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Aug. 13: School of Drama Hires Internationally Renowned Theatre Director Marianne Weems as Head of Graduate Directing

Contact:

Eric Sloss                           
412-268-5765
ecs@andrew.cmu.edu

Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama Hires Internationally Renowned
Theatre Director Marianne Weems as Head of Graduate Directing

Marianne WeemsPITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama has appointed Marianne Weems, co-founder and artistic director of the New York performance company The Builders Association, head of its graduate directing program. In this leadership role, Weems will bring her expertise in theater directing, dramaturgy and interdisciplinary media to the school's diverse talent pool and offer her students an innovative education experience in New York.

The Builders Association has enjoyed more than a decade of critical acclaim for its innovative stage productions in cities from Los Angeles to Singapore. The Builders Association employs modern technologies to create theatrical spectacles that integrate architecture, text, video art and sound. University officials say Weems' experience in multimedia and genre-crossing works will provide a valuable resource to the many School of Drama students working across and within both classic and modern disciplines.
    
"We are pleased Marianne Weems will be leading the graduate directing program in the School of Drama. Weems will create new opportunities for our students on a global scale," said Hilary Robinson, the Stanley and Marcia Gumberg Dean of the College of Fine Arts. "The School of Drama's pedagogical model for graduate directing should be viewed not only as a source of empowerment and enrichment for students, but also as a blueprint for new ways to teach directing and performance."    

In an innovative model for theatre education, Weems will divide her time between Carnegie Mellon and The Builders Association in New York City, actively engaging students in her new productions. Students will have the opportunity to work in the field while creating new connections in theatre to further their careers.

"Marianne Weems is a director of exceptional merit and vision," said Joseph V. Melillo, executive producer of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), one of the countries premier institutions dedicated to the progressive performing arts. "Weems' vibrant and progressive use of visual material grounded by impeccable dramaturgy distinguishes her in the field. She is a professional who balances the needs of her art and craft while training the next generation of artists for this ever-evolving art form. Weems is an asset to the global theatre community and will soon make a substantial contribution to Carnegie Mellon."  

"I am excited to foster and expand the strong tradition of experimental, multi-disciplinary work in Carnegie Mellon's design and art practice," Weems said. "As an artist in cross-media production, I look forward to using Carnegie Mellon's intensely collaborative environment as a launching point for work that unites and develops talent across the campus. My experience and relationships in the field of professional theatre will help students to capitalize on new opportunities in their art and careers."

Weems currently serves on the boards of Art Matters, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters and Yaddo, an artists' community located on a 400-acre estate in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. In the past, she has worked with David Byrne, Jan Cohen-Cruz, Disney Imagineering, Susan Sontag, The Wooster Group and many others. Her work with The Builders Association has been called "innovatively striking" by The New York Times and was lauded by The Wall Street Journal as "theatrical alchemy in which ideas are turned into art by making them more beautiful."

"Adding Marianne Weems to the distinctive School of Drama faculty will complement the culture of progressive experimentation of new technologies at Carnegie Mellon," said Dick Block, interim head of the School of Drama. "Marianne's distinct point of view in creating theatre will challenge our students to utilize their classical training alongside new technological approaches, compounding the creative potential for dramatic story-telling."

Weems is also a renowned lecturer on the arts and technology, appearing at schools such as the University of California, Berkeley and New York University. Additionally, Weems co-authored the book "Art Matters: How The Culture Wars Changed America," a collection of essays and illustrations published by NYU Press on the role of visual arts in public life during the political and social turmoil of the 1980s and 1990s.
    
Her current show, "Continuous City," will be the company's third production presented at BAM's Next Wave Festival, Nov. 18-22.  For more information on Weems or The Builders Association visit www.thebuildersassociation.org. For additional information about Weems or the School of Drama, please contact Eric Sloss at ecs@andrew.cmu.edu or 412-268-5765, or visit www.drama.cmu.edu.  

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