• Cecilia Rubino

    Chair, Theater

    Office Location:

    Eugene Lang Building


    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. Why we are here, what matters, and how can we collaboratively transform reality? Now more than ever, it’s important to challenge ourselves — as actors challenge themselves in their work—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 recently 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.

    In other recent work in 2015, I gave a lecture on 'Shakespeare & Memory'  for the New York Public Library at Jefferson Market and taught a series of  'Acting Shakespeare for Seniors' workshops which were filmed for a documentary called 'Remembering Shakespeare'  in which participants engage in questions about memory, memorization and what lines of Shakespeare they remember and why? In fall 2014, I moderated a panel on 'Physical Theater' for the Network of Ensemble Theater's Conference at The New School and curated an evening of solo performance called 'Thinking Out Loud' for the 2014'Days of Art & Ideas', an annual tribute to the poet and activist Sekou Sundiata. In August 2014, I gave a series of lectures called 'Shakespeare in Action' at Jefferson Market Public Library and directed Peristalsis (look it up!) at the New York Fringe Festival. For the Moliere Festival at WNYC New York Public Radio’s Jerome L Green Performance Space, I recently directed ‘The School for Husbands’  and ‘The Imaginary Cuckold.’  I also directed SLAM 103: HISTORICAL REMIX, an interactive performance piece about history and poetry, which performed at Lincoln Center’s ‘Meet the Artist’ series at the Walter Reade Theater in January and March, 2015.

    As an educator, I coordinated the Lang College BA in Theater at The New School (2008-2010 and 2012- 2014) and I currently 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.
    Cecilia Rubino discusses teaching and learning at Lang in a project made possible with a grant from Bringing Theory to Practice.


    Degrees Held:

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

    Professional Affiliations:

    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:

    Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The Walter Reade Theater, January and April 2014. Co-created and directed ‘SLAM 103: Historical Remix’, the third in a triology of pieces commissioned by Lincoln Center’ ‘Meet the Artist’ Series which explore different genres of poetry. Other pieces created in collaboration with three spoken word poets include ‘SLAM 101’ and ‘SLAM 102: Verbal Velocity’.

    WNYC, New York Public Radio’s Jerome L Green Performance Space: directed ‘The School for Husbands’ and ‘The Imaginary Cuckold’ for the Moliere Festival at WNYC New York Public Radio’s Jerome L Green Performance Space in 2013. Also at the Green Space at WNYC New York Public Radio, co-directed with producer, Sarah Montague ‘The Shakespeare Marathon’ and directed 'India Ink', a radio play by Tom Stoppard for WNYC’s ‘T Is For Tom’ series.

    New York Tenement Museum: March, 2013: Selections of From the Fire were performed at an event commemorating the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire moderated by the novelist, Kevin Baker.

    Edinburgh Fringe Theater Festival, August 2011. 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.

    Harlem Stage: WeDaPeople’s Cabaret, September 2011. Directed The Mighty Third Rail performance group in a piece called “Learn/Unlearn.”

    Roxy Regional Theater, Chattanooga, Tennessee, October 2011. Adapted, wrote and directed Mark Twain: Adventures in American Humor. The piece premièred at the Morgan Library in New York and performed at libraries and schools in NYC and New England in 2010-12.

    MobilityShifts: International Future of Learning Summit, October 2011. Directed Project Shift a multimedia performance piece examined the past, present and future of education and its connection to technology, different forms of digital fluency and DIY learning.

    The Times Center, June 2011. Directed a series of choral pieces from From the Fire for the Sydney Hillman Foundation’s Excellence in Journalism Awards.

    Judson Memorial Church, March, 2011. Wrote and directed the first version of From the Fire, with music by the composer, Liz Swados, which performed at the historic Judson Memorial Church for the centennial of The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire with a cast of Lang students and industry professionals. A documentary about the Judson version of From the Fire by WNET’s Sunday Arts Program was nominated for a 2011 NY Emmy.

    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.

    WNYC/NPR, the Jerome L Green Performance Space, May 2009. 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. Winner of the 2009, Women in Radio, Gracie Award for best local drama.

    New School University: 2006-13. Recent productions directed include: As You Like It, Marie Irene Fornes’s Fefu and Her Friends, Tennessee Williams’ 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:

    2014: Mellon Civic Arts & Humanities Grant: Lang College/New School for 'Radical Citizenship, Art Making and Sekou Sundiata's 'Research to Performance Methods' course.

    2013: Fund for Collaborative Innovation Grant: Co-sponsored by the Provost Office and the Social Innovation Initiative for collaboration on Health Class 2.0.

    2012: Lang College Civic Engagement & Social Justice mini-grant to document Theater & Health Advocacy course.

    2011: From the Fire won the Edinburgh Fringe Festival UK/Music Theater Awards for Best Music, Best Production and Best New Musical.

    2011: Grant to support the Edinburgh production of From the Fire from the Foundation for Jewish Culture.

    2011: Sydney Hillman Foundation: Grant to fund the filming and editing a documentary of From the Fire, which performed at Judson Memorial Church for the Centennial of The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. The documentary is archived at the Keel Center at Cornell University.

    2011: ILGWU Heritage Foundation, Grant to support the performance of From The Fire for the centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.
    2011: ACBP: The Bronfman Foundation. Grant to significantly supported the Judson production of From the Fire.

    2010: Provost Events grant: supported OPEN AIR: Symposium on the Future of Radio Theater at WNYC’s Jerome L Green Performance Space. Funds matched by WNYC, New York Public Radio.

    2010: Gracie Award from the American Women in Radio and Television for Best Local Drama. The Fall of the City, by Archibald MacLeish. In collaboration with director/producer Sarah Montague, directed the chorus of the revival of the 1937 classic at the Jerome L Green Performance Space at WNYC, New York Public Radio.

    2008: Lang College Commencement speaker.
    2011, 2009, and 2008: Nominated for The New School’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

    Current Courses:

    Independent Study

    Edinburgh Theater Festival

    Ind Senior Project

    IHD-Harlem Tutoring

    Acting Fundamentals

    Acting Shakespeare

    Scene Study

    IHAD Internship

    Independent Study

    Ind Senior Project