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A Gift in Three Acts

Woman on stage in apocalyptic attire
The Hearst Theater Lab Initiative supports students, faculty, and visiting professionals in efforts such as this production of Me, Myself and the Apocalypse. (Photo credit: Michael Lamont Photography)

The arts play a powerful role in sharing stories and shaping culture. That’s why UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (TFT) is dedicated to nurturing creative new work — an endeavor that just got a big break.

“This gift makes UCLA TFT a magnet for remarkable playwrights,” Dean Teri Schwartz says of the new Hearst Theater Lab Initiative, which joins three pillars supporting students, faculty, and visiting professionals. Approaching nearly 50 years of giving to UCLA, The William Randolph Hearst Foundation contributed $250,000 to establish the program.

An All-Around Effort

The playwrights include students, who now will have more opportunities to develop and showcase their works in a collaborative environment. The initiative already has helped produce the undergraduate Capstone Reading and the annual New Play Festival, An Evening of Devised Work, and MFA Ones for graduate students.

The gift also provides grants to faculty for new plays and works-in-progress. Assistant professor Marike Splint received the inaugural award for her Biography of a Home, extending her exploration of people, places, and identity.

Moreover, the initiative welcomes playwrights from around the world in a Distinguished Playwright-in-Residence program that launched this fall. During the 2018–2019 academic year, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel is creating new works, teaching master classes, and inspiring students.

A Future Full of Potential

Thanks to the initiative, UCLA TFT will prepare alumni to influence the industry and society with compassionate storytelling. “The Hearst Foundation’s visionary gift allows us to put into action our shared belief in the power of story — specifically the power of playwriting and theater — to make a profound difference in the world,” Schwartz says.

Published December 2018

Three students act out a scene in a stage production.

A performance made possible by the Hearst gift (Photo credit: Michael Lamont Photography)

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