Tisch Drama Happenings in the New Iris Cantor Theater

Tuesday, Sep 5, 2023

Tisch community gathered for the fall 2023 new student orientation.

Tisch Drama welcomed more than 400 new students in the Iris Cantor Theater.

Curtains are up at the Iris Cantor Theater and Tisch Drama is center stage – developing innovative programs that bring the space to life.

This fall Tisch Drama is thrilled to begin its first residency in the Iris Cantor Theater, NYU’s new performance space at the John A Paulson Center. The 350-seat proscenium with a three-tiered house was made possible by a generous gift from philanthropist Iris Cantor. The theater will be shared on an annual rotation between the Tisch School’s Department of Drama and the Steinhardt School. This inaugural year, Tisch Drama be in residence through mid-October and again during the latter half of the spring 2024 semester.

While in the Cantor this fall, the Department of Drama has planned a robust lineup of projects, special events, alumni panel discussions, and more. Additionally, the Cantor Theater will be incorporated into the department’s professional training curriculum – offering students unparalleled opportunities to practice skills in a professional grade theatrical space. Drama’s list of curricular disciplines being taught in the theater is comprehensive: lighting, set, and sound design; stagecraft; acting; dance; voice and speech; directing, screenings of student films; and more.

“The Iris Cantor Theatre is a beautiful performance space that was conceived as a laboratory for student learning,” said Chris Jaehnig, Director of Strategic Planning at Tisch Drama. “We designed the theater from the stage out to the house, to the lobby and to the community. Our architectural design focus has always remained on creation and process, and while the performance and product are important, the Cantor will now provide us with a space to continue to learn and grow.”

First up this fall: Drama’s Orientation on August 30 welcomed more than 400 new students to the department. In October, Tisch Drama alumni, in collaboration with Steinhardt, will be reunited with faculty and current students for a panel discussion on the creative future at the Paulson Center. Additionally, each week nearly all of Tisch Drama’s training studios will bring curriculum into the theater in ways mentioned earlier.

Plans for Tisch Drama’s spring programs in the Iris Cantor Theater are also well underway. A sampling includes a kickoff celebration of the department’s 50th Anniversary, and TISCH DRAMA STAGE’s closing production of the 2023-24 Season: RENT. Plans are in development for a special event that invites Drama alumni from the original Broadway production of RENT to the Cantor Theater – to celebrate the TD STAGE production and the department’s milestone anniversary.

"We’re excited to explore all of the possibilities of this new, extraordinary venue for our curriculum, from class sessions to panels to hands-on training workshops to productions," shared Tom Tsunoda, Tisch Drama Chair. "The Iris Cantor Theater has already been a tremendous resource for bringing our community together, and we look forward to all of the opportunities it will offer for collaboration and learning for both our students and our faculty."

Drama Chair, Tomi Tsunoda opens at the fall 2023 Tisch Drama new student orientation.

A laboratory for student learning: Tisch Drama Chair, Tomi Tsunoda (at the podium), and leadership share their vision for the Iris Cantor Theater. The performance space will house a mix of Drama Department productions, special events, and curricular initiatives.