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  • Faculty

  • Cecilia Rubino

    Associate Professor, Theater; Program Director and Departmental Faculty Advisor for Arts in Context


    Office Location
    B - 65 West 11th Street

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    Cecilia Rubino


    To create change, you first have to imagine the possibility. Theater demands that both the practitioner and the audience engage — in the moment and in the imagination. And whether I’m directing Shakespeare, Chekhov, or working with New School students at the I HAVE A DREAM-Harlem Theater & Education Afterschool Program, I find the making of theater constantly asks that we grapple with essential questions. Now more than ever, it’s important to challenge ourselves — to listen, respond, engage in dialogue, and transform ourselves and others.

    Working in an array of disciplines as a writer, director, actor, and collaborator, my teaching and professional work has focused on five main areas: theater as a medium for social change; the “everyday practice of the actor”; engaging the classics (particularly Shakespeare); transformative arts education, and theater and health advocacy. I have recently written, devised and directed theater pieces which recently have performed at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade and Bruno Walter Theaters, The New Victory @ 42nd Street, Jefferson Market Playhouse, WNYC New York Public Radio’s Jerome L Green Performance Space, the New York Fringe and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. I just completed a documentary, Remembering Shakespeare, which explores new ways of thinking about memory and Shakespeare’s words in our digital age where memory itself is at risk

    And my chapter, “If It Live In Your Memory” appears in The Whirlwind of Passion: New Critical Perspectives on William Shakespeare (Cambridge Scholar’s Press, 2016). At Jefferson Market Library Playhouse, I recently directed Lives of Tiresias which I co-wrote with David Richman; Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde and my own adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. I also wrote and directed From the Fire, which won three Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s UK/Music Theater Awards: Best Music, Best Production and Best New Musical. The Scotsman named the piece an Edinburgh “cultural highlight of 2011” and a WNET Public Television documentary of From the Fire was nominated for a NY Emmy award.

    I am an Associate Professor of Theater at Lang College/The New School and I have directed the Lang College BA in Theater at The New School (2008-2010, 2012-14 and 2016-18) The program was named one of the top Civic Engagement and Social Justice theater programs in the US by American Theater Magazine. I currently direct the Arts in Context Program at Lang College and coordinate the ‘I Have A Dream’-Harlem Theater & Education Program. I previously was on the faculty at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, NYU’s Playwrights Horizons Studio and NYU’s Kanbar School for Film & Television.


    Degrees Held

    MFA, Yale School of Drama;
    BA, Magna cum laude, Williams College

    Professional Affiliation

    Lincoln Center: ‘Meet the Artist’
    The Association for Theater in Higher Education
    The Dramatist Guild
    The Remember the Triangle Shirtwaist Coalition
    Board Member of Piper Theater, Brooklyn

    Performances and Appearances


    Theater: Professional Directing, Writing and Devising

    Eugene O’Neill in the Village  Fall 2018. Directing a site specific event about O’Neill’s work at the Washington Square Hotel.

    The Irene Fornes Marathon Fall 2018. Directing Monologues from Selected Works of Fornes at the Public Theater.

    Live of Tiresias   June 2018 Jefferson Market Playhouse, New York NY. Co-wrote and directed workshop production.

    Uncle Vanya   June 2017 Jefferson Market Playhouse, New York NY. Adapted and directed Chekhov’s play.

    Odets   Fall 2016 Artslope Festival & Lucid Body Studio, New York NY. Conceived and directed a documentary theater piece that explores Clifford Odets’ creative process and work.

    Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde     June 2016

    Jefferson Market Playhouse, New York NY. Directed production with original music composed and performed by Joan La Barbara.

    Eco-Poets: Enviro Slammin’                                      Spring 2016

    The New Victory Theater @ 42nd Street, New York NY. LabWorks Artist Fellow 2015-2016. Developed a new piece with a trio of spoken word poets. Workshop Production performed at The New Victory at 42nd Street.

