A LETTER FROM RACHEL JETT
NTI ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Dear Parents and Families,
You care about someone who wants to make a life in the theater. A seeker, a doer, a poet, someone who is curious about life, literature, relationships, and the world. You care about someone interested in translating that curiosity and that passion into something that is active, communal, instructive, revelatory, celebratory, and investigative.
This is a career path, an artistic vocation that will be very demanding and very rewarding. Demanding in ways one can see—long hours, physically rigorous, and periods of rejection— as well as demanding in hundreds of invisible ways. Yet it is also rewarding in ways one can see—acknowledgement, a career, and awards—and often quietly rewarding with nearly imperceptible advances in knowledge or achievement. There is no one path to “make” it. There are many definitions of “making” it as a director, an actor, a playwright, a designer, a dancer or a hybrid of many of those. Though there is no set map for any theater aspirant to follow and no guarantee, there are tools to help navigate the edifying and exciting journey.
At NTI we strive to prepare the theater aspirant to navigate the professional landscape. But that is not our first priority. Our first priority is training the student to be able to do what they would like to do. The students and the faculty work very hard to that end. We hire professional theater artists to teach our students 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. We ask these mentors and teachers to be honest with our students about the challenges of a life in the theater and we ask them to share how they have built a career in the arts. In this way students see the myriad of ways they can choose to make a life in the theater. They also hear many different definitions for what that can be. We hope to help them discover talents they maybe did not know they had. We hope to offer them lots of possibilities, and a great variety of role models.
There is a very practical aspect to our training. Theater is an art form that relies on the ensemble and we provide them plenty of practice on how to work and create with many different collaborators. There is a saying in theater, “people work with the people they want to work with.” We take pride in the fact that our students leave knowing how to respectfully and passionately create and work with others again and again.
NTI students also work very hard. The theater demands artists have great stamina—both creatively and physically. Every day at NTI is a day where students get better at being productive, focused, and active in their creative work. They leave us with a greater work ethic and a better sense of what they want to do and how they could go about it. Our students found companies, go onto graduate school, some teach high school, or work in theater administration. I can say the majority of our alums are involved in theater in their professional lives. Our students also have NTI and the O’Neill as resources and guides throughout their lives. We love hearing from our alums, answering questions, talking about opportunities, and hearing about their discoveries.
You care about someone who wants to make a life in the theater. At NTI, we care about them too. NTI is a training ground where students come together to learn more about every aspect of this craft, themselves, and each other. We look forward to meeting your student.
You care about someone who wants to make a difference in
the theater. At NTI, we care
about them too.