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New School, Naked Angels team up

Naked Angels, the theater company that has developed plays including Broadway vet “Next Fall,” has partnered with Gotham’s New School for Drama to become the academic institution’s producing partner for its M.F.A. and soon-to-launch B.F.A. programs in theater.

The two sides anticipate a mutually beneficial arrangement that will help the New School professionalize its legit training programs, while at the same time aid in stabilizing Naked Angels and its producing initiatives in a tough time for fundraising.

In recent seasons, Naked Angels has maintained its series of new-work developmental programs but produced full mainstage productions more sporadically. Last season the company co-produced one show, Zayd Dohrn’s “Outside People.”

With the New School, Naked Angels will incorporate students into its developmental programming — including readings and workshops presented under the banners Tuesdays at Nine, First Mondays and Angels in Progress, as well as the recently launched Naked Radio — and the company will be housed in a New School building in downtown Manhattan. Troupe will nonetheless remain an independent nonprofit with a separate board.

The partnership reps one potential formula for longevity for the smaller Gotham legit orgs that have been battered by the economic slowdown in recent years. To a degree, it matches a template forged by pacts between pro theaters and academic institutions in other cities, including Harvard/A.R.T. in Cambridge, Yale/Yale Rep in New Haven and U. of San Diego/Old Globe in San Diego.

With an embedded link to a pro producing org, the New School aims to distinguish itself from a crowded local pool of legit training programs at institutions including New York U., Columbia, Pace and Fordham.

The New School/Naked Angels team-up was facilitated in part by the fact that Pippin Parker, the director of the New School for Drama, is also a founding member of Naked Angels, which is topped by a.d. Andy Donald. Further initiatives remain to be explored, including the possibility of a semi-professional fourth year for the M.F.A. program in collaboration with Naked Angels.

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