    The Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva         Fall 2015

    Cornelia Street Café, New York NY. Curated and directed performance event.

    SLAM 103: Historical Remix January 2014 - March 2015

    The Bruno Walter Theatre, Lincoln Center, New York NY.  Directed “SLAM 103: Historical Remix”, the third in a trilogy of pieces commissioned by Lincoln Center’s Meet the Artist Series which explores different genres of poetry. Other pieces created in collaboration with three spoken word poets include “SLAM 101” and “SLAM 102: Verbal Velocity”.

    PERISTALSIS (Look It Up!)  August 2014

    New York Fringe Festival, New York NY. Directed production.

    Moliere Festival          2013

    WNYC Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, New York NY. Directed “The School for Husbands” and “The Imaginary Cuckold”.

    From the Fire  March 2013

    New York Tenement Museum, New York NY. Directed selections of “From the Fire” for event commemorating the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, moderated by the novelist Kevin Baker.

    The Shakespeare Marathon    2012

    WNYC Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, New York NY. Co-directed with producer Sarah Montague.

    From the Fire  August 2011

    Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland. Wrote and directed From the Fire. Winner of the UK/Music Theater Awards: Best Music, Best Production and Best New Musical. Named an Edinburgh “Cultural Highlight of 2011” and “Pick of the Fringe” by The Scotsman. Reviewed by the BBC News, The London Times, The New York Times, The Scotsman, and The Guardian.

    In the Native State      2011

    “T is for Tom” Series, WNYC Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, New York NY. Stoppard Theater Works and A New Theater of Sound. Directed 'India Ink', a radio play by Tom Stoppard.

    Mark Twain: Adventures in American Humor           2011 - 2012

    Roxy Regional Theater, Chattanooga TN. Adapted, wrote and directed Mark Twain: Adventures in American Humor. The piece also performed at libraries and schools in NYC and New England from 2010-13. An earlier version of the piece, “Twain: 100 Years of Humor”, performed at the Roxy Regional Theater in 2009.

    From the Fire 2011

    The Times Center, New York NY. Directed a series of choral pieces from From the Fire with media for the Sydney Hillman Foundation’s Excellence in Journalism Awards Ceremony. The Sydney Hillman Foundation awarded a grant to have a documentary made of From the Fire for the Triangle Fire Archives at the Cornell University Library.

    From the Fire 2011

    Judson Memorial Church, New York NY. Wrote and directed a new work with music by the award-winning composer, Liz Swados, which performed at the historic Judson Church for the centennial of The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire with a cast of Lang students and industry professionals. The piece received exceptional coverage from The New York Times, The New Yorker, 60 Minutes, NY 1 TV, NPR (aired nationally), WNYC and WFMU Radio, The Jewish Daily Forward etc. A documentary about the Judson version of From the Fire by WNET’s Sunday Arts Program was nominated for a 2011 NY Emmy. 

    From the Fire 2011

    Remember The Triangle Fire Coalition and the ILGWU/UAW’s Centennial Memorial: Choral pieces from FTF were performed on March 25, 2011, outside the Ash Building and were featured on CNN and news programs around the world.

    Meet the Artist Series, Lincoln Center 2000 - 2015

    Every season created performance pieces for Lincoln Center’s ‘Meet the Artist’ series. Recently directed and collaboratively created a series of interactive spoken word pieces about different genres of poetry:  SLAM 103-SLAM 101. The shows then toured schools in the NYC area and Arts Centers across the country.  Also for ‘Meet the Artist’ conducted in-depth, inter-media workshops for students and adults that focused on individual Shakespeare plays and led teacher-training workshops, which focused on integrating theater into the school curriculum.

    Fall of the City 2009

    WNYC  Jerome L Greene Performance Space, New York NY.  In collaboration with producer, Sarah Montague, directed the chorus of “Fall of The City”, in a revival of Archibald MacLeish’s 1937 classic radio drama at WNYC and  aired nationally on NPR.  Winner of the 2010, Women in Radio, Gracie Award for best local drama.

