Shuttered and $2 million in debt just seven years ago, the Harlem School of the Arts is now aiming high and hoping to become “Harlem’s Lincoln Center.” The school just took another step in that direction, announcing an intensive summer theater program in which students will be taught by professionals from the prestigious London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art.
The program will take place July 23 to Aug. 3 at City College’s Aaron Davis Hall. Roughly 20 students from the ages of 17 to 25 will receive conservatory-level training in voice, movement and acting; the students will study Shakespeare and Greek texts and stage a performance at the end of the program.
While the program is open to all applicants, six of the slots will be filled by students chosen from within the Harlem School of the Arts and City College Center for the Arts; those students will receive full tuition coverage.
“This represents a potentially life-changing moment where students will be exposed to a level of training and professionalism that is a step beyond what we do here,” Alfred Preisser, artistic director of the Harlem School, said in an interview.
The London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art, known as LAMDA, is the oldest arts school in London. Alumni include John Lithgow, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kim Cattrall and David Oyelowo. According to LAMDA, Mr. Oyelowo was involved in early discussions about the program and has expressed interest in participating in future years. “I have no doubt that David is exactly the kind of person who will come and do a master class,” Shaun Woodward, the LAMDA board chairman, said.
Mr. Woodward said he hopes that the summer program will grow in future years and lead to scholarship opportunities for American actors to study at the London campus.