Bridge to the Profession
Moravian College has partnered with renowned Touchstone Theatre to create opportunities for students.
Touchstone Theatre, a professional ensemble theatre with a 36 year history in Bethlehem, is known internationally for its specialized creative practices and its community-based work. The company received national acclaim for its “Steelbound” and “Don Quixote of Bethlehem” projects, and has been cited as a leader in the field for using theatre to bring a community to catharsis. Touchstone’s vision shares the core Moravian values of service and education. Both organizations have a strong commitment to community and to innovative learning. Through this partnership, we are able to offer an MFA in Performance Creation, where our graduate students are embedded in a professional ensemble and work alongside seasoned professionals. Touchstone opens its doors to Moravian undergraduate students for performances, workshops, and internships.
“I’m a college professor and a professional theatre artist. As a member of both the Touchstone Theatre company and the Moravian College faculty, I’ve been able to build a bridge between the two institutions that gives our students terrific opportunities. When college students take what they learn in the classroom and see it applied out in the world, it sinks in. We want to give them a head start, so that when they graduate they are to hit the ground running.”
--Christopher Shorr, Director of Theatre
An Extended Community of Teachers and Artists
The professional theatre artists at Touchstone lead workshops for students at Moravian, and serve as guest artists for productions. Touchstone is also connected to artists worldwide through TCG (Theatre Communications Group – a national organization of professional theaters) and NET (the Network of Ensemble Theaters – an international organization of ensemble theaters). This creates a vast pool from which to choose directors, actors, and designers from a local to international level.
In addition to the work that the two institutions create separately, Touchstone and Moravian create co-productions (theatre pieces produced by multiple entities collaboratively). These range from scripted plays at Touchstone and Moravian (“Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” "The Whitman Piece”) to original, community based theatre spectacles (“A Resting Place,” “Journey from the East”). These co-productions give Moravian students the opportunity to work alongside professional artists and members of the greater Lehigh Valley theatre community.
Internships and Hands-on learning opportunities
Because Touchstone’s work ranges from professional performance to in-school educational programs, through this partnership qualified Moravian students can get real-life work experience in many aspects of theatre. Moravian Students have participated in internships and hands-on learning opportunities in Arts Administration and Business, Stage Management and Technical Theatre, Performance, and Theatre Education.
MFA in Performance Creation
Our Masters of Fine Arts Degree is offered in partnership with Touchstone Theatre. This is a unique opportunity for artists to create, train and collaborate with the Touchstone Ensemble. MFA students engage in: CREATING original solo and ensemble performance in production and lab settings; TRAINING that focuses on creating original work in Ensemble Theatre; COLLABORATING with the ensemble to develop new work and teach theatre in the community; HANDS-ON experience in Arts Administration and production. Because of the institutional partnership, students graduating with a BA from Moravian receive special consideration when applying for the MFA program.
The partnership between Moravian College and Touchstone Theatre creates a bridge between the College and the professional theatre, and between the College and our local community.