Oh well, hello. How do you do? I must say, that shirt looks really nice on you.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Tessa LaNeve, and I’m the Director of ESPA and New Arts Programming at Primary Stages… and I have the best job in the world. Except for maybe the people who name nail polishes and lipsticks. I’ve always wanted to try that out.
So – the greatest job in the world? Making a home – like, a real home with comfy chairs and a kitchenette – for over 2,000 emerging and established artists at the Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA). Yes, the classes and workshops are stellar. And the faculty is the bee’s knees and the cat’s pajamas. But what makes ESPA a very special place is our belief in having a home.
I mean, seriously. Everyone needs a home. Especially an artist. Especially in theater. And especially in New York. It’s hard out there for a theater artist, and so the ESPA staff and I make it a point to avoid all of the dark twistiness, the competition, the judgment… Here, there is only love and encouragement and cups of tea and space for you to play.
Truly – the classes are 10% of what we do. This obsession with community and collaboration is what makes us tick. Example – with over 180 writers this semester alone that are developing new plays, screenplays, tv pilots, web series, librettos, and who knows what else, we’re constantly doing a Match.com type hook-up with our actors and directors. Then they grow play-babies and leave the nest. That’s the whole goal – develop relationships through community and then send students off to play with the ESPA family supporting them along the way.
This isn’t a place where people get a piece of paper after a set amount of time that says they’re an actor or director. This is a place where people come and go. In fact, we want our students to go. That’s the deal – get your skills sharp, your confidence strong, and your community in place.
And when you want to come home, do. We always have comfy chairs and tea waiting for you.
So that’s us in a nutshell. And hey – enjoy the blog! We’ll be posting regularly with fun ESPA facts, instructor Q&As, student accomplishments, and information about all of our collaborative programs. I also have a penchant for posting cat photos. Like I said: Best. Job. In. The. World.
– Tessa LaNeve, Director of ESPA and New Arts Programming at Primary Stages