Trinity Rep partnership
An ongoing collaboration
above and linked: the G-Notes, Gordon’s Middle School a cappella group, performing an encore after the curtain call at a 2018 performance of Trinity Rep’s A Christmas Carol. The singers were incorporated as singers throughout the show. Trinity Rep’s Rebecca Noon gave the context for this partnership on Trinity’s blog.
The Gordon School has a longstanding partnership with Trinity Repertory Company, Rhode Island’s most visible theater organization, that brings Gordon students together with theater professionals to work on projects ranging from Shakespeare tragedies to freshly written musicals.
The partnership dates back to the time when then-Artistic Director Oskar Eustis was a Gordon parent. It was 2002, and students pursuing Masters of Fine Arts through the Brown University/Trinity Rep program helped Gordon students bring Annie to the stage.
Since 2014, the Brown/Trinity MFA team has been part of an extended lesson in Shakespeare for Gordon’s eighth grade. Students read Romeo and Juliet in humanities class, and each student also practices a monologue to perform for their peers. Then, as a culminating lesson, the MFA faculty and students spend an afternoon with the eighth grade, conducting workshops that use examples from the two plays to explore the physicality and language of Shakespeare's work, and helping them sharpen their performances of their monologues. Melissa Kievman and Brian Mertes, resident directors at Trinity Rep with two children at Gordon, are responsible for bringing this exchange to life. a look at this lesson in 2015
Gordon’s partnership with Trinity Rep has also brought Shakespeare to Gordon students in the summer. Every June since 2015, Trinity Rep artists have led ten days of Shakespeare-centric workshops as part of the Gordon Summer Theater program led by Milly Romanzi, Gordon’s Director of Fine and Performing Arts. The two week camp, for middle school students who are passionate about theater, culminates in a Shakespeare matinee that is open to the public. The 2015 performance of Twelfth Night was even revived later in that summer for the PVD Fringe Festival. more on Gordon at the PVD Fringe Festival
Like the Brown/Trinity Rep exchange, Gordon Summer Theater had a connection with Gordon parents: Rachael Warren and Mauro Hantman, member of Trinity’s acting company, are also Gordon parents. Trinity's Mia Ellis and Fred Sullivan, Jr. have also taught at Gordon Summer Theater, as well as the Wilbury Group's Brien Lang.
In 2016, yet another connection between Gordon and the Brown / Trinity Rep master’s degree program was forged when the third and fourth grade performed the world premiere of Little Big State. The script was written specifically for Gordon students by MAT candidate Brad Wilson, whose teacher, Trinity resident playwright Deb Salem Smith, was a Gordon parent. The performance was a success, and the script was revived that summer by Gordon’s Milly Romanzi for use by the Young Actors Summer Institute at Trinity Rep. Since then, Ms. Romanzi, who is the director of Trinity’s YASI Players, has used that summer program as a workshop for new plays for young actors.
In 2017, the relationship with Brown / Trinity Rep’s emerging playwrights continued, as Middle School students did table readings of new scripts for Brad Wilson and Oriana Lada.
The tables have also been turned on a number of occasions, with Brown/Trinity faculty offer their critiques of Gordon student work.
In 2018, another connection was forged; the G-Notes, Gordon’s a cappella singing group, was part of the cast for the 2018 Trinity production of A Christmas Carol, which provided yet another opportunity for students to learn stagecraft from professional artists.