The gift will advance UCLA TFT and its Department of Theater with the establishment of a Distinguished Playwright-in-Residence Program

Teri Schwartz, Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (UCLA TFT), one of the world’s premier institutions for entertainment and performing arts education, announced on March 14, 2018 that the William Randolph Hearst Foundation (Foundation) has gifted $250,000 to UCLA TFT to create the groundbreaking Hearst Theater Lab Initiative. This transformational donation is in keeping with a series of innovative initiatives created by Dean Schwartz, in partnership with faculty and visionary donors, to support UCLA TFT’s central vision as a pre-eminent storytelling school — one whose mission is educating and developing a new generation of diverse, humanistic artists, industry leaders and scholars to use the power of story to not only entertain, but to enlighten, engage and inspire change for a better world.

In alignment with the School’s vision and mission, the Hearst gift is designed to advance UCLA TFT’s outstanding Department of Theater as a destination for playwriting excellence. The Hearst gift funds three transformational pillars under the umbrella of a dynamic laboratory for playwriting and storytelling: First, a new Distinguished Playwright-in-Residence program will launch in 2018 that will allow for award-winning playwrights from around the world to be in residence at UCLA TFT to develop and showcase exciting new works and to give inspiring master classes to students. As a result, UCLA TFT will be home to, and a magnet for, some of the world’s greatest dramatists who will help to galvanize, shape and define our culture. Second, the Hearst gift will fund the annual undergraduate and graduate student playwriting season, thus strengthening opportunities for playwriting students to develop and showcase their works and to advance UCLA TFT’s educational mission to develop the next generation of diverse humanistic storytellers. Third, the Hearst gift will provide vital grants for UCLA TFT’s outstanding, award-winning Theater faculty to develop and showcase new plays and works-in-progress.

For nearly 50 years, the Hearst Foundation has been a dedicated supporter of UCLA and UCLA TFT. It has a rich history of working with educational institutions that demonstrate uncommon success in preparing students to thrive in a global society.

Dean Schwartz recognizes the significance of creating multi-dimensional opportunities to advance the School’s vision and prepare its students for professional careers in entertainment and performing arts. “The magnitude and impact of the Hearst Theater Lab Initiative are breathtaking. Through this visionary gift, the Hearst Foundation allows us to put into action our shared belief in the power of story, and specifically the power of playwriting and theater, to make a profound difference in the world,” she says. “This gift allows us to be a magnet for remarkable playwrights to create and develop new works at UCLA TFT’s Department of Theater. It will also foster a dynamic environment in which new emerging voices and innovative new forms of theater will have the unparalleled opportunity to be developed.

“The Hearst Theater Lab Initiative is destined for great distinction,” she continues. “We are deeply grateful to the Hearst Foundation for their belief in our vision and mission, and equally excited to see how this new initiative will inspire our students, in particular, to achieve their greatest potential.”

“The Hearst Foundations are pleased to support vital organizations like UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television who are making a positive difference in their communities,” says Paul “Dino” Dinovitz, executive director of The Hearst Foundations. “We look forward to the many ways the art and practice of theater in California will advance under Dean Schwartz and her vision for the Hearst Theater Lab Initiative.”

The Department of Theater has undergone tremendous growth and change in the past several years, reimagining theater arts with provocative new productions such as Life on the Praça Roosevelt, Sonnet for an Old Century, the West Coast premiere of the musical Steel Pier and the captivating restaging of Euripides’ overlooked classic Helen. Once a two-year program, UCLA TFT’s highly selective Playwriting Program transitioned to a three-year program in 2003, training emerging theater voices to explore multiple platforms including writing for the stage, film, television and web-based media. Core to the Playwriting Program is the interdisciplinary collaboration students enjoy with their peers in acting and directing, challenging the conventions of live storytelling, and presenting fully realized new works during UCLA TFT’s annual New Play Festival. The School boasts award-winning alumni who are working on and Off-Broadway, and in film and television.

Posted: March 14, 2018