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  October 9, 2000

CRT's Founding Director Takes to
National Stage as Head of Association

Gary M. English, head of the Department of Dramatic Arts and artistic director of Connecticut Repertory Theatre, has been elected to a two-year term as president of the board of directors of the University/Resident Theatre Association.

The U/RTA is the nation's oldest and largest consortium of professional, graduate theater training programs and associated professional theater companies.

"Gary is an inspired choice to U/RTA into the new millennium," says U/RTA Executive Director Scott Steele. "Under his leadership, the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of Connecticut, and its performance arm, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, have emerged as a model of the interaction between university theater departments and university-based professional theaters."

English came to UConn in 1988 and has been head of the Department of Dramatic Arts since 1994. He founded Connecticut Repertory Theatre as a professional summer theater in 1994 and expanded it to a year-round theater in 1997. Since then, CRT has won the New England Theatre Conference Award for contributions to the Professional Theatre Community, and won three Connecticut Drama Critics Circle awards out of seven nominations.

English earned a B.F.A. in drama from the University of Arizona in 1974, and an M.F.A. in stage design from Northwestern University in 1977.

Before coming to UConn he was on the faculty at the State University of New York at Geneseo, and Carnegie Mellon University. Last year he served as interim dean of the School of Fine Arts, after the death of Dean Robert Gray.

English has worked on many projects with U/RTA during the past several years, including negotiating the national contract between university-based theaters and Actors Equity.

He says the U/RTA is seeking to establish ties with the other major performance unions as well, including the Society of Stage Directors, United Scenic Artists, and the Dramatists Guild.

"This process is having a national impact on the way university theater is evolving," he says. "As a result, professional theater and university theater are becoming much more integrated and mutually supportive, and the students graduating from major theater programs like UConn's are finding much more success after graduation."

Gary Frank