The Cohen New Works Festival History
The Cohen New Works Festival presented by Broadway Bank is named in honor of former UT playwriting faculty member David Mark Cohen, who our community lost too soon in a car accident in 1997. Thanks to a generous endowment created in his name and the combined efforts of faculty and students in the Department of Theatre and Dance in UT, a festival was created to showcase the new work of student playwrights over a few days.
In 2001, the festival was inaugurated as an interdisciplinary, week long celebration , bringing together students of all creative disciplines. Susan Zeder, also former UT playwriting faculty member, became the festival’s biggest champion, helping it flourish into the massive week long event you attend today.
David loved everything this festival embodies: dynamic plays, wild performance, original dance, new music, invigorating design and visionary direction. Suzan continues to champion the festival’s mission, and returns every other year as a treasured guest artist. We are proud to keep the legacy of David Mark Cohen and the power of the festival alive in 2017 .
The Cohen New Works Festival exists to support, promote, and champion original, student-generated work across a variety of artistic mediums.
This festival, produced biennially, provides a space for artists to take risks, builds bridges between the educational and professional communities, and cultivates a diverse artistic community for students. In the spirit of mentor David Mark Cohen, the festival celebrates and challenges the meaning of “new” in order to encourage the personal growth and empowerment of the next generation of art-makers and leaders.
Guiding our decision-making are the following core values:
- Empowering students to take responsibility and initiative for their own artistic, entrepreneurial, and intellectual development.
- COLLABORATION & COMMUNITY
- Encouraging new creative partnerships across many disciplines.
- Building relationships across the Department of Theatre and Dance, the College of Fine Arts, and the University of Texas at large.
- Providing the resources, guidance, and connections necessary for the creation of new work.
- Creating new avenues for conversation and critical inquiry within our community.
- Engaging the national artistic community through partnerships with professional guest artists.
- Creating opportunities and forums for diverse voices, perspectives, forms and stories.