    Theater: Directing, The New School

    Tar Sands Songbook   Spring 2018

    Directed a workshop production of ‘Tar Sands Songbook’ at Tishman Auditorium for Curriculum Disruption/Climate Justice event with actors Peter Jay Fernandez and Jennifer Van Dyke. Piece conceived and written with Tanya Kalmanovitch, Associate Professor of Music at Mannes School of Music. Directed initial workshop production of ‘Tar Sands Songbook’ at Ernst Stifel Concert Hall at The New School in October, 2017.


    16 BARS          September 2016

    Co-Directed and produced 16 Bars a documentary theater piece conceived and created by court involved youth from the exalt program in Brooklyn to help foster awareness about the need of raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York State.  Versions of 16 Bars have been performed at fundraisers for exalt including a reading at Google NYC in Spring, 2018.

    Lang College, New School Productions

    New School University: 2006-18. Productions directed include: Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Fefu and Her Friends, Camino Real, The Tempest, The Importance of Being Earnest, Waiting for Godot, Three Sisters, The Exonerated, America is in the Room and The Odets Project.

    Research Interests

    Interdisciplinary approaches to engaged theater
    The Actor’s daily practice
    Shakespeare and the reinvestigation of classical drama
    Theater as a medium for social change
    Theater in Education and the connections between drama and literacy
    The history of acting practice and performance

    Awards And Honors

    Teaching Awards

    Distinguished Teaching Award, The New School                             2018

    Lang College Faculty Advisor Excellence Award                                   2016

    Nominee, Distinguished Teaching Award, The New School        2008, 2009, 2011


    University Awards and Grants

    Lang College Liberal Arts Grant, The New School, “Beyond Zero Tolerance”     2017

    Civic Liberal Arts Collaboration Grant, “Arts Advocacy & Youth in the System”  2016

    Social Innovation Grant, The New School, “Health Class 2.0”    2013

    Lang College, Civic Engagement & Social Justice Grant, The New School          2012

    Provost Event Grant, The New School, “Open Air: the Future of Radio Theater” 2010


    Foundation Support

    Mellon Foundation, Civic Arts and Humanities, “Theater of Social Action”        2015

    Mellon Foundation, Civic Arts and Humanities, “Radical Citizenship: Sekou Sundiata” 2014

    Bronfman Foundation, “From the Fire”                                                2011

    Artistic Production Grant, Foundation for Jewish Culture, “From the Fire”             2011

    Artistic Production Grant, Sydney Hillman Foundation, “From the Fire”    2011


    Artistic Awards

    The New Victory Theater @ 42nd Street, New York NY. LabWorks Artist Fellow   2015-2016

    Best Music, Best Production, Best New Musical, Edinburgh Fringe Festival           2011

    Artistic Production Grant, Sydney Hillman Foundation, “From the Fire”             2011

    Gracie Award, American Women in Radio and TV, Best Local Drama, “Fall of the City” 2010

    Current Courses

    Acting Fundamentals
    LTHR 2050, Fall 2022

    Ind Senior Project
    LINA 4990, Fall 2022

    Independent Study
    LTHR 3950, Fall 2022

    Teaching & Learning Seminar
    LNGC 3000, Fall 2022

    Teaching Learning Seminar II
    LNGC 3001, Fall 2022

    Teaching Learning Seminar III
    LNGC 3002, Fall 2022

    Future Courses

    Acting Fundamentals
    LTHR 2050, Spring 2023

    Acting Shakespeare
    LTHR 3055, Spring 2023

    Independent Study
    LTHR 3950, Spring 2023

    Past Courses

    Acting Fundamentals
    LTHR 2050, Spring 2022

    IHD-Harlem Tutoring
    LNGC 3916, Spring 2022

    Independent Study
    LTHR 3950, Spring 2022

    Theater & EcoJustice Educatio
    LTHR 2917, Spring 2022

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