and off, and to win theater’s top honors -- including several Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Thursday, January 29, 2015