Queens College to Host First-Ever Cornerstone Theater Company Institute Summer Residency to be Held Outside of it’s Home State of California

— Program to Write, Develop, and Produce New Play with Queens Residents Culminates with Performances on August 10 and 11; Auditions to be held from July 14–17 —

July 9, 2018 (Queens, NY) – The California-based Cornerstone Theater Company will host its Institute Summer Residency at Queens College from July 12 to August 12, 2018. Through a series of classes, assignments, rehearsals, and community activities, artists, educators, and activists from across the country, including QC students, will have the opportunity to learn about all aspects of professional community-engaged theater while also building social bridges in Queens neighborhoods. This is the first time that the immersive program—offered every other year—will be hosted outside California.

Cornerstone’s Institute Summer Residency begins with a playwright researching a local community, visiting the area, speaking with residents, and attending community events. Those experiences inform the script of a new play. During the 32-day-long program, Cornerstone artists, staff, and students who participate in the Residency program audition, cast, and rehearse the play; they also build the sets and create costumes. Auditions will be held from July 15 to 17; see the full schedule here. The program concludes with three public performances of the new play, which will be held on August 10 and 11 at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts’ Goldstein Theatre at Queens College. Read more about Cornerstone Theater and this year’s Institute Summer Residency here.

“For 80 years, Queens College has thrived because of its commitment to, and support from, the surrounding community,” said Queens College President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “We are so excited to welcome Cornerstone Theater Company to the Queens College campus this summer and to be a part of this incredible project that will enrich students and locals alike. We invite our neighbors to participate in the development of this new work and attend a performance, which we know will reflect the richness and diversity of our borough.”

The 2018 Institute Summer Residency play will be written by New York-based guest artist Cusi Cram. Michael John Garcés will serve as artistic director, and the production will be directed by Juliette Carrillo, both Cornerstone ensemble members.

“We could not be more pleased and honored to be in residence at Queens College,” said Michael John Garcés, Cornerstone Theater Company’s longtime artistic director. “The college represents the borough in all of its beautiful diversity, and is deeply committed to equity and social justice, which makes it a perfect partner for us. On a personal note, I lived in Queens for almost a decade, and am really excited to be coming back to the place where I started my career in the theater.”

Three Queens College students were selected to participate in the Cornerstone Theater Institute this summer, receiving scholarships covering the entire cost of tuition. They will be joined by theater makers and artists who come from around the world to engage with this methodology at residencies that the institute holds every other year.

Kayla Rivera is a senior and a theater major. She is a member of the musical theater club and recently co-founded Knights of Improv, a comedy troupe that will begin performing on campus this fall. A top student as well as an outspoken LGBTQI activist, Kayla is passionate about social justice issues, and social justice representation in the theater. She is just returning from a study abroad year at Cornerstone’s international partner school, Regent’s University in London, UK.

Paul Defilippo is a super-senior and a drama major. He has played Feste in Twelfth Night, Briar Rabbit in An Octoroon on the Main Stage, and the title role in Last Days of Judas Icariot for Theater Guild. He recently directed a student production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters in the Little Theater. A leading member of Theater Guild and an excellent student, Paul has worked on staged readings off campus and has a deep interest in community-based theater work.

Claire Kostova is an accomplished actress and designer. She has appeared in multiple drama productions, most notably as a principal in Cloud Nine and as the understudy for the lead role in An Octoroon. She has designed lighting for numerous student productions, including the student dance concert and Three Sisters. She also stage-managed this year’s showcase, Amalgami. Claire has her own professional company outside of school. Her project for the institute focuses on the Haitian diaspora, reflecting her experiences as an immigrant and theater artist.

Queens residents are invited to help shape the content of the play by participating in Story Circles and to audition for the play. Story Circles take place on July 14 to 16; see the full schedule here.

To date, Queens organizations and community groups that are participating in the Institute Summer Residency production include Queens College’s Department of Drama, Theatre & Dance, the Center for Ethnic, Racial & Religious Understanding, and Pomonok Community Center. Conversations continue with the Chamber of Commerce, Flushing Town Hall, Queens Theatre, Central Queens Y, and others.

About Queens College
Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. With its graduate and undergraduate degrees, honors programs, and research and internship opportunities, Queens College helps its over 19,000 students realize their potential in countless ways, under the guidance of an accessible, award-winning faculty. The college was recently ranked tenth among U.S. public colleges by the Chronicle of Higher Education for upward social and economic mobility. The Center for World University Rankings placed Queens College in the top 3.5% of schools worldwide, based on the quality of its education and faculty, the number of its alumni who find employment, and other factors. Located on a beautiful, 80-acre campus in Flushing, the college is cited each year by the Princeton Review as one of the nation’s 100 “Best Value” colleges, and is routinely ranked a U.S. News & World Report Best College and Forbes Magazine Best Value College, thanks to its outstanding academics, generous financial aid packages, and relatively low costs. Visit qc.cuny.edu to learn more.

For more about Queens college, visit http://www.qc.cuny.edu/Pages/home.aspx

Maria Matteo
Office of Communications
Assistant Director, News Services